The 2012-2013 Bowl Blitz Invitational presented by STAT BOX STORIES continues with the Armed Forces Bowl, which features the Rice Owls (6-6, 4-4 C-USA) against the Air Force Falcons (6-6, 5-3 MWC) in a match-up of teams which finished the season with a .500 winning percentage. Kevin Vaughn of MVPGamerz.com took control of Rice in their bid to emerge victorious over the service academy.
Last-Minute Touchdowns vault Rice over Air Force in Armed Forces Bowl
Fort Worth, T.X. – The football gods were generous in response to the Hail Mary at the Armed Forces Bowl, as both Air Force and Rice found the end zone on last second heaves—the Falcons to end the first half, and the Owls to find an unexpected victory on the game’s last play—in an entertaining bowl showdown.
The game started off slow, with a first quarter passing without much excitement—only a 43 yard field goal for Rice—until Air Force returned an interception 12 yards late in the quarter to put the game’s first touchdown on the board.
Rice didn’t wait long to respond, scoring early in the second quarter on a 57-yard touchdown pass to take a 10-7 lead. That score would hold up for nearly six minutes of play until Air Force QB #11 found WR #10 in an end zone crowd to complete a 67-yard Hail Mary pass and take a 14-10 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Air Force continued their touchdown-scoring ways early in the third quarter, scoring on a 70-yard run by FB #25 to extend their lead to 21-10. Aside from a Rice field goal later in the quarter, the 21-13 lead had Air Force in prime position heading into the final quarter.
With nearly all of the fourth quarter passing without any points on the board, Air Force fans were hoping to see the clock run out with their team maintaining the 8-point lead for a win. However, with 54 seconds left in the game, Rice found the end zone on a 5-yard run by HB #2 and then completed a 2-point pass to knot the game at 21-21.
Rice’s defense stood tall and forced a quick three-and-out by Air Force, setting up the game’s final play: a 54-yard Hail Mary pass from QB #16 to WR #83 in the end zone, sparking celebration from the assembled Owls fans as their team snatched an improbable victory.
Player of the Game: Rice HB #2, who carried the ball 15 times for 62 yards and a touchdown, caught 4 passes for 33 yards, and added 69 yards on 3 kickoff returns.
It was over when… the Owls managed to score two touchdowns in the last 54 seconds of the game to come back from a 21-13 deficit and leave with a 28-21 victory.
Game Ball goes to… Rice QB #16, who was 16-for-24 for 267 yards and two touchdowns.
Stat of the Game: 10. Rice QB #16 completed passes to ten different receivers over the course of the game, efficiently spreading the ball around and forcing the Falcons to be aware of every receiver on the field at any given time.
Statistical Tidbits: Rice converted 7-of-10 third downs, while Air Force only managed 3-of-8. … Air Force did not have a trip inside the red zone for the entire game, despite scoring 21 points. … Neither team was penalized over the course of the game. … Rice outgained Air Force by 102 yards in total offense. … Air Force completed only 4 of 7 passing attempts for the game, but managed to gain 97 yards on those four completions. … Air Force gained 168 yards on the ground compared to Rice’s 100 yards, despite the Falcons have one fewer rushing attempt for the game.