In 2013, Charles Ross rushed for 215 yards and five touchdowns as Rice crushed Tech 52-14. The Owls totaled 415 yards on the ground and Tech was never in the ball game.
Ten years earlier, Louisiana Tech hosted Rice to finish out the 2003 season. Rice rushed for a whopping 672 yards and seven touchdowns against a Tech team that should have been fighting for their sixth win. Instead they stood by and watched Rice walk all over them while Tech fans walked out of the building.
This season, Tech once again will host Rice to finish the season. Skip Holtz has to use last year's game as a reminder of what the Owls are capable of. "You do not forget, he explained. "It is not a redemption game as much as it is a reminder of the low point of last season. You cannot talk about it, you just have to go out and do it."
Rice averages 182.7 yards per game on the ground, good for 47th in the country. The Owls are passing for just over 200 yards per game, so they aren't exactly beating teams through the air.
LA Tech is 24th in the country against the run, holding teams to 125.3 rushing yards per game. This game should play into Tech's hand but winning games of this magnitude aren't as much about stats as it is about heart.
Really, it comes down to who wants it more. LA Tech has finished two games very poorly this year. In other games, it took them until the second half to get going. It will ale a complete game for Tech to knock off the Owls.
Rice QB Driphus Jackson has thrown for 17 touchdowns and only 5 interceptions. He has been sacked 22 times, so expect Tech to bring the usual pressure.
Can Tech stand up to the rushing attack of Rice or will the Owls impose heir will on the Bulldogs? This game is about heart and dedication, but is is also about good athletes getting on the field and simply getting after each other.
For Rice, it's a chance to get back to the CUSA championship game and to get another shot at Marshall.
For Louisiana Tech, it's a chance to exorcise a few ghosts and to finish this surprising season on a high note.
Outside of the Marshall game, Rice hasn't given up more than 23 points since September 20th. Both Rice and Tech gave good defenses and both put together long winning streaks this year.
For a game that shouldn't have meant anything, now it means everything. Tech had their chance to wrap up the division last week and now they have their hands full on Saturday. Rice knows what it takes to win and they don't make many mistakes.
This game could haunt Tech fans for a long time just like 2003, or it could be something much, much different. That's the fun (and excruciating) thing about the Bulldogs: you never know what you will see out of them until the ball is kicked off.