Oh, and they were better coached and more prepared too. I can’t emphasize the last part enough. The Owls were simply not ready after months of preparation.
The switch from a 4-2-5 defense to a 3-4 defense did not do the Owls any favors in this one as players were out of position for the majority of the contest. On Stanford’s first play of the game Bryce Love nearly took it to the house, bursting for a 62-yard gain. The drive would result in the first of eight touchdowns for the Cardinal. Stanford would finish with 657 yards of total offense to go with 27 first downs. Love would finish with 180 yards and a touchdown.
The fact that the defense couldn’t slow down Stanford’s rushing attack wasn’t a surprise. The surprise came in how disorganized the offense looked. On the first play of the 2017 season for the Owls, there was a procedural penalty. There would be two more penalties committed by the Owls on that first drive in what would end up foreshadowing just how poorly the offense would perform.
In redshirt freshman Sam Glaesmann’s first start of his career, the quarterback finished 7-of-18 for 68 yards and an interception. Earlier in the broadcast it was mentioned how much of an honor it was for Glaesmann to be named the starting quarterback but unfortunately for Glaesmann, things just didn’t workout for him as the game appeared to be moving too fast for him. Glaesmann was eventually pulled for Jackson Tyner.
Rice’s gameplan featured several misdirection plays and shovel passes, something that wasn’t featured too heavily from the Owls in 2016.
It didn’t work. The Owls finished with 241 yards of total offense, a majority of which came in garbage time. Rice only had 71 yards of total offense at the half.
The fact Rice lost to Stanford isn’t a surprise. They were a 31 point underdog. A blowout loss was expected. However, how the game played out should be concerning. The Owls came out flat in the first game of the season and that falls squarely on David Bailiff.
In a year in which Bailiff is firmly on the hot seat, Rice’s performance to start the season did nothing to quell voices that a change at the top might be needed.