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              === Owls soar past Falcons in Armed Forces Bowl ===
 
 Fort  Worth,  TX (Sports Network)  - Driphus Jackson  filled in for an injured
 Taylor  McHargue  quite admirably,  as the freshman  quarterback threw for 264
 yards and two touchdowns to lead Rice in a 33-14 victory over Air Force in the
 Armed Forces Bowl.
 
 McHargue  went  down with  a head  injury after taking  a big  hit late in the
 second  quarter, and  with an efficient Jackson connecting on 15-of-21 passes,
 the Owls reeled off 26 unanswered points in the second half to win going away.
 
 "We  came  out at  the second half  and made a  couple adjustments," Rice head
 coach David Bailiff said.
 
 Jordan  Taylor  caught three touchdown passes  after not catching any all year
 and finished with nine receptions for 153 yards for the Owls (7-6), who needed
 to win their final four games in the regular season to become bowl eligible.
 
 "I  thought Driphus did an excellent job of coming in when Connor got hurt and
 stepped  up and  made a  lot of  plays," Taylor  said. "I  think we  just took
 advantage of matchups today and it worked out."
 
 Rice, playing in its first bowl game since 2008, turned it over three times in
 the  first half,  but after the break played mistake-free and held the Falcons
 to just two first downs.
 
 Connor  Dietz  and Kale  Pearson each  spent time under  center in Air Force's
 stagnant  offense.  Pearson ran for  a touchdown, but  threw for just 44 yards
 with an interception on 2-of-8 attempts, while Dietz was 1-for-3 in the air.
 
 "I  thought  we put on awful  lot of strain  on our defense today, an enormous
 amount  of strain on  our defense," Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun said. "A
 couple of times it involved field position. The other part is just the lack of
 first downs."
 
 The Falcons (6-7) were outgained, 503-214, while running for only 166 yards --
 roughly half their season average. They lost four of their last five games and
 ended with a losing record for the first time since 2006.
 
 Jackson  lost  a fumble deep in  Air Force territory just before halftime, but
 his  performance  in  the  second  half was  near  perfect.  On  Rice's  first
 possession  of  the third quarter, Jackson  found Vance McDonald for a 25-yard
 gain on 3rd-and-8 and on the next play hit Taylor for 22 more yards. Two snaps
 later, he and Taylor connected again for 22 yards, this time for a touchdown.
 
 Jackson  completed  passes on the  final six plays of  the third quarter for a
 total of 75 yards to set up Charles Ross' go-ahead 2-yard touchdown run in the
 opening minute of the fourth.
 
 After  a  third straight  three-and-out from Air  Force, Turner Petersen broke
 several  tackles on 48-yard jaunt down to the Air Force 7-yard line, and Chris
 Boswell's 24-yard field goal made it a 24-14 game with 11:18 remaining.
 
 Boswell   tacked  on  a  25-yarder  later  in  the  frame,  and  following  an
 interception, Jackson went to Taylor one more time for a 34-yard TD.
 
 Before  getting knocked  out of the game,  McHargue and Taylor hooked up for a
 16-yard score late in the first quarter.
 
 Air Force punted twice, turned the ball over on downs and lost a fumble on its
 first  four possessions  with Dietz under center. The senior was benched early
 in the second quarter, and Pearson instantly provided a spark by guiding a 10-
 play,  66-yard  drive that  ended with the  sophomore signal-caller keeping it
 himself on an option to the right and diving for a 9-yard touchdown.
 
 On  the ensuing touch, McHargue was smacked hard by Falcons cornerback Steffon
 Batts  and  lost the ball.  Air Force recovered at  the Rice 35-yard line, and
 after  converting a fourth-down try, Air Force went ahead, 14-7, on Wes Cobb's
 1-yard TD run.
 
                                   Game Notes
 
 Air  Force came in  second in the nation in rushing (328.8 yards per game) ...
 Ty MacArthur led the Falcons with 48 yards on nine carries, while Petersen had
 81  yards on nine  rushes ... Sam McGuffie caught five passes for 80 yards and
 in  doing so became  the first Owl to reach 1,000 career yards in both rushing
 and  receiving ... Air Force is 10-12-1 all-time in bowl games ... Rice is 6-4
 in postseason play ... Air Force was 5-1 against Rice coming in ... Both teams
 ranked  in  the top  10 in Academic  Performance Rate, with  Rice coming in at
 sixth and Air Force at No. 10.
 
 
 12/29 19:01:06 ET

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