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The Joyce Hardy Archives

joycedistaff2.jpg (9779 bytes)FROM THE DISTAFF END OF THE BENCH
(2008 Edition)

Notes and Comments from Rice's No. 1 Fan

By Joyce Pounds Hardy '45

Owls have reached destination on long road to respectability
08txbzoomslflags1.jpg (39661 bytes)By Joyce Pounds Hardy, Class of 45, BA '67

HOUSTON (Jan. 4) -- Well, it would have been a miracle, but it wasn’t. It was good old-fashioned hard work, an extraordinary game plan, extraordinary execution, and extraordinary players whose hearts showed what they were made of Tuesday night.

I don’t know when I have been more proud of a bunch of never-say-die Seniors, who led the way down that long road back to respectability. They never gave up on themselves or let the rest of the guys quit giving a hundred per cent. We all know their story—three coaches in five years, highs and lows that rivaled a roller coaster, injuries that decimated the starting lineups, youngsters filling big shoes with on-the-field training, finally having a coach whom they could trust and who believed in them. That very special group proved that it really was “R” Time.

Truthfully, after reading Paul Hlavinka’s column on the Webpage, I was jealous. I wanted to be there where he was after the game, in the locker room (or wherever the “dais” was,) listening to the interviews of Chase, Jarrett, Thor, Brian, and Andrew, watching the smiles spread across their faces, laughing at their teasing, and understanding their tears. I wanted to be there sharing the team’s happiness, watching the celebration, maybe touching that beautiful crystal trophy that proved Rice had won the Texas Bowl in grand style. Maybe having one of them say, “it was those red Hot Tamales that fired us up.”

I would have been content to be a “littlewig” standing beside those “bigwigs,” during that special time after our momentous 38-14 victory. I just wish I could have said, “thank you” to all of them. All of those unsung heroes who weren’t listed in the stats, who blocked and tackled and kicked and caught passes and ran a hundred routes moving us down the field need to hear thank you’s. I tried Wednesday morning, but when I got to the hotel, they were still asleep, and later when I went to Rice to meet the bus, I found out that most of them has gone home with their parents. The seven who got off the bus got all my congratulations and thanks.

No injuries! I guess I’m like an old Mother Hen, always worried about her chicks. My first thought when the game was over was that no one got hurt. A few dings but everyone walked off. That is remarkable considering the fierceness of the contacts. I think it was the result of good conditioning and a lot of good luck. Whatever, It was a blessing indeed and a rare one at that. Today, I found myself wishing I had gotten some autographs. All those Thursday afternoons I spent with them and I never once thought about it. I was just happy to be there, happy to make them smile at my “lucky red beans,” happy to see them happy to be doing what they were doing.

I hope now the commentators and sports writers will quit talking about Rice’s not having won a Bowl game in 54 years. It was true, but they don’t have to hit us over the head with it every day. As a matter of fact, I was there in 1954, at the Cotton Bowl, when Tommy Lewis, captain of the Alabama football team, came off the bench and tackled Dicky Maegle who was running all alone down the sideline heading for a touchdown. I am sure that I was the first one to yell, “Hey, he came off the bench!” because it happened right in front of us. Rice won 28-6, but it was the off-the-bench tackle by Lewis that put that game in the record books.

My husband, Tom, (Rice ’43) had just come home Christmas Day from a year and a half in Korea, and tickets to the Cotton Bowl game were my Christmas gift to him. It had been a great year for Rice. There weren’t but four major bowl games, all on New Year’s Day—Orange, Sugar, Cotton, and Rose.

We went to Dallas on the train New Year’s morning. Every car was packed with Rice fans. I think we whooped over the win all the way home that evening. The strange thing was that Tom had been able to hear all of the Rice games that season over short wave radio aboard his hospital ship, the USS Consolation, anchored in Inchon Harbor.. Stop and think about that. Most of the time we can’t get a Rice game from the ESPN radio station in Beaumont. Go figure.

Back to our most perfect game 54 years later at the Texas Bowl, Houston Texas, December 30, 2008. Rice 38, Western Michigan 14. I didn’t once clasp my hands in prayer, nor say, “UH OH,” nor yell, “Yipes,” nor hold my breath. The whole game was easy on the old heart, a dream come true. I hope no one wakes me up any time soon.



All Rice is proud to
call them our own

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A scene that wears well -- who'd ever get tired of looking at it (except the Coogs)? (PTH photo)

By Joyce Pounds Hardy, Class of 45, BA '67

HOUSTON (Dec. 1) -- Front page news...




Of course, those are my headlines. However the Chronicle did put us on the real front page, in color, headlines "BAYOU RUNS BLUE" which was the nicest sight since the scoreboard read Rice 56, Houston 42.

The Chronicle sports page also gave us top billing: OWLS TAKE OFFENSE, both with photos to die for, huge color celebrations of the team with each other and with the beautiful Bayou Bucket, which is now home with us.

A super effort by every lineman, every end, every back, every coach. I have never been so proud of a team for what it showed the world Saturday: Smart offense, devastating defense, perfect execution, and a game plan that bamboozled Houston all afternoon. I have never seen our men tackle and block with such fierce resolve, their hits were crisp, hard, sure stoppers. And they were still going strong at the last tick of the clock.

On this day, I could hardly wait for us to get the ball back, so that we could march down that field, with the wind or against it, and finish almost every drive with a touchdown none of those same old long passes for 6 like the U of Who, but real ground burners mixed with pass after pass for hard-earned yards, not to mention a mix of plays that were exciting to watch.

Chase had time to look for his receivers, the offensive line was methodical in its protection. My only regret in the whole of the game is that Jarrett didn't get a touchdown he was wide open there a couple of times but the passes just weren't in the right places, even for him. But the record of his prowess all year long drew a crowd of Cougars and left some open spaces for others' heroics.

I was happy to see Taylor catch two touchdown passes, glad to see Tommy in there catching important passes, and Toren doing his thing to add to the score. C.J. was tougher than I have ever seen him, grinding out yards through holes that our linemen opened for him time after time. And Brian tackling and intercepting passes with one arm, and Clark hitting another eight PAT's and, and, and so forth and so on. I don't know where to stop.

I laughed at the play where Chase handed? passed? lateraled the ball (I never saw how he got the ball) to Jarrett who threw a pass to Chase who caught it. The announcers laughed, too, and said, "Now they are just having fun!"

As for our Thor Package, our very own God of Thunder was everywhere doing everything asked of him in, over, around and through that Cougar line which didn't know what hit them half of the time. My favorite touchdown was the pass reception about ten yards from the goal line, when James spun out of one defender's arms, turned and spun (both 360's) out of another's arms and crossed the goal line standing up. It was the Casey and Casey show with a little help from his best friends.

I was upset that James wasn't nominated for the Mackey Award, but then maybe the judges couldn't figure out just which position he was so good at or from or to or whatever. It would be hard to pigeon-hole his expertise into one position. Isn't there an award for Most Touchdowns From Three Different Positions? or Most Positions Played In One Game by One Player? Probably not because no one has ever done it before.

There probably won't be an award for our Quarterback either, but Chase was as cool and steady, precise and intelligent as any quarterback in any league this year. He set record after record and little was ever said outside of our conference. But nine wins doesn't happen without a steady hand at the helm, and he was ours, the whole season he just got better and better and that's why we got better and better.

There won't be a big name award for Jarrett this year either, probably, but no one can ever take his All America Award away from him, No one.. I have been surprised that none of the media ever called him the All American, Jarrett Dillard. That's no small honor especially from a small school like Rice.

The tandem of Dillard and Clement broke every record in the book for a passing team, and that record will be there on the books for a long time. What these Seniors have achieved, having played under three different coaches, is remarkable, and I'm sure that they will be listed in some record book as the Winningest Survivors of Chaos in history.

My favorite play of the game had to be a running play by a Cougar who was stopped dead in his tracks by three Rice defenders in a stand-up pushing contest with no one going down. One of the other Rice linemen reached out with one hand and pushed the struggling pyramid of four players and the whole bunch just toppled over.

I didn't mean to rant on, but this team has been very special to me and to Rice. They brought us a tie for the CUSA West Division Championship with their blood, sweat and tears, surprising some naysayers, and surely, the mighty Tulsa Hurricane coach, with what his orphans accomplished in spite of him. Kudos to Coach Bailiff and his staff for making those young men successful in every way, on and off the field. Rice is proud to call them our own.

Thanks for the ride, guys, and it's not over yet!

Quite a story
'They will leave a legacy of winning'

By Joyce Pounds Hardy, Class of 45, BA '67

HOUSTON (Nov. 24) Number Eight and counting. Great Day in the Morning, we have done it, EIGHT! How sweet it is and will be even sweeter when we beat the U. of Who on Saturday.

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On Joyce's Christmas List: Just one, what the heck, three more magnificent performances by this guy (PTH photo)

Once again our offense showed diversity; Chase back there pointing his finger (I don't know what he is pointing at but then neither does the other team), checking the defense, checking the sideline, checking his offensive line, checking to see where Jarett and James are, 5-4-3-2 good Heavens, snap the ball! I can see going down to 1 when you're killing time, but most of the time you're just killing me.

Then a veritable plethora of receivers spray out like a shower head waiting for the bullet to come their way. It's a sight to see. Watching the game over again on CBS CS, the camera zeroed in on Chase's eyes inside that helmet, and it was spooky. He was concentrating so hard, his eyes staring out of that hole, that I felt as if he were looking right through me. Also, before the snap, there is a sort of fascinating rhythm to the turning of all the backs and receivers in sync toward the sideline before each play, while the line never moves.

The first half ended with only seven points apiece. We looked punchless, but our defense held Marshall to three 3 and out's in a row in the first quarter and would have been held to another stopper if it hadn't been for a personal foul that gave them a first down and fired them up.

I noticed that Rice only had 9 first downs in the first half and 27 by the end of the game.Talk about a turn-around! I was impressed with the tackling of our defense, they were heads-down, vice-clamping, ball-swarming, claws-ready, head-butting men. Everyone contributed. The offensive line gave Chase enough time to look, fake, and throw to the open receiver, and he had those happy feet moving all the time. They made good blocks and opened quick holes for some hard-running yards by Casey and CJ, too.

Not much is ever said about Clark Fangmeier and his remarkable record of 60 out of 60 PAT's. It is just as sure-fire as if we made seven on the touchdown itself. Thanks, Clark. I certainly remember years when we all cringed every time our kicker aimed his toe toward the goalposts. How comforting to know that it is automatic.

Two more touchdowns to add to the 48 that our duo-extraordinaire already had. Theirs is quite a story. I wonder if the San Antonio Light is having a heyday bragging on their homegrown record-breaking heroes? If not, then someone needs to wake them up. I'm counting inches again in the Chronicle, UH is way ahead this week. Big deal that "Houston is in control of its own destiny." DUH! So is Rice. Houston beat Tulsa, right, but Marshall beat Houston and Rice beat Marshall, so here we are with a huge weekend coming up and Rice is playing for more than pride this year. With Rice, we are playing for 9 wins and a piece of the pie. Houston plays Rice at home, and Tulsa plays Marshall at home and by the end of the day all the cards will be on the table. Sounds like a movie script.

The good news is that we are a player in this post season madness and it is a tribute to our Seniors. Their leadership and example have made the whole team rise to new heights, and as coach says, "they will leave a legacy of winning."

(A small aside because it puzzled me at the Army Game): When the game was over, the entire Rice Football Team went across the field and stood quietly in front of the Army Band while they played their Anthem. It was an impressive display of respect, and it touched me deeply. I finally asked David Saltzmann and he said that before the game the whole Army Team stood at attention while the Rice Mob played Rice's Honor. And so, we honored them in return. If Coach Bailiff told them to do it, I am very proud of him and I was very proud of our team.

The game against Houston Saturday is filling my head with victorious scenarios. If our guys play with the same intensity and purpose that they played with against Marshall in the second half, we, too, can beat the "Coogs." I just hope that Coach Bailiff remembers the "spirited" words that sent the Owls back onto the field for the second half, "bruised egos" and all, and turned the game around 180 degrees. The secret is, Owls, just don't let the Cougar out of the cage.

nosuch550.jpg (5344 bytes)

by Joyce Pounds Hardy
Class of '45 BA '67

HOUSTON (Nov. 11) -- Chase Clement was quoted in the Chronicle as saying “We’ve done so much, we’ve come so far, that just winning isn’t enough.” Whoa, Chase, speak for yourself. There’s no such thing as “just winning.” When you have been around as long as I have and can count Rice’s winning seasons on ten fingers, believe me, a win is a win is a win. You may not be proud of that last game, but we are.

Some of the adjectives describing our team puzzled me. Of course, Pollyanna here, didn’t notice their being “lethargic, hollow, fizzled, uninspiring, unfulfilled.” Coach keeps saying “We play one game at a time,” but there’s nothing wrong with some wild celebrating when that one game puts a W in the win column.

As for coming out flat after halftime, I guess I’ll have to start giving out those red Hot Tamales between halves since they always put a little fire in their bellies and a smile on their faces. Who’s the leader of this team? Sendejo? Raines? Clement? Dillard? I can’t remember who the captains are but your work is cut out for you against Marshall and Houston. We are not going to fade.

Besides, I have learned over the years that the military teams get stronger as the game goes on. Their stringent conditioning as soldiers shows in the fourth quarter. That goes for Navy and Air Force, too. They never quit. I have always been grateful and proud knowing that those men are on our side when the fighting starts and when it ends.

As far as the game went, I loved the first half and decided that we couldn’t be stopped, if we got the ball, we made the touchdown. Well, so much for Pollyanna. However, that 80 yard pass and catch from Chase to Jarrett was a classic. I just wish it were on a tape somewhere so that I could see it over and over again. Jarrett never broke his stride. Jerome Solomon said it was “gorgeous,” and so it was.

The memory of Chase’s breaking loose for a 61 yard touchdown scamper was so much fun to watch. He never looked back, but he must have heard those three Black Knights pounding behind him, right on his heels, because he was picking ‘em up and putting ‘em down. The most running I have seen him do in practice is a keeper where he runs through the line, then stops, turns around and comes back to the line of scrimmage to run the play again. Or he runs to the sideline to take a knee and rest, usually with Dillard and Casey.

I was so happy for Corbin Smiter, what a great catch he made, pumping those long legs like pistons into the end zone. Like Pierre Beasley had last week, another first time touchdown for some young receivers in our stable. Chase spreads it around, and as success comes to the other receivers, it has a way of freeing Jarrett of multiple defenders. That’s what he was so excited about when he made that monstrous catch and TD, he only saw one man on him. That’s a no-no unless you want to give him a touchdown. I think Casey worried them more than Dillard because they were keying on him.

I have lost track of all the records being broken this year by Chase and Jarrett, and probably Clark Fangmeier and his PATs. I can’t remember his missing one this year, that’s amazing. I CAN remember when the Owl Faithful would close their eyes and cringe knowing that the fate of the ball after a touchdown had only a 50/50 chance of going through the uprights.

Oh, we have seen it all and lived to tell about it. That’s why seven wins and counting is a magical number for the Owls. Chase was right about our having come so far and done so much, but there are no bad wins, especially when they add up to a Bowl Game.

Makes getting up early on a Sunday morning joyful thing

by Joyce Pounds Hardy
Class of '45 BA '67

HOUSTON (Oct. 29) --





Now those are praises to die for. Is this our Houston Chronicle giving half-page photos and four inch headlines to our Rice Owls? What will they give us when we win number 6 and go bowling? I can hardly wait to see. It surely makes getting up early on a Sunday morning a joyful thing.

However, I paid a mean price for leaving Rice Stadium at 6pm Saturday after the Southern Mississippi game and driving straight through to Round Rock so that I would be there to see Rice beat UT at Dell Diamond Sunday noon, 16-9 (or something like that) in 14 innings. We looked good, they did not. But that’s another story.

Anyway, I have got a humdinger of a muscle spasm in my neck and shoulder that has been telling me for a week that I am too old for such foolishness. Cheering for my Rice Owls is strenuous exercise at my age, I just wish that my internist would count it as such.

At the football dinner Monday night, there were a lot of frustrated Owls who could not get the game on the radio. Good ole 97.5 FM. At least the tower had not fallen down this time because I could hear it loud and clear on my famous $100 transistor radio. It has been worth the price for many years now, because back then when I had to sit in the car for the entire game, I was one mad red-headed Owl.

I recorded my usual play by play game, and my side bar read 7-14-21-28-35 ! Five touchdowns in the first half plus Clark’s golden toe PAT’s. Casey, Clement, Casey, Clement, Jones, Ugokwe. How sweet it was. Eight different receivers in the game, Casey, Dillard, Dixon, Smiter, Ugokwe, Maginot, Wardlow, Randolph. And how about Chase with 20 out of 25 passing and an unbelievable pooch kick. My only regret was that Jarrett had defenders above him and below him the whole game and couldn’t get that TD I promised him.

Defense was outstanding indeed—Garmon, Tolbert, Hill, Bradshaw, Garmon, Bradshaw, Solomon, Gascon-Nadon, Ptaszek, Bradshaw, Smith, Jones, Solomon, Calhoun, Garley, Jones, Bradshaw, and my apologies for missing some of them. Blame it on a stiff neck. What a crew. My goodness—34 yards total for Tulane.

I’ve still got a pain in my neck that has made typing this column tough. The therapist is a Longhorn so he is not exactly sympathetic, especially since we beat UT again last Sunday in baseball at our house. Badly...

As for my football team, they were full of my red Hot Tamales and fired up for a victory. I could see that in practice Thursday. I always tell them “good luck” and “stay safe.” If I had a magic wand that I could wave over their heads and keep everyone of them from getting hurt, I would do that in a New York minute. But hey! I’m just the Hot Tamale Lady, not God.

Beautiful game, beautiful stadium, beautiful day

by Joyce Pounds Hardy
Class of '45 BA '67

HOUSTON (Oct. 21) -- Hey all of you couch potatoes sitting indoors watching your TV games, you missed a great opportunity to experience what college football is all about Saturday afternoon. It was beautiful.

Of course, Rice beating Southern Mississippi, 45-40, in a nip and tuck battle of the air balls certainly made it more exciting. This was another one of those jumping games where I get all my exercise for the week in 4 hours. Not only did I jump up six times for Rice touchdowns plus a field goal, but for some unbelievable receptions for first downs, runs for tough yardage, a knock-the- ball-out-of-our- receiver’s-hands-fumble-bounce-catch-run- touchdown, and a grab-the–ball-out-of-the-opponent’s- hands-recovery for a Rice first down, but also an onside kick by Southern Miss in the last seconds of the game which was caught by a flying Casey, who was promptly flipped for a 360 in the air, to end the game. Who needs 24 Hour Fitness?

Somehow, I got caught up in all the 7’s in our victory Saturday. Weird as I am (at times.) In the Christian religion, 7 means good and three 7’s mean completely good, and that is exactly what happened in our game: Casey had seven receptions, Dillard had seven receptions, and Dixon had seven receptions, and we had six seven point touchdowns. I don’t know about that 6, but we did score seven times. Well, OK, so I’m stretching our good luck a bit. Just remember that 7’s are good; it’s the 6’s that are bad and usually mean that you missed the PAT’

I didn’t count how many times Rice sent out five receivers, which I never thought I would live to see, but it was a joyful thing for me, especially those three bunched up in a little triangle on the right end of the line, who scattered like a covey of quail when your hound dog noses into a bush.

Jarrett and Chase connected for # 43, 44, and 45, one of them a real twister, which is gonna go on going up for the rest of the season and beyond, I hope. The offense held and held again so that Chase had time to connect 30 times for 444 yards, and even though SM’s Davis hit 32 for 416. we won the foot race. One of my favorite quotes in MK’s column was from Toren Dixon, “If you’re going to be out here, you’ve got to be a playmaker in THIS offense.” Make every move, offense and defense, count.

I took my sister, Bettye, to the game Saturday and she kept saying, “Why does the announcer keep saying that your quarterback is throwing to anyone?” About the third time she said it, I turned and said “What?” “Why does your announcer keep saying that the quarterback is throwing to anyone? Doesn’t he know his name?” Slowly, the fog lifted and I said, “Oh, he’s saying 81. not anyone.”

I’ve got to learn NOT to watch the kick for point after the TD, if I wish to see the instant replay of the touchdown. They ought to show it two times. I have been so spoiled by being able to reverse the televised play and see it over and over again, that I want to see the live touchdown again without holding my breath. I never look up in time....

In years past, at the football dinners every Monday night, we would be treated to the whole game’s highlights on one BIG screen for about 20 minutes, and good game or bad, we enjoyed seeing it again together. Those who wanted to leave could, but most of us just turned our chairs around and enjoyed the show. I know it was a lot of work for someone to put it together, but I miss it.

I know I’ve worn out the word beautiful, but sometimes there isn’t another word that says it better—it was a beautiful game played in a beautiful stadium on a beautiful day. Hope you were there.

Though painful, Owl misstep needs to be put in perspective

by Joyce Pounds Hardy
Class of '45 BA '67

GALVESTON (Oct. 6) -- I was so upset Sunday that I couldn’t write about the game. Boy, that one hurt.

I knew that we weren’t bulletproof, but I thought we were past shooting ourselves in the foot, not once not twice but five times. And on TV--again. I hope CBS-C paid us something for that public humiliation. Whatever it was, it wasn’t enough.

However, today, Monday, I forgot about our misfortune, I forgot about our loss, I forgot about the ill wind that blew, and the surge of the Golden Hurricanes that sunk our dreams, I forgot about my pain over a football game. Today, I spent seven hours in Galveston.

Talk about misfortune, loss, wind, pain, this was a surge that ruined people’s lives. This was no Saturday football game with scars that will heal in a couple of months, these scars covered the Island and some of them, maybe most of them, will never heal. I have loved Galveston all my life and what I saw broke my heart.

Our Bay House in Isla del Sol had very little damage, only the store room under the house itself had had five feet of water in it for days and had to be emptied , stripped, and sprayed with Clorox, but it still smelled. Everything in it floated and banged around but the walls held. The screen room only lost a few panels and the golf cart, having swung 180 degrees around a piling, was a lost cause. We still have no water, no electricity, no phones, no food, but there are Porta Pottys on every corner.

Workers seem tireless, relentless, as do the bob cats, cranes, tractors, bull dozers, and hundreds of huge trucks in long lines being loaded with the storm’s detritus. But there is no putting Humpty Dumpty back together again, not my beautiful Humpty Dumpty.

West End was covered with miles and miles of debris—everywhere refrigerators, freezers, boats, cushions, mattresses, furniture, strollers, fishing poles, reels, life jackets, TV’s, bookcases with no books, palm trees by the thousands, garage doors, sides of houses, cars in the fields. Sand was piled higher than my car on either side of the road where bulldozers had pushed it so you could drive on the asphalt. All the sand from the beach and from under the beach houses had blown and floated across the roads. I could see daylight under most of the beach houses, the sand gone from under their concrete foundations, broken concrete everywhere.

What hurt the most was seeing no green anywhere. Brown trees, brown shrubs, brown grass, brown sand. There seemed to be so little still alive on both ends of the Island. Houses and buildings on the East End, from the seawall to the ship channel, were gutted, their soaked treasures piled on the sidewalks, mildewing like the rest of Galveston.

My Rice granddaughter-doctor and her husband, who lived close to UTMB, lost everything. They had spent 36 hours evacuating patients, until Friday evening, finally getting out of town just ahead of IKE.

I don’t know what this has to do with Rice football, but all of a sudden the loss to Tulsa didn’t hurt as much. I don’t think I will look back at my four pages of every play in the game, or ask any questions about “why did the wheels come off again?” or “who got rattled by whom over and over and over,” or “what happened to our hurry-up offense which uses every second on the play clock?” I choose to remember Clement’s pass to Dillard who scored his record-breaking touchdown, and Brian Raines, hobbled or not, being in on almost every tackle, and Clark’s golden toe on our PAT’s. I choose NOT to remember the score, or how sore my shoulders were Sunday morning from cringing so much.

My Owls will be back on green grass next Saturday week, and I will be in the stands, my feet dry, no sand between my toes, and hope in my heart that reconstruction, as it is in Galveston, is underway.

It's enough to make me want to go to Tulsa, almost, anyway

by Joyce Pounds Hardy
Class of '45 BA '67

HOUSTON (Sept. 30) -- I wanted more!! I was loving this. I didn't even know our scoreboard could go as high as 77.

Our box, full of screaming, joyful Rice Owls (except for my guest who was from North Texas) was jumping up and down as we were on a trampoline, high fiving, and making sure that we didn't miss the replay of another amazing touchdown. The fun was non-stop.

Clement to Dillard, Clement to Dillard, Clement to Dillard. They wanted all the hoopla to be "over with," but I would have been happy to see hoopla #42, #43, and #44. I am so proud of those two guys for breaking the NCAA record, especially in Rice Stadium where we could all bask in the glory of their accomplishment. And just think there are more games to play. It makes me want to go to Tulsa. Almost.

There were so many fine plays on this sunshiny, breezy autumn day, I didn't want it to end. Our plays were working better than they had in practice. The offensive line was on target all day, sharp and mean to the Mean Green, although I think they were one tired unit by the end of the third quarter. The score was 77-20 and that's what it was when the final gun sounded. Coach Bailiff had put on the brakes.

The fourth quarter proved to be a mercy period. I think Texas did that for us, and it is a sportsmanlike thing to do. But I felt sorry for John Thomas who must have been told to run, run, run the ball. Looked like Ken Hatfield's play book--over right tackle, over left tackle, over right tackle, three downs and punt. We "ran out the clock" for fifteen minutes. It was difficult for the now frenzied Owls, and it didn't seem fair to those kids who finally got to play, who were hungry to make something happen, but the brakes were on.. Or so it seemed to me.

At practice Thursday, I gave Jarrett a "very special red Hot Tamale" and told him it was going to bring him the record, and I gave Chase a "very special red Hot Tamale" and told him "Run, Chase, Run!" Now I'm not going to take any credit for their achievements, but those hot little suckers worked some magic.

There were so many other players in Blue who made great plays, offense and defense, interceptions for touchdowns, covered fumbles, blocked punts, forced punts, stops on fourth downs, sticky-fingered receivers, hard-fought yards. And of course, Casey, our ubiquitous secret weapon who does it all.

'Beer good. Game bad. Thanks'
When the news eventually reached, it wasn't positive

by Joyce Pounds Hardy
Class of '45 BA '67
(you figure it out)

HOUSTON (Sept. 23) -- Hurricane Ike, Vanderbilt, and Texas.

Three pretty bad storms for Rice to have to weather in one week. The football team was faring about as well as their fans back in Houston, who were without power, too. The team took off for Tennessee just before the monster, who was swirling like a giant whirlpool covering the entire Gulf of Mexico, came ashore. So long Rice Owls, so long Galveston, so long Bolivar, so long Crystal Beach, so long Gilcrest, so long Houston.

On Saturday, when I realized that I had survived, exhausted from running from window to window for 24 hours with a flashlight, I had one consolation, as I lit candles all over the house (I no longer think that candles are romantic.) My freshly battery-loaded transistor radio, that $100 one that is powerful enough to pick up 97.5 FM, was ready for the Rice-Vanderbilt game. I clung to that little radio knowing that at 6pm I could at least let my mind settle on something else besides 120 mile an hour winds, more rain, downed trees, and no electricity.

Wrong. All I could get was whiny music. I checked to make sure that I had not mistakenly tuned to KTRU, but no it was the correct number. Same music, different station. With no computer, no newspaper, I didn't know who won the game for three days; until Buck was sawing giant limbs which covered my front yard and he discovered the Chronicle buried there under what used to be my Chinese Tallow tree. We lost.

That did not perk up my spirits. No computer, no column. (I found out at the football dinner tonight that that powerful tower for 97.5 FM in Beaumont had blown down.)

Last Thursday, still without power, I went to football practice to take the guys their good luck red Hot Tamales. I love practice, they work so hard. I was there the day before IKE blew in, too, but my small offering must have bailed out somewhere over Tennessee. MK was there writing his column with his laptop plugged into the power outlet on the wall just beside the bench I was sitting on. Wish I'd thought of that, but then I can't type and watch at the same time. He was without power, too. Nature plays no favorite.

However, THE BIG ONE was looming on the horizon. Texas licks its chops when it sees Rice coming. But I am the eternal optimist. After all, I was there when Rice beat Texas in 1965. As a matter of fact, I was there when Rice beat Texas in '45, '46, '49, '53, '54, '56, '58, '60 AND '65. Good ole Southwest Conference days. So, I know it can happen.

The team didn't get to practice but four days because of Hurricane delays getting home from Tennessee, and since all Off campus students had to move on Campus, they had little rest. Electricity, yes; food, yes; water, no. Think that through, folks. Drinking, yes, flushing, no. Not exactly conducive to normal game preparation.

Going to the game in Austin is not my idea of fun. Not only do they charge us $75 a ticket, but they put us in the deepest corner of the stadium where we can't see the game or the Jumbotron, AND they surround us with 99.5 thousand screaming Orange fanatics, who expect to win and when the score got to 21 to 3 at halftime, half of them left for the nearest bar. Watching it on television was not much better, except that we were closer to the beer.

Buck and Sally came to my house to watch the game, do the laundry, and take a shower. They had no power and I had got mine on that morning. Buck's note for me when I got home from Larry's said: "Beer good. Game bad. Thanks." Larry had asked me over for barbeque, margueritas, and the game. Trouble was it was NOT on his TV as advertised, at least not on Comcast.

So Larry, after many angry phone calls, saw a phone number on his screen saying call this number. He did and found out that for $9.99 (isn't everthing $9.99?) he could buy the game, which he did, and which popped right onto the screen, late in the first quarter. We missed the good part. Oh well. The barbeque and the margueritas were good.

I had a few problems with our play calling when Rice took 11 plays from the 2 yard line and still did not get a touchdown. I just think we have the best running quarterback in the game, (maybe next to McCoy,) and I wanted him to get out of that crushing pocket and run the ball in for those 6 points like I know he can.

And I did tell the coach tonight that one of Texas' "best plays" was intentionally wrapping up Jarrett with both arms just as he was about to catch the ball in the endzone for a touchdown. Flag. Interference. No TD. and it cost Texas one yard. Not once, but twice. And three tipped passes over the left side of the line. Ouch. It was a tough 11 plays to watch. Not to mention, Casey's hard-driving touchdown which was nullified because of a penalty. Coach did not answer, I think I went too far this time. He did not come hug me as he was leaving.

The North Texas winds will be rushing in this Saturday and we will be ready for them--electricity on, water running, stadium cleaned up, no rain, and a record-breaking game for all of us Owls.

Still saturated with the wonder of it all

HOUSTON (Sept. 9) -- Forget the Zantac! Buck had to get the defibrillator, his mother was fibrillating. I'm wacky enough without you all banging on my heart. However, I'll just keep the jumper nearby for all the games and raise the decibels as I happily yell "GO RICE GO!"

In the breathtaking final seconds of the game, when Jammer (I love that name) intercepted that pass and took off running, Buck and I were up on our feet jumping up and down whooping like banshees, hollering "GO GO GO..." when the phone rang. I picked it up and yelled hello, still screaming "GO GO..."

It was my son, Larry, calling from the hospital to celebrate with us. "What game are you watching?" as the noise hit a massive crescendo and Jammer (I love that name) crossed the goal line. "Rice, of course, we just made a touchdown to go ahead of Memphis with 11 seconds left on the clock."

"Whoa," said Larry, "the game was over three minutes ago on the internet." "Just don't tell me who won," I said with half a brain working, "OMIGOSH, we pulled off a miracle." "That's why I called to celebrate another come-from-behind victory for our Owls," he said, "we gave up 500 yards, but found another way to win." AND SO WE DID.

Larry said he had purchased the game on his computer because the hospital is in a dead zone (pardon the pun.) He said by halftime he decided that he had wasted his money, but by the end of the game, it was worth its weight in gold.

Buck and I replayed the fourth quarter over and over and over, watching Chase run for that touchdown and Casey catch that two point conversion and Jammer (I love that name) intercept that Memphis pass a hundred times.We laughed uncontrol- lably as the coaches and players hopped, skipped, and jumped down the sideline with Jammer for 69 yards as he ran like a jack rabbit for the goal line. We even went back to the last play of the first half, played by a team impersonating my Rice Owls, and savored that last minute interception by Gorman which surely would have been another touchdown for the Tigers.

I wore Buck out and he went home. But I was wired. I was going to write this column while I was still saturated with the wonder of it all. I tried. I had twelve pages of notes. I had written down every play as I always do when I am listening to the radio. Why I did it and tried to watch the televised game at the same time is a puzzle to me. And so were my notes.

Three and out, was hard for me to take. I had a lot of unprintable words written in the margins. Well, some of them are printable, I just don't know how to spell them. "Dadgummit," "What ARE you doing?" "Yipes, he must be seven feet tall." "Tackle him, tackle him, where are you guys?" "Oooo, they're running right through us." "Chase is scrambling...don't hurt him." "Dammit, his passes are too high, too long, or too short..." "Those are not my receivers. No way." And that was just the first half.

I pressed on to the good part. Not so much in the margins. But by now my computer tired and eating my words, we are not very good friends anyway and my work was disappearing. It had been a long night for both of us. I looked at the clock and it was 1:30am. I conceded the battle and went to bed.

I set the alarm for 7am Sunday morning so I could run out and get the paper and read everything about Rice's great victory. OMIGOSH, we made the front page of the sport's section. I couldn't wait to get to Sunday School and Church, where all the "stunned" (as MK said) Rice Alums would be waiting to share the joy of our very own miracle. We are young and old, which is as it should be. Now I know that the torch will be passed on to some great kids. I can relax.

I don't know how MK can write so fast and think so fast and say all those insightful things as they are happening. He amazes me. I, on the other hand, have to pass all my thoughts and feelings through mazes of the past and the present, which slows me down. But I will say that I was surprised by the CBS CS announcers who continuously talked about Clement, Dillard, and Casey: about how our powerful Rice's offense is: how dangerous it is; here they come--I told you that Memphis had better not let their guard down; the game is not over and Rice will use every minute of it." And we did.

What a difference a year makes for this group of Owls!
(And way to go, students)

HOUSTON (Sept. 4) -- RICE 56 SMU 27.

I know it's old news, but just rolling it off my tongue one more time feels oh so good! And I am oh so proud of those guys and the coaches for the game they executed Friday night. Every player knew where he was supposed to be and what he was supposed to do -- what a difference a year makes!

I did go to watch the practices last Spring and take the team some Red Hot Tamales to put "a little fire in their bellies," but they didn't need them. I was surprised and pleased to see a huge change in their attitudes and in their performances. I have told this to everyone who would listen to me--there was no confusion anymore. Bailiff's scheme belonged to them now.

Coach Bailiff had made believers out of them. Every player was quicker, surer, faster, stronger, happier. They were laughing and kidding each other on the sidelines, but when their numbers were called--they ran onto the field with confidence and a new zeal for the game. Practice or not, they were putting their hearts into every effort.

I love the No Huddle Spread Option. It's a thinking team's offense. I still can't believe that's my Rice with four receivers on the line of scrimmage. How many years did I plead with

Coach Hatfield to send out more than one receiver? His answer was, "Why, there's only one ball?" I guess he was being cutesy, but believe me, my answer to his question was not.

There were so many heroes Friday night: Clement, Dillard, Casey, Sendejo, King, Smiter, Randolph, Ugokwe, Raines, Smith, Fangmeier, Dixon, Henderson, Solomon, Knox, Garley, Turner, Thompson, Yelkovich and 80 of their closest friends. Eight touchdowns! Rice's offense and defense were tough and tenacious, exciting and unpredictable. And what's not to love about the dynamic duo of Clement and Dillard or the Thor Package?

If SMU's $2,000,000 coach was to be the Saviour of Mustang football with his old run and shoot offense, he forgot to tell his quarterback he could only shoot. No runee. A couple of days ago, I watched my video recording of the game on ESPN, and if the announcers had said one more adulatory word about June Jones I was heading for the Zantac.

Ad nauseum, they said June Jones this and June Jones that, "if you wanted to play for a high-scoring team, which coach would you chose?" JJ, of course. "JJ doesn't like for his quarterback to run with the ball." Duh! Now all of the other teams know JJ is just a shoot and shoot coach, "look at JJ mentoring his quarterback, young Bo Levi Mitchell, he's creating another all American." from scratch. "Young freshman Bo Levi never threw more than ten passes in a game in his high school career, so JJ is throwing him into the fire tonight."" Bo Levi will be a great passer when he strengthens his arm and JJ....blah,blah, blah.." As a mother carried her young son who was wearing an SMU t-shirt up the steps , the ESPN crew gushed, " he'll have something to tell his grandchildren, 'I was at June Jones first game for SMU.' " YUK! Where is that Zantac?

The announcers only mentioned Coach Bailiff three times and he was the real story here. At least they said that "Chase Clement has been the real deal, he plays with his mind, arm and feet," and "Jarrett Dillard is the best receiver you never heard of, probably the best in the nation." I cheered when I heard them say that and figured that after four hours maybe they had waked up to the fact that Rice was beating the stuffing out of SMU.

And speaking of cheering, the sight of those two whole sections of rowdy, balloon-banging, cheering students warmed my heart beyond measure. They didn't leave at half time, nor after the third quarter, nor after the end of the game, they stayed and sang "Rice's Honor" with the team standing proudly in front of them. Some of the players even went up in the stands and got their fair share of back-slappings. The rest just congregated on the field, surrounded by grateful fans and proud parents, and hoped the big screen would keep that "Rice 56 SMU 27" glowing brightly a little while longer.

More Joyce Hardy Archives (go to Page 3)

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