2008 College Preview: Rice University

By Yolande Lezine
Updated: August 7, 2008

HOUSTON — The Rice Owls are ready to soar during the 2008 season with 14 seniors leading the way on a team that finished 3-9 in 2007. Leading the way on this veteran team is the offensive duo of quarterback Chase Clement and wide receiver Jarrett Dillard.

Clement almost demolished the Rice Owls record book, shattering 18 school marks for total offense in a game, season, and career. He enters the 2008 season as the consensus choice to earn All C-USA honors as well as being a candidate for several national honors.

He is ranked fifth in the nation among active quarterbacks in both total touchdowns (68) and touchdown passes (55). His main target is fellow San Antonio product Jarrett Dillard.

A 5-foot-11 senior, Dillard starts the 2008 season as the active NCAA leader in receptions (205), receiving yardage (2,828) and touchdown catches (40).

Dillard and Clement have combined for 32 touchdown passes and need just seven to break the NCAA career mark by a duo. Dillard is also 10 touchdown catches shy of an NCAA career record.

His total of 40 ranks eighth on the NCAA list. Despite a losing record, he still finished the season with 79 receptions for 1,057 yards and a conference-leading 14 touchdown catches.

“We have a core group of seniors this year,” Rice head coach David Bailiff said. “We have depth in the offensive line and we made great strides on defense. The sky is the limit for the ball club.”

A total of 17 starters return for the Owls, with eight on offense, eight on defense, and one specialist. The record-breaking pace is great, but the players are more concerned about having a winning season.

“Our expectations are to have a winning season,” Dillard stated. “You can set records all season long, but if you’re not winning, it doesn’t mean anything at all.”

Rice starts the season in prime-time on ESPN as they play host to the SMU Mustangs led by head coach June Jones on Friday, August 29th at Rice Stadium. They will open the season with a Conference USA opponent.


– The Owls have 76 players on their roster from the state of Texas.

– Clement, Dillard and Defensive back Brian Raines will represent the Owls as captains for the third-straight year.

– Clement feels that the Owls have a secret weapon in wide receiver James Casey.

– Dillard works out with Clement during the offseason in San Antonio, Texas. Both players are from that area.

– Dillard will only have to focus on the upcoming 2008 football season. He graduated in May with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science.

– Former Cy Falls running back Shane Turner was the only freshman that was asked to be interviewed on Rice’s Media Day.

– Free Safety Andrew Sendejo was named to the Dave Campbell’s Texas Football All-Texas College Team and was also named to the Academic All-Conference team. He currently holds a 3.5 GPA majoring in Sports Management and Policy Studies. He also minors in Business.

– Clement is among 31 players on the Watch List for the 2008 Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award.

– Rice will play six of its 12-game schedule at home. The Owls will play host to SMU, North Texas (Families Weekend), Southern Mississippi, Army (Homecoming), Marshall, and Houston.