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Rice, USM Meet in LendingTree Bowl

Friday, Dec. 16, 2022

MOBILE – Rice and Southern Miss will meet in the 24th annual LendingTree Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 17 at Hancock Whitney Stadium. This is the earliest playing date (Dec. 17) in LendingTree Bowl history.

The game will be televised by ESPN with kickoff set for 4:50 p.m. (CT). Mike Monaco (play-by-play), Matt Stinchcomb (analyst) and Alyssa Lang (sideline reporter) will call the game to a national audience. Eric Posman is the producer and Dan McVan will serve as the director.

The game will also air on the Bowl Season Radio Network with Mike Grace (play-by-play), Cole Cubelic (analyst) and Randy Kennedy (sideline reporter).

The week culminated with the two head coaches meeting with the media on Friday and a photo opportunity with the 2022 LendingTree Bowl trophy.

Rice is making its first appearance at the LendingTree Bowl. The Owls are 28th different team to play in the bowl game.

“It’s been an incredible week for our kids, getting to see the city of Mobile and see some different things, like Dauphin Island,” Rice head football coach Mike Bloomgren said. “We had some great experiences.  In addition to that, we got the opportunity to work. That’s some we love to do. We love to have these kids out at practice. It’s a testament to the leadership of our coaches and players, that when we were supposed to work, we did work.”

Southern Miss is looking to become the first three-time champion at the LendingTree Bowl. The Golden Eagles have won their previous two appearances against TCU (28-21) in 2000 and Ohio (28-7) in 2007.

“This has been a great experience all week long,” Southern Miss head coach Will Hall said. “We are excited to play in this game. We are excited to get Southern Miss back in the post season. This is a big deal for us to get here in year two. We’ve had to battle in every way. We’ve kind of poured foundation that we think we can build a football program.”

THE SERIES

Rice and Southern Miss are meeting for the 13th time in the 2022 LendingTree Bowl. The series is tied 6-6. All 12 meetings took place when USM was a member of Conference USA. In the recent wave of realignment, Southern Miss made the move to the Sun Belt Conference this season. The teams were originally scheduled to meet on Sept. 24 but the schedule changed when the Golden Eagles made the move to the Sun Belt.

Rice posted a 31-29 win in the first meeting between the two schools on Oct. 3, 2007. The Owls won four of the first five meetings. Southern Miss then took control of the series with a 5-game winning streak. The Golden Eagles averaged 42.2 points per game during the winning streak. Rice has won the last two meetings, winning 30-6 (2020) and 24-19 (2021).

RICE BOWL HISTORY

Rice is making its first bowl appearance since a 30-6 win over Fresno State in the 2014 Hawaii Bowl. The Owls are playing in their 13th bowl game in school history and have compiled a 7-5 record in bowl games. This will be the sec­ond earliest appearance for the Owls during bowl season as they fell to Kan­sas 33-7 in the Bluebonnet Bowl (at Rice Stadium) on December 16, 1961. That game came just two weeks after Rice earned a bowl bid with a 26-14 win over Baylor on December 2 at home, one week less than the turnaround this year (three weeks between games). Rice’s bowl history includes four Cotton Bowl games, one Sugar Bowl and one Orange Bowl. Perhaps the most famous game took place in the 1954 Cotton Bowl when Rice beat Alabama 28-6. Rice running back Dickey Maegle ran 11 times for 265 yards (24.1 yards per carry) and four touchdowns in the win. On his 95-yard TD run, Maegle was tackled by Alabama’s Tommy Lewis, who came off the sidelines to prevent the TD. Maegle was awarded the touchdown. Rice played in three straight bowl games from 2012-14, winning two of the three games.

USM BOWL HISTORY

The Golden Eagles return to a bowl game for the first time since the 2019 season and the 27th overall in school history.  USM is 11-15 all-time in bowl games, and looks to snap a 2-game losing streak in postseason play. At one point, the program went to a postseason game every year for 10 seasons from 2002-11. Southern Miss seeks to become the first 3-time LendingTree Bowl champion on Saturday. USM has won its two previous trips to the LendingTree Bowl, with wins over TCU (2000) and Ohio (2007). This will be Southern Miss’ fifth bowl game in the state of Alabama. The Golden Eagles played in the 1990 All-American Bowl and 2007 Papajohns.com Bowl. Both of those games were played at Legion Field. Southern Miss made its bowl debut at the 1954 Sun Bowl, falling to Pacific 26-7.

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