Scoring was not the forte for Rice Football last season. Returning production and a revamped offense promise to push that number higher in 2018.
Rice football scored 26 offensive touchdowns in 2018, roughly averaging out to 2.2 touchdowns per game. That’s not a great rate of return on 732 offensive plays. The Owls’ total scoring output was near the bottom of the barrel last season, but there is reason for hope moving forward. The Owls get the vast majority of that offensive production back and they’ll be adding more skill players to the mix.
Of the nine Owls that found the endzone last season eight of them are returning to South Main. The only departing scorer, quarterback Miklo Smalls, would have been buried on the depth anyways, so his four touchdowns gone isn’t all that impactful. Here’s how the rest of the scorers shake out:
Nashon Ellerbe, Austin Walter and Emmanuel Esukpa make up a rather deep backfield for the Owls. All three players got at least 55 carries last season and each averaged at least 4.5 yards per rush attempt. Whoever wins the starting job could be in for a massive workload this year which would include an increase in goal-to-go carries and, most likely, more touchdowns.
With Aaron Cephus on the outside and that versatility in the backfield Rice should reload and come out even stronger next season. A legitimate rushing attack works wonders for any passing game, which makes the installation of Bloomgren’s rushing schemes extremely important this fall. Whether it’s through the air or on the ground, the Owls are destined for more scores in 2018.