A Rice football record which has surprisingly stood for more than four decades, can anyone break David Houser’s record 14 catch game in 1976?
The vast majority of Rice football receiving records belong to All-American Jarrett Dillard. As fantastic as he was, there is one meaningful mark he wasn’t able to break. In a 1976 defeat at the hands of the Florida Gators, David Houser hauled in 14 receptions for 196 yards.
The Owls were forced to play catch up and Houser’s strong effort wasn’t enough to earn the victory. But even in defeat, Houser’s array of catches were well beyond what any Rice receiver has managed in any era.
That isn’t to say that Dillard didn’t come close. In a win over SMU in 2007 Dillard snagged 13 receptions for 128 yards, one shy of Houser’s record. That came a week after he caught 11 passes against SMU. Those two games, plus an 11-catch, 171 yards and three touchdown performance against Army in 2006, marked the only double-digit receiving games of his career.
Part of what makes Houser’s still-standing record all the more impressive is the era in which he accomplished it. Before the spread offense took flight at the turn of the century there wasn’t nearly as much of an emphasis on throwing the ball frequently.
Case in point: Dillard caught 91 passes and 21 touchdowns in 2006. The high-water mark of Houser’s career came in 197 when he caught 55 balls for five scores. He might have been less productive than Dillard on the whole. but for one game, Houser brought it.
A different era, but still a tremendous effort to produce a record that has stood for 42 years. The Owls haven’t had a truly dominant receiver since Dillard left for the NFL and new head coach Mike Bloomgren is going to focus on establishing the run first. That means Houser’s record is probably safe for at least a few more seasons.