Rice football team captain Austin Trammell scorched the field at M.M. Roberts Stadium, setting career bests in the Owls’ big road win.
To some extent, Austin Trammell walked into M.M. Roberts Stadium as the last man standing. A team captain and an unquestioned leader of the 2020 Rice football team, his peers in the receiving room were not yet able to hold a candle to what he had accomplished over his collegiate career.
There was talent waiting in the wings. Jake Bailey is one of the highest-rated recruits in school history. Andrew Mason is coming off a historic high school career in Tennessee. But neither had scored a touchdown in a college game. Mason had yet to catch his first collegiate pass.
Mason had two catches against Southern Miss for 44 yards. That included a nice adjustment to give a scrambling Mike Collins and outlet for a 33-yard gain. Jake Bailey snagged three balls, including his first career touchdown reception. The future is bright for both of the Owls’ up-and-coming receivers.
But Trammell, he went above and beyond.
Trammell exploded for three touchdowns, seven receptions and 143 yards. The touchdown outburst was one-shy of his season total from a year ago and marked a career-high for a single game. The receiving yards were also a career high and the third time he’s surpassed the century mark in his four-year Rice football career.
On a day when he knew the offense would need him to burn bright, he went supernova.
“He never surprises me,” head coach Mike Bloomgren said of Trammell, “but gosh he came through in a big, big way tonight.”
In a way, Trammell was merely picking up where he left off. The Owls’ veteran receiver did not catch a pass until the fourth quarter in the team’s previous game against Middle Tennessee. He promptly ripped off three consecutive catches, including the go-ahead touchdown and a two-point conversion.
Thanks in large part to Trammell’s dazzling last five quarters, Rice has scored 30 points in back-to-back games for the first time in his Rice career. The offense is starting to take flight and Trammell is at its center.
Trammell did offer one additional insight into his mindest entering his career game. “If we win our one on ones, we’re going to win the game,” he told his fellow wideouts during the week. He won. Bailey won. Mason won. And Trammell’s prediction turned prophetic: Rice won.