Wide receiver Bradley Rozner made plays that won games, often putting the team on his back in key moments. He’s our 2022 Rice Football team MVP.
The story of how Bradley Rozner impacted Rice football in 2022 can’t be told on one play, but it’s fitting there is one moment that stands out above the rest and it’s equally fitting that one man rose to the occasion when his team needed it the most. In a do-or-die moment, Bradley Rozner reminded everyone why he was our 2022 Rice Football team MVP.
It’s already been written about in much more detail here, but the cliff notes version is pretty simple. Rice was tied with UTEP with 30 seconds on the clock and in range for about a 40-yard field goal should the gain no more ground. Rather than settle for the kick attempt, head coach Mike Bloomgren called up Rozner’s number and quarterback TJ McMahon hit No. 2 a step in front of the pylon or the game-winning score.
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“It’s kind of like [we] dare people to cover him one on one,” Bloomgren joked after the game. “That’s a heck of a weapon to have as your X-receiver.”
In what felt like a must-win game after falling to Charlotte the week prior, Rozner made what might have ended up becoming the most defining moment of the 2022 Rice football season. And that weapon, as Bloomgren referred to him, did much more than terrorize UTEP.
Rozner finished the 2022 campaign with 876 yards and 10 touchdowns. He became the first Rice football player to have double-digit receiving touchdowns in a single season since Jarrett Dillard and James Casey each accomplished the feat in 2008.
The depth at the wide receiver position allowed Rice to spread the ball out more often this year than they had in the past, but whether it was a highlight reel day or not, Rozner always seemed to make an impact that changed the game. He had 100 yards receiving or a touchdown in eight of the Owls’ 12 games this season.
What makes that run of dominance even more special is the path Rozner took to get to this point. After a breakthrough 2019 season, Rozner missed essentially the entirety of the 2020 and 2021 season with injuries, catching just two passes in the 2021 season opener against Arkansas before being shelved for the year.
Rozner’s first of two touchdowns in the Owls’ runaway win over McNeese State in their home opener was his first home touchdown in his Rice football career and his first touchdown grab as an Owl since November 16, 2019 against Middle Tennessee. Rozner’s emergence had been a long time coming.
Making it back to the field in any capacity and contributing to the offense would have been a relief for Rozner who hadn’t seen the field in such a long time. Becoming a go-to game-breaker was even more impressive. In many ways, it’s just like that game-winning score against UTEP. Someone gave Rozner a chance. He did the rest.
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