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Win against Charlotte energized the Rice Owls

See what Rice Head Coach David Bailiff said about his team's second win of the season and their upcoming home game against UTEP.

NCAA Football: Rice at Southern Mississippi Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

On Last Week's Win

“It was outstanding to go on the road and get our first conference victory; a road win against Charlotte. I’m proud of this team. To go down 21-0 and just keep chipping away and come out with a 22-21 victory. The locker room was one of joy. Everybody that’s involved with the football program from the players, the coaches, the trainers, the equipment (staff). There was sheer energy (and) sheer jubilation to get that win. Really, you can’t say enough about young men that have had a tough season. To get down 21-0, it could have went the other way. Instead, it strengthened their resolve to keep fighting and to keep plugging away. Zach Wright and Kylen Granson did receiving. Both of them had double-figure (receptions). That was the first time in Rice history that we had two receivers with double-figure receptions. We always talk about needing one more point and the offense generated 22."

On UTEP

"We have UTEP coming to town on Senior Day. They’ve won three ball games this year. But, they have a great running back in (Aaron) Jones, who has right at 1,400 yards rushing. He’s averaging 7.2 yards a carry. They are very sound and solid offensively, defensively and on special teams. We’re going to have to play well. We’ll have to tackle in space like we did last week to get a win. Coach (Sean) Kugler has really done a great job of keeping that football team playing hard.”

“They’re solid everywhere. They have a great tight end (Hayden Plinke) that really helps them in the run game. Anytime you have a running back like Jones and a quarterback that are above average players. The way can run the ball, the way they can play-action the ball, the way they can keep it out of your hands when they get going. That’s what I mean."

"We’re going to have to try to get them behind the chains, much like we did for Charlotte. Charlotte was a team that wanted to stay on schedule and get into third and shorts and we kept preventing them from getting in third and shorts. That’s what we need to do with UTEP. It came down to us tackling well."

On his quarterback Tyler Stehling

“He played with so much grit. He really ran the offense well and made great decisions other than when he threw into the Cover-2 and got the interception. But, also in addition to his great stats, he also had one tackle on the day when he threw that interception. He’s the one that tackled the guy and got him out of bounds. But, he is just as confident. His confidence grows weekly. It was good to get Jackson Tyner and J.T. Granato some snaps in that game to let them grow also. But, that was Tyler Stehling’s most complete performance this season. The way he threw the ball; the way he ran it. Just the way he ran the offense and the way his leadership is starting to grow. You see him talking to people and being more demanding. I’m very proud of him.”

On UTEP's Aaron Jones

“There’s no doubt (he’s one of the top running backs Rice will face). He’s averaging 7.2 a carry. He’s one of the all-time leading running backs in Conference USA. He’s a great player. He can do it all. He can come at you downhill and make you miss or he can go to the perimeter and make you miss. Jones can beat you with his speed or his power. He has great vision too. He makes people miss.”

On the makeup of the team when they are down but still fighting:

“We don’t have a lot of seniors but we have really good quality seniors. Zach Wright has been very instrumental in giving the team direction. Not just in the locker room but out on the field. He’s an emotional leader of this football team. He refuses to let anyone quit around him. The same thing defensively with Alex Lyons. Alex is the same way. In the locker room, they are not going to let guys around them let down. As tough as it’s been, these seniors are trying to hold this team to a standard of excellence.”