It was an unlikely path to a bowl game for the Rice Owls. Needing to win their final four games to become bowl eligible, the Owls did just that, getting past the Southern Miss. Golden Eagles, Tulane Green Wave, SMU Mustangs and UTEP Miners to make it to the Armed Forces Bowl. They've been installed as 1.5-point underdogs to the Air Force Falcons in Fort Worth.
The Owls will face an offense unlike anything they've seen all season. Air Force, like the other service academies, runs the triple option offense, relying primarily on rushing to move the football. The Falcons are second in the country in rushing yards per game with 328.8 yards per game. They don't pass it often, ranking 122nd in the FBS at just 107.2 passing yards per contest.
This will be Rice's first appearance in the Armed Forces Bowl. The Air Force Falcons have appeared three times, all during a three year streak from 2007-09. They dropped the first two games, but won the last one, a 47-20 blowout of the Houston Cougars.