Armed Forces Bowl 2012: How Freshman QB Driphus Jackson Shined for Rice

Pete Schauer@@Pete_SchauerCorrespondent IDecember 29, 2012

FORT WORTH, TX - DECEMBER 29:  Driphus Jackson #6 of the Rice Owls calls a play at the line of scrimmage against the Air Force Falcons on December 29, 2012 during the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
Cooper Neill/Getty Images

It wasn't the personnel that Rice planned on completing the Armed Forces Bowl with, but it sure worked.

Rice defeated Air Force 33-14 on the right arm of a freshman quarterback.

After Owls starting junior quarterback Taylor McHargue was forced to leave the game with a concussion (h/t ABC News), freshman QB Driphus Jackson was pressed into action and performed admirably.

Jackson entered this one with a start already under his belt, as he threw for 272 yards and two touchdowns against Houston back in September, but the rookie QB had never played on a bigger stage than Saturday afternoon.

Trailing 14-7 at halftime to Air Force, the Owls amped up their passing attack with Jackson.

On the opening drive of the second half, Jackson shined, completing pass after pass and eventually finding sophomore WR Jordan Taylor for a 22-yard touchdown.

Jackson would later find Taylor again, this time for a 34-yard strike to put the game out of reach for the Falcons.

Overall, the freshman QB completed 15-of-21 passes for 264 yards and two touchdowns, which earned him the honors of Armed Forces Bowl Player of the Game.

Obviously Jackson was sensational on Saturday, but he has a stout defense and a solid rushing game to also thank.

The Owls defense didn't allow a single point in the second half and held the Falcons to a mere 214 total yards while forcing three turnovers.

Junior RB Turner Petersen led the ground attack, rushing for 81 yards on just nine carries while junior Charles Ross added 57 yards and a touchdown for a running game that amassed 208 total rushing yards.

With the way the Rice defense was playing, Jackson was able to take chances down the field while the staunch defense lightened some of the pressure on the freshman's shoulders.

The Owls converted 50 percent of their first downs and dominated the time of possession, as they held the football for nearly 38 minutes.

Jackson did make an erratic pitch in a crucial spot on the field, but it's certainly hard to argue with anything else he or his Rice team did on Saturday.


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