The crowd was beyond restless. The football team beckoning for their fans to join them to celebrate a Conference USA Championship, their first since 1956. The guards could not prevent the entirety of the student section from rushing onto the field to celebrate with our team.
The festivities began six hours earlier, when (at 8 am) roughly 1000 Rice students made their way to the football stadium for a tailgate, complete with coffee and breakfast tacos. As game time drew nearer, students made their way into the stadium to cram into the student section. The entire section was full, a sight which I had not seen anything close to throughout my time at RIce. Residential college spirit often takes precedence over spirit for our university as a whole, but today, we were a unified front with a common enemy: Marshall.
The enemy, however, could not keep up with the Owls, who were invited to play in the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tennessee following the game. After scoring 21 points in the first quarter, we coasted to a 41-24 victory, causing an on-field celebration the likes of which rival the one that occurred at Auburn just a week prior (okay, maybe not that large, but the intensity was equal).
I chose Rice over a state school because of the comfort provided by the residential college system and the closeness between students and faculty that a smaller school provides. However, on this one cold, Saturday morning, we had the energy and support for athletics that I imagine a state school provides. And on this Saturday morning, we were ever so proud to be Owls.