Rice Owls were hit by a Stanford storm in Sunday’s 62-7 college football loss at Allianz Stadium, and now must safely navigate Hurricane Harvey which is pounding Texas before returning to Houston.
Their week in Sydney was abruptly ended by a red-hot Cardinal outfit, led by running back duo Bryce Love and Cameron Scarlett, who combined for four touchdowns apiece, but greater challenges await the travelling party of 200-plus, which will likely be forced to bunker down in Los Angeles before returning home.
Stanford and Rice both fly out of Sydney on Monday, with the latter contemplating a second flight to Dallas later in the week before taking a bus back to hurricane-lashed Houston, which is facing a week of flooding.
Coach David Bailiff said his side wouldn’t use the hurricane as an excuse for their season-opening thumping, but admitted it was impossible not to think about family and friends back home.
“You try to tell them [the team] you let me worry about that thing and you go and play football, we did the best that we could with what’s going on back home,” Bailiff said.
“We’re not going to use that as an excuse.
“Are we worried about our families? Yes. We’d like to let everybody in Houston and Texas know we’re with them…and will get your kids home safe too, I promise.
“I just talked to our president and our athletics director and the plan right now is getting to Los Angeles, getting to Dallas and then re-evaluate what’s happening at home.
“You pull together during these hard times and that’s how the band of brothers are made, it’s made during the hard times, it’s made during the difficult times.
“We can’t use this game as a setback, we’ve got to use this game, even though we lost, as something that ignites us into greatness.”
Hurricane Harvey took the shine off what was another successful Sydney Cup showcasing American football in NSW for a second consecutive season, in front of 33,181 fans.
Stanford is the 14th-ranked college in the USA, and expected to challenge for the Pac 12 Conference this season – one of college football’s most prestigious divisions.
This one was over almost before it began, with superstar Love running for 62 yards on his first touch of the ball.
“We studied them on film and knew coming in that would be a big play for us,” Love said.
“The O [offensive] line did a great job with the calls, downfield blocking from the receivers was there and I just took what I saw.”
Returning quarterback Keller Chryst threw two touchdown passes, the first coming less than a minute into the contest, while Stanford’s bruising defence proved it was going to be as robust as ever this season.
All up the Cardinal produced a whopping 656 yards of total ‘offense’, compared with Rice’s 241.
Cardinal coach David Shaw said the week had been a huge success for his university.
“Number one, honestly was to come out and get a win, start the season 1-0; number two, we had an opportunity that is potentially a life-changing experience for our entire staff and team,” Shaw said.
“Forget about foreign policy, forget about politics, forget about all those things. When people can cross an ocean and commune together, our world’s a better place.
“We’ll take a little bit of Sydney with us when we leave and we hope we’ve left a little bit of Stanford here in Sydney.
“The more people that do that, we communicate better, we see each other as people and not just a circle on a map and hopefully we’ve accomplished that this week.”
Stanford and Rice both have next weekend off before returning to action. The Cardinal face University of Southern California in a west-coast blockbuster, while Rice heads to University of Texas El Paso.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.