Jasperse and guards Sebastien Johansson and Alex Schooler love a good war with a good defensive tackle. Enter Christian Covington.
The Rice sophomore is coming into his own, with big numbers for a defensive tackle. He is fifth on the team with 48 tackles and leads with 9.5 tackles for loss and four sacks. He also has three pass break-ups, three quarterback hurries, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and even a blocked kick.
"He's a good player," Jasperse said. "He makes a lot of plays, and he gets after it. But we played against him last year, so we know a little bit of what he has."
On a Rice team with chemical engineering majors, who is the smartest Owl of them all? A very unscientific poll indicates defensive end Tanner Leland, who is toting a 3.56 grade-point average while majoring in mathematic economic analysis.
"There are a bunch of guys on our team who are real bright. I would say Tanner Leland," said quarterback Taylor McHargue. "He came here as a walk-on and earned a scholarship. He's a guy who busts his butt on and off the field."
Receiver Jordan Taylor picks one on each side. For defense, he leans toward Gabe Baker, who served on the search committee for a new Rice athletic director. For offense, he touts freshman tight end Robby Wells.
Defensive end Cody Bauer swings his vote to his opposite end, Leland.
"He's going to be an investment banker," Bauer said. "We're going to give him our money, and we'll be set, too."
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, dougsm...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.