Clement to Dillard for the score

Congratulations to Rice’s Chase Clement and Jarett Dillard, the most prolific scoring combination in NCAA history.

Rice senior receiver Jarett Dillard nearly remained stoic until the moment of truth. From the day he began fielding questions regarding the record he and classmate Chase Clement seemed destined to break, Dillard maintained a cavalier attitude toward the accomplishment that seemed unfathomable on the surface.

He flinched last week. As Rice began preparations for its penultimate non-conference game against North Texas, Dillard allowed himself a moment to discus the place in history he and Clement would share.

“For the first time Chase and I talked about the record in practice, maybe on Monday or Tuesday,” Dillard said. “And we said we want this record to be over with because we want down the line (where people) can’t ask any more questions about this record. It can be over with and we can get on with the football game.”

No matter how hard they tried, Clement and Dillard could not make the game primary. On Saturday at Rice Stadium, they set a new NCAA standard for touchdowns by a quarterback-receiver tandem, punctuating the Owls’ 77-20 demolition of North Texas with yet another remarkable display of collective brilliance.

Clement and Dillard combined for three touchdowns against the Mean Green (0-4), playing the central role in an offensive onslaught that produced a Conference USA single-game record for points. Their scoring exploits snapped the NCAA mark for combined touchdowns of 39 set by Tim Rattay and Troy Edwards (Louisiana Tech) in 1998 and matched by Colt Brennan and Davone Best (Hawaii) last season.

“I really didn’t recognize it until our equipment manager Kelly (Riccardi) came to me and said, ‘I’m going to send the ball to the College (Football) Hall of Fame,'” Dillard said. “I was just like, ‘Wow!’ Chase and I are from San Antonio, two guys under recruited who had one (scholarship) offer and we chose to come to Rice, and we have a football in the College (Football) Hall of Fame. That brought my jaw down. I was really in a state of shock.”

They have at least seven more games to build on their record-breaking 41 touchdown passes, eight if Rice makes it to a bowl. Their accomplishment is even more impressive when you realize that they spent their freshman year in Ken Hatfield’s pass-phobic triple option offense, and Clement missed a bunch of games to injury in 2006 when Dillard caught a total of 21 TD passes. I figure barring anything catastrophic, they’ll easily surpass 50. However long they remain the standard, it’s a heck of an accomplishment. Well done, guys.

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