For his entire career, the odds were inherently against him. But Rice running back Jayson Carter, who checks in at 4-foot-9 and 140 pounds, gave the Owls program four valuable seasons of work. The senior finished his college football journey in memorable fashion on Wednesday night, earning a fourth-quarter carry in Rice’s 30-6 victory over Fresno State in the Hawaii Bowl.
Carter, who was born with a genetic disorder that slowed his growth, bounced to the outside on an inside zone carry late in the fourth quarter. He picked up two yards on the play, absorbing a big hit on the sideline. It was just his second career carry -- the first came in a game against UTEP last season -- and a fitting ending to a four-year career that saw Carter make many contributions to the Owls’ program, primarily on the scout team.
“My stature may not be the tallest,” Carter said. “But when it comes to lifting, I can do what everyone else does. I can bench 315 [pounds]; I can power clean 230. I’m on equal footing.”
Coaches have long raved about Carter’s ability to make teammates forget about his diminutive size during practice.
“If they ever come up with a device that measures heart and put it on top of my head,” he told The Houston Chronicle in 2011, “they’ll see I’m 6-9.”
That determination has made Carter a meaningful member of the program during what might be Rice’s most successful stretch ever. The Owls have now been to three straight bowl games for the first time in their history, and Wednesday’s resounding win matched the program’s biggest postseason margin of victory.
“We started in January when it was below 32 degrees out running sprints, and now we’re here,” Carter said. “We went all out.”
Carter might even have a leg up on the competition in the future: He’s graduating in May with a degree in computer science and already has a job lined up as a software engineer.