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Haugabook, Troy rip Rice for first bowl win

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Omar Haugabook was Troy's postseason star, too.

The Sun Belt player of the year threw four touchdown passes and ran for another score to lead Troy to its first bowl victory, 41-17 over Rice on Friday night in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl.

It was only the second bowl appearance for the Trojans (8-5), who moved up to Division I-A in 2002. Troy earned the bowl bid with its first Sun Belt title.

Haugabook, the unanimous MVP of the game, completed 14 of 28 for 217 yards. He also picked up 92 of Troy's 148 yards.

"It was a real good game for me," Haugabook said. "At any given time we can put up points real fast."

Rice (7-6), coming off its first winning season since 1993, and making its first bowl appearance since 1961, was seeking its first postseason victory since 1954. The Conference USA representative was favored going into the game but could not cope with the Trojans' defense.

Rice's Joel Armstrong, pressured all night, was intercepted five times and sacked four times. He completed 35 of 54 passes for 305 yards and a touchdown.

"As a quarterback the main thing you have to do is take care of the ball, and I did a horrible job," Armstrong said.

Rice receiver Jarett Dillard kept his touchdown streak alive. He caught a 1-yard TD pass in the fourth quarter to stretch the streak to 15 games, dating to last season. His 13-game touchdown streak this season set an NCAA record, breaking the mark of 12 set by Randy Moss in 1997 and matched by Larry Fitzgerald in 2003.

Troy, which averaged 21 points a game this year, was up 21-7 after the first quarter.

"We had a lot of confusion tonight," Rice coach Todd Graham said. "We just gave up the big play and that really hurt us."

On the first possession, Mykeal Terry's 40-yard reception put the Trojans on Rice's 1. Three plays later, Haugabook's 2-yard touchdown run put Troy on the scoreboard.

Minutes later, Armstrong's first pass attempt of the game was intercepted by Boris Lee, who took it back 22 yards to the Rice 1. Haugabook put the Trojans up 14-0 with a 3-yard scoring pass to Gary Banks.

Armstrong's 11-yard TD pass to Mike Falco cut Troy's lead to 14-7.

Haugabook stretched the Trojans' first-quarter margin with a 56-yard touchdown pass to Terry.

After Rice's 43-yard field goal in the second quarter, Haugabook hit Andrew Davis with a 7-yard touchdown pass to put Troy up 28-10 at halftime.

"They basically at the beginning played a lot of man and wanted to be aggressive with us," Haugabook said. "But once we burned them a couple of times deep they started backing off."

The only score in the third quarter was a 25-yard field goal that boosted Troy's lead to 31-10. Kicker Greg Whibbs made it 34-10 in the fourth quarter with a 28-yarder.

Haugabook closed out the scoring with a 5-yard TD pass to Toris Rutledge.

It was the first bowl game played in the Superdome since Hurricane Katrina devastated the city. The New Orleans Bowl was played in Lafayette last year.