Rice starting defensive tackle Stuart Mouchantaf suffered a setback in his knee rehabilitation and will miss the 2014 season, Owls coach David Bailiff announced Thursday.
Mouchantaf started eight games at defensive tackle alongside Christian Covington, recording 33 tackles, before suffering a season-ending knee injury against UTEP on Oct. 26. The Owls did go on to win its first outright conference championship since 1957, beating Marshall by a 41-24 score in the Conference USA title game and recording the program's first 10-win season in 49 years.
"This is a tough blow because we were excited about having Christian and `Mooch' back together this season," Bailiff said in a school release. "Dylan Klare, Ross Winship and Cody Henessee all stepped up after he was hurt last season, so we will obviously depend on them heavily this year and I know Chris Thurmond and his defensive staff will look at some other options before we open camp in August."
After the season, David Bailiff was a five-year contract extension.
Rice will open the 2014 season on Aug. 30 at Notre Dame.