Jackson Tyner threw for 243 yards and pair of touchdowns while running back Emmanuel Esukpa powered his way for 165 yards on 17 carries to lead the Blue (offense) to a 27-24 win over the Gray (defense), in Rice's annual Blue-Gray Spring game at Rice Stadium on Saturday.
After the defense held sway in the early going, Tyner hit Esukpa on a swing pass out the backfield for a five-yard touchdown to put the Blues on the scoreboard.
Tyner later found Rhett Cardwell in stride cutting across the middle and the walk-on receiver from Houston Kinkaid raced to the end zone for a 65-yard score to cut the Gray lead to 21-14 before halftime.
In the second half, the Blues pulled to within one on field goals of 43 yards by Haden Tobola and 37 yards by Jack Fox before Esukpa gave them the lead for good by blasting up the middle for a 45-yard touchdown.
The Blue-Gray game was delayed one week due to the passing of Rice defensive lineman Blain Padgett before the start of spring drills and the team honored him before the game with a moment of silence. The members of the 2017 senior class were presented their framed jersey at halftime of the game.
Final exams begin on Monday at Rice and after a short vacation, the Owls will return to campus for summer classes and summer conditioning. They return to the practice field at the start of August in advance of the 2018 opener against Prairie View on August 25.
Rice Spring Game Stats
Blue (Offense) 27
Gray (Defense) 24
Passing: Jackson Tyner 22-40-1 243 yards, 2 TDs; Robbie Blosser 2-2, 6 yards
Rushing: Emmanuel Esukpa 17-165, 1 TD; Austin Walter 14-71; Aston Walter 17-54 yards.
Receiving: Rhett Cardwell, 7 catches for 123 yards and 1 TD; Austin Trammell 5 catches for 52 yards; Cameron Johnson 2 catches for 29 yards; Jaeger Bull 2 catches for 17 yards.
Scoring Summary (Offense only)
Emmanuel Esukpa 5-yard pass from Jackson Tyner
Rhett Cardwell 65-yard pass from Tyner
Haden Tobola 43-yd field goal
Jack Fox 37-yard field goal
Emmanuel Esukpa 45-yard run.