Aug 31, 2013
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Rice University football reached the end zone on each of its first two possessions to take a pair of seven-point leads before No. 7 Texas A&M found its rhythm to take a lead and claim a 52-31 win over the Owls in the season opener for both teams on Saturday afternoon in front of 86,686 fans at Kyle Field.
Charles Ross shouldered the brunt of the ground attack for the visitors, carrying the ball 20 times for a game-high 107 yards and a pair of scores. It was the senior's fifth 100-yard effort of his career. The Owls amassed a total of 304 yards on the ground with a 5.7 yards per carry average against the Aggies, including a career-long 57-yard scamper by quarterback Taylor McHargue.
Making his fourth season-opening start, McHargue completed 18-of-30 passes for 182 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He added 76 yards on nine carries as well.
Once the Owls claimed a 14-7 advantage, the Aggies regrouped to score 21 unanswered points in the second quarter to gain the lead for good.
Trailing 28-14 late in the first half, McHargue connected with Jordan Taylor to pull the Owls back within seven points. On the ensuing kickoff, the Owls forced a fumble and recovered it with just enough time to attempt a long field goal and cement a momentum swing. The kick sailed wide right, however, and Rice was unable to pull any closer than the 28-21 halftime deficit.
Taylor caught seven passes for 69 yards and a score, while Connor Cella added 53 yards on four catches.
Starting in place of suspended 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, quarterback Matt Joeckel put together a solid first half with 191 passing yards on 14-of-19 completions. Manziel made his sophomore debut in the second half, completing 7-of-9 passes for 103 yards and four touchdowns and rushing six times for 18 yards.
Rice has next Saturday off before hosting Kansas on Sept. 14 in the home opener. The 6:30 p.m. contest will air on CBS Sports Network.
Check back to RiceOwls.com later for a complete recap.