Oct. 8, 2011
Rice's defense provided all the points the team would need, while their offensive mates added three additional scores as the Owls downed Memphis 28-6 at Rice Stadium on Saturday to post their fifth consecutive win at home.
The Owls held the Tigers (1-5) to a pair of field goals and then used a pair of stops to allow their fewest points in a game since they blanked UNLV 38-0 in the opening game of the 1995 campaign. It was also the fewest points they have allowed in seven seasons as members of Conference USA. They held Marshall to 10 points in a 38-10 win at Rice Stadium in 2008.
"I'm proud of the defensive coaches, proud of the execution, and how hard those kids played," Rice head coach David Bailiff said. "They bent a couple of times, but didn't break even after a turnover when they were already in field goal range and made them settle for a field goal.
After the Owls took a 14-3 lead into the locker room at halftime, junior defensive end Jared Williams broke the game open in the third, returning a deflected pass 47-yards to tally Rice's second defensive touchdown in as many weeks.
Rice safety Paul Porras blitzed Memphis quarterback Taylor Reed on the play, making contact as the ball was released. Williams plucked the ball out of the air and burst past the Tigers' line to score his first career touchdown.
"It felt great", Williams said. "I played a lot of offense in high school so when you see that ball in the air you want to take it and it all comes back to you. It felt great to be in the end zone again with your team all around you. As coach said, it was a big momentum builder for the team coming into the second half."
Senior Tyler Smith provided the offensive spark for the Owls, rushing for a season-high 97 yards on 14 carries. It was Smith's most productive outing since he closed the 2009 season with back-to-back, 100-yard rushing efforts.
Rice opened the scoring late in the first quarter when Turner Petersen scored the first of two, one-yard touchdowns to cap a nine-play, 69-yard drive that was highlighted by a 31-yard romp up the sidelines by Smith.
The Owls offense would be held scoreless on their next four possessions, while Memphis closed the score to 7-3 before Rice mounted an 11-play drive over the final two minutes to push the advantage to 14-3 at intermission. Taylor McHargue found Luke Willson in the end zone for a 15-yard score, one of five passes Willson would catch on the day. McHargue threw for 170 yards and a score, completing 15 of 22 with a pair of interceptions.
Williams took center stage on the Tigers' second possession of the second half to extend the lead to 21-3 and match his roommate, Xavier Webb in the defensive scoring category. Webb returned a fumble 96 yards for a score last week at Southern Miss.
The Owls' defense, which had given up 104 points in the previous two games, kept the Tigers out of the end zone on the strength of 10 tackles for loss, including a season-high five sacks. Both of Williams tackles on the day were for losses.
Senior defensive end Scott Solomon led the defenders with a pair of stops behind the line, including one sack and he also recovered a fumble on a sack by Cameron Nwosu at the Rice 24 to thwart a late Memphis scoring threat. The two tackles for loss moved Solomon into fourth on the Rice career list, one ahead of Matt Sign. His sack moved him to within one of passing ND Kalu for second on the Owls career sack list.
The Owls will return to the road next week when they travel to Huntington, WW to face Marshall at 2:05 (central) next Saturday. They will be back at Rice Stadium in two weeks to host Tulsa as part of Rice Families Weekend. Game time has not been set, pending final work from Fox Sports, who will televise the game nationally.
Rice and LSU Return to the Gridiron in 2018
01/07/2016 - Rice and LSU, two schools whose annual September meeting was a Gulf Coast staple for over 50 years, will return to the gridiron for the first time...
Boswell Named AFC Special Team Player of the Month
01/07/2016 - Former Rice standout Chris Boswell, who has smashed team rookie kicking records after joining the Pittsburgh Steelers in October, was named the...
Phil Steele Honors Reue, Lyons and Farrimond
12/17/2015 - Andrew Reue, Alex Lyons and James Farrimond have been named to Phil Steele’s 2015 Postseason All Conference USA squad which was announced on ...
C-USA Names Four Owls to All-Freshman Team
12/08/2015 - First year players Justin Bickham, Parker Smith, Samuel Stewart and Austin Walter have been named to the 2015 C-USA Football All-Freshman team as...
Reue Named All C-USA
12/08/2015 - Senior offensive lineman Andrew Reue, who started at four different positions along the offensive line for the Owls this season, has been named to ...
Dillard Named to C-USA All-Academic Team
12/03/2015 - Rice junior running back Darik Dillard, who lead the Owls in rushing in 2015 in addition to setting an NCAA record for career combined touchdowns...
Brigance to Receive NCAA 2016 NCAA Inspiration ...
12/01/2015 - Former student-athletes Lauren Hill and O.J. Brigance are the 2016 NCAA Inspiration Award recipients. They will be recognized as Inspiration...
Second Half Surge Sends Seniors Out With Win
11/28/2015 - With 30 minutes remaining in their college careers, faced with a scoreless first half and the prospect of ending the season with five consecutive...
- Top Videos /
- Online Store