Oct. 12, 2013
SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Rice University football built a large first half lead and remained perfect in Conference USA play with a 27-21 win at UTSA on Saturday at the Alamodome. The Owls are 3-0 in league play for the first time since joining the conference in 2005.
Senior running back Charles Ross returned to action for the first time since sustaining an injust on Sept. 21 and led Rice with 59 yards on 11 carries, including a 34-yarder.
Quarterback Taylor McHargue added 41 yards on 10 carries and passed for 183 yards and a score as well in the win. His favorite target was Jordan Taylor, who caught four passes for 61 yards in the win.
Rice moved the ball well on three of its first four drives, but came away with just six points on a pair of Chris Boswell field goals in the opening 20-plus minutes of action.
The Owls (4-2, 3-0 C-USA) then responded to a UTSA (2-5, 1-2) touchdown by reaching the end zone on its final two possessions of the half to take a 20-7 lead into halftime. Darik Dillard carried the ball in from four yards out for his third score in as many games and then Dennis Parks hauled in a 37-yard strike from McHargue in the final minute of the half.
Coming out of the break, Rice extended its lead to 27-7 on a McHargue six-yard run.
From there, UTSA found its footing and began to rally. Quarterback Eric Soza scored himself from a yard out twice in the fourth quarter. His second touchdown run pulled the home team within 27-21 with 1:24 remaining in regulation, but Taylor recovered the ensuing onside kick attempt and the Owls ran out the clock from there.
James Radcliffe led Rice with 10 tackles, while Michael Kutzler and Julius White added eight each. The Owl defense made eight tackles behind the line of scrimmage, led by 1.5 by Stuart Mouchantaf.
The win keeps Rice in a tie for first place in the C-USA West with Tulane. It was the team's seventh-straight conference win and fourth C-USA road win in a row. The 4-2 record marks the best start to a season since 2001.
Rice wraps up its three-game road trip with its final non-conference game of the season next Saturday at New Mexico State. Kickoff in La Cruces is set for 7 p.m. CT.