Big Plays Spell Doom for Owls
Rice dealt first Conference USA loss
Oct. 31, 2013
DENTON, Texas - Despite out-gaining North Texas by 102 yards on offense, Rice University football saw its five-game winning streak snapped in a 28-16 setback on Thursday night at Apogee Stadium.
The Owls (6-3, 4-1) brought an eight-game Conference USA winning streak into the contest and looked to remain perfect in league action in 2013, but four big scoring plays and one monster goal-line stand by the Mean Green (6-3, 4-1) proved to be the difference.
Taylor McHargue connected for a pair of touchdown tosses in the first half, including a 21-yard strike with Turner Petersen and then the senior found Jordan Taylor behind coverage for a 32-yard score to put the Owls ahead 16-7. The tosses gave McHargue 38 touchdown passes in his career, moving him past Tommy Kramer and into a tie with Randy Hertel for the second-most in program history.
McHargue completed 18-of-28 passes for 222 yards and the pair of scores on the night. Taylor led the receiving corps with 71 yards on five catches. Donte Moore set a season high with 52 yards on five receptions.
Big returns marked the first half for North Texas, as the Mean Green returned a fumble 55 yards for a score and brought back a 65-yard punt return. In between, NT notched its lone offensive score of the half on a 42-yard rush as the home team staked a 21-16 lead at the intermission.
NT would score once more on a 46-yard pass in the third quarter to seal the win and bowl eligibility. The Owls were shut out in the second half for the second time in 2013.
Julius White led the Rice defense with a season-high nine tackles. Phillip Gaines added an interception in the fourth quarter, his third of the season.
Charles Ross notched his fifth 100-yard rushing game in seven starts this season with 101 yards on 18 carries.
Rice takes a long break before returning home to host Lousiana Tech on Nov. 16. The Homecoming contest is set to kick off at 6 p.m. at Rice Stadium and will be broadcast nationally on CBS Sports Network.