Nov. 5, 2011
Rice captains for the UTEP game were LB Justin Allen, DB Travis Bradshaw, QB Nick Fanuzzi and RB Tyler Smith. Rice won the toss and deferred to the second half. It was just the second time this season Rice won the pregame coin toss, the other was against Baylor on the road in Waco.
Rice amassed 671 total yards of offense, third-most in school history. The Owls had a record 733 yards at Louisiana Tech in 2003 and 700 yards against Tulsa in 2007. The Owls had 475 yards last week against Houston.
The Owls' 449 passing yards is a season high. Last week the Owls established a season standard for rushing yards against Houston with 359.
Rice quarterback Nick Fanuzzi completed 30-of-43 passes for 405 yards, establishing new career standards. In his previous career performance, he passed for 276 yards, completing 27-of-43 attempts last year against SMU. Fanuzzi established the new career-yard mark with a 51-yard pass to Taylor Cook that put him at 316 yards for the game at the time. Also against UTEP, Fanuzzi tied a career mark with three touchdown passes.
Turner Petersen capped the Owls' first offensive series with a 44-yard touchdown run, a career long for the sophomore.
Rice has now scored on its opening drive the last two weeks. Chris Boswell drilled a career-long, 51-yard field goal to cap the Owls' opening drive last week at Houston. Petersen's 44-yard scoring jaunt against UTEP capped a four-play, 75-yard drive.
Late in the first quarter, the Owls engineered a 14-play drive which culminated in a 37-yard field goal to start the second quarter. The series represented the longest drive of the season in terms of plays for Rice.
Klein Kubiak's 25-yard reception in the second quarter was a career long. On the same Rice scoring drive in the second quarter, Jordan Taylor caught his first career pass as an Owl (four yards). Taylor would later catch a six-yard touchdown pass.
Vance McDonald caught a 25-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter which gave the Owls a 27-24 lead. McDonald's touchdown reception was the 13th of his career, tying him for sixth on the Rice all-time list with Buddy Dial (156-58), Froggy Williams (1946-49) and Toren Dixon (2006-09).
McDonald's 157 receiving yards (eight receptions) established a new career high. He had 103 receiving yards against Tulane during the 2010 season.
Tyler Smith set new career receiving standards, catching eight passes for 74 yards. He also rushed for 89 yards on 19 carries (4.7 per game).
Taylor Cook had his first multi-reception game for the Owls, catching three passes for 89 yards, both new career marks. Cook's 51-yard reception in the fourth quarter highlighted an eight-play, 83-yard drive that put the Owls up 34-31 with 7:59 to play.
Bryce Callahan intercepted his fourth and fifth passes of the season, the second ending a UTEP drive with 6:37 to play. Callahan, who had a pick last week against Houston, entered the game ranked second nationally among freshmen with nine passes defended.
Callahan's five interceptions ties for the most picks by a Rice defender since Andrew Sendejo intercepted five passes during the 2007 season.
Justin Allen's quarterback sack resulting in a 10-yard loss was the senior's eighth tackle for loss this season. Later in the game he had a second tackle for loss. Allen's nine TFLs in 2011 is the most by a Rice linebacker since Brian Raines had 10 during the 2007 season.
Chris Boswell's two field goals (37 & 23 yards), gives him 14 this season and 25 for his career. Boswell takes sole possession of third on the Rice season chart with his 14. Mark Williams (1972) ranks second in season field goals with 15. Boswell's 25 career field goals ranks fifth all-time. Derek Crabtree (1998-2001) ranks fourth all-time with 27.