So close, but so far. Rice held only a three-point deficit going into halftime of its conference matchup game against the University of Texas at San Antonio, but, due to untimely miscues in the second half, came up short in their 20-7 loss to the Roadrunners. The Owls fell to 1-6 overall and 1-2 in Conference USA play after their loss on Saturday.
The Owls lost the turnover battle, throwing two interceptions, including a pick-six, and losing one fumble in while the Roadrunners had just one giveaway. UTSA capitalized on the Owls’ carelessness, scoring 14 points off Rice turnovers. On the first drive of the second half, with the Owls only down 10-7, Glaesmann was intercepted by UTSA sophomore Clayton Johnson on a throw intended for Cephus. According to freshman quarterback Sam Glaesemann, the error was on him.
“I know Cephus had been making big plays, so I wanted to get the ball into his hands,” Glaesmann said. “But I shouldn’t have gone off script and should have stuck with what the coaches told me to do.”
The Roadrunners promptly drove 55 yards down the field and scored a touchdown on a 26-yard pass, turning a 10-7 halftime lead into a 17-7 margin. UTSA managed to score just three more points, but it was enough to down Rice.
While the scoreline paints a picture of a blowout, there were some bright spots for the Owls. With defensive end and senior Graysen Schantz out for the season due to injury, senior Brian Womac had to fill his shoes. Womac wore Schantz’s number, 94, on his face during the game as a way to honor his teammate. Womac said it was tough to see his teammate’s career come to an end.
“It was a really emotional week leading up to the game,” Womac said. “I had to step up for the team and increase my play,” Womac said.
Womac posted a career day, recording nine tackles and three sacks. Though the Owls couldn’t come away with a win for their injured teammate, Womac and the defense showed they could still put pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
On the offensive side of the ball, redshirt freshman wide receiver Aaron Cephus had his first 100-plus yard game, posting two catches for 105 yards and a touchdown. Glaesmann said Cephus has impressed with his performance in his first season.
“It’s exciting to see how passionate he is on the sideline and on the field,” Glaesmann said. “It’s definitely a relief for me, knowing that I have that kind of outlet at the receiving position on the outside. It’s very exciting to see him grow from freshman year on and exciting to know that I’ll have him throughout the rest of my years here at Rice.”
Unfortunately, the individual efforts of Womac and Cephus were not enough to propel Rice to a victory. The Owls only managed to score seven points and posted only 155 yards of rushing compared to UTSA’s 314. Head coach David Bailiff said the offense needs to improve if the team wants to win in the future.
“We as coaches have got to figure out a way offensively to score points and eliminate the mistakes we are making,” Bailiff said. “We continue to have self-inflicted wounds that stall drives.”
While Baillif praised his team’s defensive effort, he also said that football requires both offense and defense to play well.
“We can’t have our offense giving up points when the defense isn’t on the field,” Bailiff said.
The Owls have a chance to put together an improved offensive performance and bounce back in their next game against Louisiana Tech University on Oct. 28 at 2:30 p.m. in Rice Stadium.