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Friday, September 30, 2022 — Houston, TX

Saturday's Sports Update : Despite the final score, football stays with the Longhorns

By Teddy Grodek     9/2/10 7:00pm

While the scoreboard did not necessarily go their way, it was still a good day to be an Owl on Saturday.The football team kicked off their season on Saturday at Reliant Stadium against the University of Texas, ranked 5th in the nation. Over 70,000 filled the stadium, making it the most-highly attended Rice season opener since 1961.

Redshirt freshmen Taylor McHargue got the starting nod at quarterback and lead the Owls down the field on a 57-yard drive to set up a Chris Boswell 42-yard field goal. It was the only score of the quarter, as the Owls forced a huge turnover on downs on a Texas goal line stand at Rice's own five yard line.

McHargue threw an interception just as time was running out in the first quarter in Rice territory to set up the first Longhorn score of the day, a field goal from 51 yards that tied the game at 3-3. Rice would drive down the field once again, only to be stopped at their own 30 yard line. This drive left a 48-yard field goal attempt for Boswell, who missed it to the right.



From this missed field goal, Texas would make their first substantial drive of the game, going 69 yards in nine plays to punch the ball across the goal line at the one.

Rice would regain possession, only for McHargue to fumble deep inside Rice territory, his second turnover of the day. Texas linebacker Keenan Robinson picked up the fumble for a touchdown.

Rice went four and out on its next possession to set up another long Texas drive, capped by a 31-yard pass by Garret Gilbert over the middle of the field. The Longhorns once again punched the ball in from the Owls one yard line to go up 24-3.

Rice regained possession with a little over a minute to play and moved the ball up to their own forty off off a Texas personal foul. This set up a 47-yard pass over the middle to WR Randy Kitchens, who was trailing after the pass was intended for TE Vance McDonald and grabbed the ball off the tip. He dragged his Texas defender the last ten yards to dive just barely into the endzone. After the Boswell extra point, the score was 24-10.

Both defenses came out ready to play in the third quarter, as neither team scored until a UT scored a touchdown off a one-yard run with 3:42 remaining. Texas missed two long field goal opportunities over the course of the quarter, giving Rice favorable field position. Neither team capitalized on scoring opportunities for the remainder of the quarter.

The fourth quarter started with a Rice drive that left the Owls just outside field goal range. The ensuing drive from Texas brought another big goal line stop for the Owls and another field goal for Texas, brining the score to 34-10, the largest margin of the game.

The Longhorns forced Rice to punt on the Owls' next drive. However, Texas mishandled the punt which gave rice the ball deep inside Texas territory. Nick Fanuzzi, who had come into the game at quarterback, found WR Luke Willson on a 13-yard pass to set up RB Charles Ross' two yard TD run. The extra point kicked by Boswell left the final score at 34-17.

Texas Quarterback Garrett Gilbert led the game passing with 172 yards, while Rice QB McHargue had 90. McHargue did have the only passing TD of the game. WR Randy Kitchens led the Owls' receiving core for 53 yards and a TD.

Transfer RB Sam McGuffie led the Owls with 47 net rushing yards on 14 carries in his Rice debut. Junior RB Tyler Smith contributed 46 yards on 11 carries.

"I thought we went toe to toe with a giant and finished that game strong and finished it hard," Head Coach David Bailiff said. "I'm really pleased that our freshman quarterback came out and played and effectively moved the offense.



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