Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Wednesday, May 22, 2024 — Houston, TX

Pur-don't! Rice blocks last-second field goal to win

By Teddy Grodek     9/14/11 7:00pm

 

The football team, which was once a member of the now-defunct Southwest Conference, arguably the best football conference in the country for a period of time, has fallen on hard times lately against teams with realistic hopes of playing in a national championship game.

Prior to last Saturday, the football team's win over Duke 10 years ago – three years before the launch of Facebook – had been the last time it had defeated a team from a major Bowl Championship Series conference. Fourteen years have passed since Rice had last defeated a Big 10 team, when it had eked out a win against Northwestern University during the Bill Clinton impeachment scandal. Needless to say, the team was due for success – any kind of success – and it finally found some last Saturday.



When Purdue University (1-1) came into Rice Stadium last Saturday after narrowly scraping out a win against Middle Tennessee State University on a blocked kick, it was widely considered the worst team in the Big 10 Conference. Rice, after a disappointing performance against the University of Texas, knew that if there was a chance for a non-conference win, this face-off was it.

Rice came out to play from the opening kickoff, spurred on by the large opening-day crowd at the normally quiet Rice Stadium.

Much like last week, sophomore place-kicker Chris Boswell was the first to put the Owls on the scoreboard, converting a 33-yard field goal to move the Owls ahead 3-0. However, Purdue responded with a touchdown from a five-yard rush by quarterback Caleb TerBush.

Sophomore running back Turner Petersen thrust the Owls into the end zone on their next drive after doing everything to move the ball down the field and into scoring position. After catching a 30-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Taylor McHargue, Petersen capped the drive off with a two-yard touchdown run.

Purdue answered with 10 more points, leaving McHargue mere with mere minutes until the end of the half. He found junior tight end Luke Willson in the corner of the end zone in the closing ticks to tie the game.

After halftime, Rice erupted out of the locker room with McHargue leading the Owls on another long scoring drive capped off with a pass to junior running back Sam McGuffie.

"Coming into the second half, we did a great job of setting the tempo," McHargue said. "When we moved the ball today, it was because of the tempo. We'd hurry up and try to get them on their heels. As long as we were moving, as long as the tempo was up, they were on their heels."

Despite a Purdue field goal, Rice was still up 24-17 with the ball in possession until junior running back Charles Ross was tackled in the Rice end zone, giving Purdue two points and the ball.

One more Purdue field goal in the fourth quarter sent the point difference to two with only minutes left on the clock. After forcing Rice to punt, Purdue entered field goal position during the closing moments of the game.

With the Purdue field goal team on the field, it looked like it would be a heartbreaker for the Owls. However, senior linebacker Justin Allen had other ideas as he rushed past the Biolermakers' offensive line to get a hand in the way of the ball, ensuring that it would never travel through the uprights.

Rice players stormed the field, ecstatic over the narrow victory. As one of the biggest Rice victories in years, it was truly a memorable moment for Head Coach David Bailiff.

"I've been responsible for part of [the streak] for five years," Bailiff said. "Some of the players have been responsible for six weeks of it. I'm glad it's over because the thing I found is that more people [outside the program] talk about it than we do. It's nice not to have to worry about it. I've always believed since we've got here that we're in the process of building a real fine program."

McHargue had his best game ever, throwing for 230 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. McGuffie looked good in his true season debut, carrying the ball nine times with an average of 5.3 yards per carry.

This week, the Owls will enjoy a bye-week before traveling to Waco to take on Baylor University (1-0) on Sept. 24.



More from The Rice Thresher

SPORTS 5/4/24 2:36pm
Rice’s Luke McCaffrey selected by Commanders in NFL Draft

The Washington Commanders selected Rice wide receiver Luke McCaffrey with the 100th overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.  McCaffrey was the final pick in the third round, as well as the final pick on the second day of the draft. He’ll compete for a prominent role in the wide receiver room, potentially slotting in as their starting slot receiver alongside Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson.

SPORTS 4/16/24 10:54pm
MMA and milk miles: Rice students engage with sports

It’s not uncommon to find yourself walking to Reckling Park to watch the baseball team or to the recreational fields to play soccer. However, Division I and intramural sports are only a sliver of what the greater Rice community takes part in. From cricket to mixed martial arts to milk miles (yes, milk miles), students engage in a variety of sports that are a testament to their past pastimes, new endeavors and the need to destress. 


Comments

Please note All comments are eligible for publication by The Rice Thresher.