Rice hands UTSA first loss of season, 34-14
HOUSTON — Charles Ross rushed for 117 of Rice’s season-high 301 yards and the Owls handed UTSA its first loss of the season, 34-14, on Saturday before 28,677 fans at Rice Stadium.
Rice (2-5), which rolled up 214 of its rushing yards in the second half, used the ground game to snap the Roadrunners’ (5-1) program-record six-game winning streak dating back to the final contest of the 2011 campaign.
Ross needed just 16 carries to accumulate his season-best total, while quarterback Taylor McHargue added 68 and a pair of touchdowns on only seven attempts.
The Owls compiled an opponent season-high 483 yards on 81 plays (58 rush/23 pass) and held UTSA to a season-low 239 and 13 first downs.
“Rice played very well today," UTSA head coach Larry Coker said. "We’ve been able to create turnovers all season, but we really weren’t able to do that today. Give them credit because they took care of the football and made some plays while we weren’t. We had a tough time stopping their running game and they rushed for over 300 yards. You’re not going to win many games that way."A pair of first-quarter Chris Boswell field goals staked Rice to a 6-0 lead and it marked the first time the Roadrunners trailed after the first stanza in eight games (3-0, at McNeese State, Nov. 12, 2011).
The Owls used a trick play to extend their lead to 13 when Luke Turner took a pitch on a lateral and threw downfield to Donte Moore, who snagged the ball near the right sideline for a 38-yard touchdown reception.
After starting QB Eric Soza was forced out of the game for a series with an injury with 10 minutes left in the second quarter, Ryan Polite came on in relief and led the Roadrunners on the final 14 plays of a 16-play, 87-yard scoring drive that was capped by a 20-yard field goal by Kristian Stern.
Rice opened the second half with a 12-play, 75-yard drive — all of which came on the ground — that resulted in a 1-yard scoring plunge by Turner Peterson, which made it 20-3.
After a 44-yard TD scamper by McHargue pushed the lead to 24, Soza found David Glasco II in the flat on a screen pass and he raced 36 yards to paydirt. A pass interference call on the initial two-point conversion attempt gave UTSA a second try and Glasco II found the end zone to pull the Roadrunners to within 16 at 27-11 with 5:30 remaining in the third stanza.
Erik Brown then picked off his team-leading fourth pass of the year and Stern drilled a 35-yard field goal to draw UTSA to within 27-14 with a little more than a quarter left to play. It marked the UTSA's 12th score off 17 opponent turnovers this season.
Rice put the game away with an 11-play, 72-yard scoring drive that was finished off with a 3-yard option keeper by McHargue.
Soza finished 10-for-23 for 113 yards and a TD, while Glasco II had team highs of 41 receiving yards and 32 rushing yards.
Meanwhile, Brandon Reeves led the Roadrunners with 12 tackles (six solos), while Steven Kurfehs, Nic Johnston and Triston Wade added nine apiece.
"I told our team, 'It’s not about what happens to you, it’s what you do about what happens to you,'" Coker said. "We’ve got to get in the film room, correct some things, grow up and press on."
Saturday was the first meeting between the two schools and UTSA will join Rice as a member of Conference USA next fall.
The Roadrunners return home next Saturday, Oct. 20, to host San Jose State (4-2, 0-1 WAC) for Homecoming. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. and the game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN3.