SAN ANTONIO — Rice jumped out to a 27-7 lead and then held off a fourth-quarter comeback by UTSA on Saturday en route to a 27-21 victory in front of 25,272 fans at the Alamodome.
The Roadrunners (2-5, 1-2 C-USA) scored 14 points in the fourth quarter, as the Owls (4-2, 3-0 C-USA) were held scoreless over the final 24:48 of the contest.
UTSA struck quickly on its opening possession in the final stanza with a 12-play, 78-yard drive that was capped off by a 1-yard rushing touchdown by Eric Soza. The drive was highlighted by a 19-yard pass from Soza to Brandon Freeman and a 23-yard reverse by Seth Grubb, which pushed the Roadrunners to the Rice 3-yard line.
Following back-to-back scoreless drives by both teams, UTSA had a 13-play, 76-yard scoring march into the end zone that was culminated by Soza's 1-yard quarterback sneak, which cut Rice's lead down to six points at 27-21.
UTSA’s rally fell short when Jordan Taylor recovered the ensuing onside kick with 1:24 remaining.
The Owls finished with 340 yards of total offense and were held to 157 rushing yards, their lowest total of the season.
UTSA's defense was led by Nic Johnston, who finished with nine tackles, and Triston Wade added eight.
The Roadrunners racked up 434 yards on offense, including a season-high 264 on the ground.
Soza completed 17-of-31 passes for 170 yards and added a team-high 85 yards and two touchdowns on 17 rushes, while David Glasco II added 78 and a score on 14 carries.
Meanwhile, Taylor McHargue completed just nine passes in 21 attempts, but they went for 183 yards and a TD and he added another 41 and a touchdown on the ground. Taylor led Rice with 61 yards on four catches, while Charles Ross rushed for 59 yards on 11 carries.
Rice opened up the scoring on its second drive of the game with Chris Boswell's 49-yard field goal and the lead increased to six when Boswell drilled another field goal in the second quarter, this time from 28 yards.
Glasco II capped a five-play, 85-yard march to paydirt with his 1-yard plunge on the following possession, which gave the Roadrunners a short-lived 7-6 advantage.
However, the Owls capitalized on a muffed punt return at the UTSA 16 and reclaimed the lead when Darik Dillard scored from four yards out three plays later.
McHargue later connected with Dennis Parks on a 37-yard touchdown pass and Rice took a 20-7 lead into the locker room.
The advantage swelled to 20 in the third quarter when McHargue finished off a nine-play, 66-yard drive with a 6-yard rush into the end zone.
UTSA will return to action in two weeks when it hosts UAB (2-4, 1-1 C-USA) in its annual homecoming contest.