UTSA rolled into Houston this weekend undefeated with a perfect 5-0 record holding thoughts of extending a 4-game losing streak by the Owls.
But being undefeated against a schedule of teams who are just a combined 4-28 thus far through the season wasn't enough for the Roadrunners to have a chance at beating the Owls. The step up in competition, regardless of Rice's 2012 record was obvious from the beginning.
Rice controlled the game from the onset and cruised past a Larry Coker led UTSA squad 34-14 on a Centennial celebration day that also saw former Rice QB Tommy Kramer officially receive his College Football Hall of Fame induction plaque from former Texas A&M AD Bill Byrne, a Director for the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame.
The Owls certainly didn't overwhelm UTSA with firepower, instead choosing a more methodical strategy of destruction: a grinding ground attack. Though conservative for a Spread Offense, the scheme worked against an over-matched Roadrunner Defense as Rice rolled up 301 rushing yards.
San Antonio native Charles Ross led the way with a career high 117 yards, including a 33 yard bolt. Taylor McHargue added 68 yards, most of that coming on a 44 yard TD run in the 3rd quarter.
Rice improves to 2-5 on the season and travels to Tulsa next Saturday for a C-USA game.
- Owl Defensive Coordinator Chris Thurmond's Defense has limited Rice's last two opponents to 14 points apiece and an average of 242 yards.
- Rice was penalized 7 times for 62 yards Saturday in one of the more poorly officiated games I've seen this year.
- Freshman Running Back Brandon Hamilton had a career high 53 yards on 11 carries, mostly between the tackles.
- Though it didn't have an impact on the outcome of the game, Taylor McHargue's interception toss to UTSA CB Erik Brown was a head scratcher. In an obvious miscommunication between QB and WR, the pass intended for Dennis Parks was floated towards the Owl near sideline with Brown seemingly being the intended target.
- Speaking of Brown, the Fresno State transfer had a lot of friends to get re-acquainted with after the game. Brown attended graded school through his junior year of high school with Converse Judson teammate and Rice Cornerback Phillip Gaines. In a strange coincidence, he transferred to Scottsdale, Arizona for his senior year, where he was a teammate of Owl Safety Paul Porras on the State Champion team at Scottsdale Saguaro High School.
- The Rice Offensive Line had a good day Saturday. With Ian Gray getting the start at Right Tackle for an injured Caleb Williams, the big boys up front didn't allow a sack while paving the way for a 5.2 yards per carry rushing average.
- The Owls wore "throwback" uniforms Saturday as part of the Centennial Celebration. Now that they're 1-0 wearing them I wonder if we'll see them again? I've also been a fan of the gray face-masks they wore Saturday. Now that we know they have them, wonder if we'll ever see those paired with gray pants this year? The team has been dressed more in blue and "white" for several years now, rather than the official color of "gray".
- Freshman Running Back Luke Turner keeps finding ways to get his name in the spotlight. The Owls used him on a double-pass trick play in the second quarter. Turner lined up in the backfield as a RB and running right, field a low swing pass from McHargue before setting up to throw a a 38 yard strike to Donte Moore. Turner was a Quarterback at Gilmer High School.
- Owl Nose Guard Hosam Shahin was credited with only 1 tackle Saturday - but it was a quality stop as Shahin recorded the first sack of UTSA QB Eric Soza by any opponent all season.
- Owl Defensive End Tanner Leland returned to action Saturday against UTSA after tearing his MCL against Kansas. Leland did not record a tackle but certainly gives a boost to a depleted Rice DL group.
Owl Sports Watch