HOUSTON – Charles Ross rushed for 117 of Rice’s 301 yards to help the Owls hand UTSA its first loss of the season, 34-14, on Saturday afternoon before 28,677 fans at Rice Stadium.
Rice (2-5) used the ground game, including 214 rushing after halftime, to snap the Roadrunners’ (5-1) program-record six-game winning streak dating back to the final game of the 2011 campaign. Ross had his game-high 117 on 16 carries, while quarterback Taylor McHargue tallied 68 and a pair of touchdowns on seven totes.
The Owls compiled an opponent season-high 483 yards on 81 plays (58 rushes) and held UTSA to a season-low 239 yards and 13 first downs.
A pair of first-quarter field goals from Chris Boswell staked Rice to a 6-0 lead. It marked the first time UTSA has trailed after the first stanza since Nov. 12, 1011, when McNeese State held a 3-0 advantage, a span of eight games.
The Owls used a trick play to extend their lead to 13-0 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.
UTSA starting QB Eric Soza was forced out of the game for a series with a right leg injury with 10 minutes left in the second quarter. Redshirt freshman QB Ryan Polite came on in relief and led the Roadrunners on the final 14 plays of a 16-play, 87-yard drive that was capped by a 20-yard field goal from Kristian Stern.
Rice opened the second half with a 12-play, 75-yard drive – all on the ground – that resulted in a 1-yard touchdown plunge by Turner Peterson. Boswell’s PAT made it 20-3 early in the third quarter.
After a 44-yard TD scamper by McHargue pushed the lead to 27-3, Soza found David Glasco II in the flat on a screen pass and he raced 36 yards for a score. A pass interference call on the first two-point conversion attempt gave UTSA a second try and Glasco II found the end zone to pull the Roadrunners to within 27-11 with 5:30 left in the third.
Erik Brown then picked off his team-leading fourth pass of the year and Stern drilled a 35-yard field goal to pull UTSA to within 27-14 with a little more than a quarter remaining. It marked the 12th score off of the 17th opponent turnover this season.
Rice answered and put the game away with an 11-play, 72-yard scoring drive that was finished off with a three-yard option keeper by McHargue, giving the Owls a 34-14 advantage with 13:05 left to play.
Soza finished 10-for-23 for 113 yards and one TD, while Glasco II had a team-high 32 yards rushing and 41 yards receiving.Brandon Reeves led the UTSA defense with 12 tackles (six solos), while Steven Kurfehs, Nic Johnston and Triston Wade added nine apiece.
The Roadrunners return home to host San Jose State next Saturday, Oct. 20. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at the Alamodome and the game will be televised nationally on ESPN3.