Rice uses punishing ground game to hand UTSA first loss of season

Rice uses punishing ground game to hand UTSA first loss of season

Rice uses punishing ground game to hand UTSA first loss of season

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by Kens5.com

kens5.com

Posted on October 14, 2012 at 8:27 AM

Updated Sunday, Oct 14 at 4:15 PM

Two streaks came to a screeching halt Saturday at Rice Stadium.

Unfortunately for the UTSA Roadrunners, the end came at their expense.

Rice piled up 301 yards rushing, including 214 in the second half, and held UTSA to a season-low 239 yards in total offense en route to a 34-14 victory against the previously undefeated Roadrunners before a crowd of 28,677 at Rice Stadium in Houston.

Rice (2-5) snapped a four-game losing streak and UTSA (5-1) fell for the first time since the next-to-last game of its inaugural season last year. The Roadrunners' six-game winning streak stands as a program record.

Running back Charles Ross led the Owls' ground assault with 117 yards on 16 carries, and quarterback Taylor McHargue added 68 yards on just nine attempts and scored two touchdowns.

Coached by MacArthur High School graduate David Bailiff, Rice finished with 483 yards total offense, a season-high for a UTSA opponent. The Owls' 301-yard rushing output also set a record for a UTSA opponent.

"They played very well today," UTSA coach Larry Coker said of the Owls. "We've been able to create turnovers all season, but we really weren't able to do that. Give them credit. They took care of the football, made some plays and we weren't able to make some plays.

"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. I told our team, 'It's not about what happens to you, it's what you do about what happens to you.' We've got to get in the film room, look, correct, grow up and press on."

Stern kicked two field goals for UTSA

Chris Boswell kicked a pair of field goals to give Rice a 6-0 lead after one quarter, and went up 13-0 in the second on a 38-yard option pass from Luke Turner to Donte Moore.

UTSA closed the gap to 13-3 at halftime on a 20-yard field goal by Kristian Stern. Starting quarterback Eric Soza went to the sideline with a leg injury after the second play of the 16-play, 87-yard drive, giving way to redshirt freshman Ryan Polite. Soza returned to action on the Roadrunners' next possession.

"It's a tough loss," Soza said. "Give Rice credit because they played a great game. They took away what we could do best, and give them all the credit for the win. It's tougher competition and that's how we grow.

"It will be a learning experience if we use it the right way. If we go in tomorrow with a bad attitude, then it won't be. We have to learn from our mistakes and get better."

Rice went to the ground exclusively on its first possession of the second half, carving out a 12-play, 75-yard drive that was capped by Turner Peterson's 1-yard scoring plunge. Boswell's extra-point kick gave the Owls a 20-3 lead early in the third quarter.

Rice went up 27-3 on a 44-yard run by McHargue, but UTSA cut the lead to 27-11 on a 36-yard screen pass from Soza to David Glasco II and two-point conversion by Glasco II.

Reeves paced UTSA defense

Erik Brown made his fourth interception of the season to set up a 35-yard field goal by Stern that cut the Roadrunners' deficit to 27-14 with a little more than a quarter remaining. The take-away was the 17th of the season for UTSA, which has scored 12 times off opponents' turnovers. 

Rice sealed the victory with an 11-play, 72-yard scoring drive that was ended by McHargue's 3-yard option keeper with 13:05 left.

Soza completed 10 of 23 passes for 113 yards and one TD, and 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.

"They were more physical than us today," Kurfehs said.

Coker saw a silver lining in the loss.

“I think it was a good experience for our team," Coker said. "Hopefully most of these guys will be back when we play them (Rice) again and they’ll remember this experience.”

UTSA resumes play in the Western Athletic Conference against San Jose State at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Alamodome.

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