Taylor McHargue completed a 25-yard pass to Darik Dillard in overtime to give Rice a 30-27 Conference USA win over Tulsa Saturday afternoon in front of a crowd of 20,014 at H.A. Chapman Stadium. The Owls improved to 3-2 (2-0 C-USA), while Tulsa fell to 1-4 (0-1 C-USA) on the season.
The Golden Hurricane overcame a 24-10 halftime deficit, and Carl Salazar connected on a 36-yard field goal with 1:07 remaining to tie the score at 24-24 and send the game into overtime.
Tulsa took the first possession in the extra period, and Salazar gave the Hurricane its first lead of the contest with a 36-yard field goal to make the score 27-24. Rice then took two plays to score the winning touchdown.
It was Tulsa's first loss to Rice since 2006, a 41-38 double overtime win for the Owls.
Rice built a 14-10 first quarter lead and extended it to 24-10 at halftime. After giving up 150 yards on Rice's first two drives, Tulsa's defense allowed just 194 yards the rest of the contest. The Tulsa defense shut out the Owls in the second half until the overtime period.
The Golden Hurricane erased the 14-point deficit with two Salazar field goals and a touchdown run with two-point conversion by Trey Watts.
Tulsa opened the second half with a 55-yard, eight-play drive that was capped by a 37-yard Carl Salazar field goal, cutting the Rice lead to 11 points, 24-13.
Trey Watts scored on a one-yard run and converted on the two-point attempt with 3:45 remaining in the game to cut Rice's lead to three points at 24-21. The Hurricane marched 62 yards in 11 plays after a Darnell Walker Jr. interception gave Tulsa the ball at their own 38-yard line. On that drive, Tulsa converted a 4th-and-5 on a Green to Roberson seven-yard pass to pick up the first down and continue the scoring drive.
Salazar's game-tying field goal, his second field goal of the contest, capped a nine-play, 47-yard drive that took just 1:41.
Rice jumped out to a quick seven-point lead on the opening kickoff as the Owls went 75 yards in 13 plays, taking 4:55 off the clock. Jeremy Eddington scored on a four-yard run around right end. Tulsa took the subsequent kickoff 59 yards in nine plays, but had to settle for a 33-yard Carl Salazar field goal.
The Owls went ahead 14-3 on its second possession traveling 75 yards on eight plays in 2:08, as Darrian Pollard scored on another four-yard run.
The fourth drive in the game resulted in the fourth score, as this time Tulsa went 65 yards in five plays taking just 1:25 off the clock. Trey Watts gained 45 yards on the ground during that drive, scoring on his final carry in that drive from 18 yards out.
Rice added three more points at the 5:14 mark of the second period as Chris Boswell knocked through a 27-yard field goal. After an interception of a Cody Green pass, Rice went up 14 points when Tyler McHargue threw the final nine yards of a 10-yard drive for a 24-10 lead at the 3:36 mark of the second quarter.
In the final 5:14 of the first half, Tulsa's offense turned the ball over three times. The first led to seven points, and the third ended a Hurricane drive at the Rice four-yard line with a lost fumble.
At halftime, Rice not only held a 14-point lead on the scoreboard, but also out-gained the Hurricane 230 to 186 yards, while holding better than a six-minute edge in possession time. Most of Rice's yards came on their first two drives of the game covering 150 yards.
The Hurricane outgained the Owls in total yardage, 415 to 344. TU rushed for 222 yards, led by Watts' 165 yards and two touchdowns. Green completed 16-of-32 passes for 193 yards. Keevan Lucas was Tulsa's leading receiver with season highs of six catches for 80 yards.
DeWitt Jennings tallied 12 tackles, including a pair of sacks, and Michael Mudoh led TU with 15 tackles. The interception by Walker was the first of the redshirt freshman's career.
McHargue completed 13-of-21 passes for 177 yards and two touchdowns. Jawon Davis led Rice with 10 rushing attempts for 58 yards, as the Owls totaled 167 yards on the ground.
Watts ended the game with 190 all-purpose yards and now has 5,129 career all-purpose yards, ranking 11th in C-USA history. He also has 2,609 career rushing yards, and ranks fourth on the school career list.
Next Saturday, Tulsa travels to El Paso, Texas to take on the UTEP Miners in a 7:00 p.m.