For the second consecutive week, the Mean Green allowed turnovers to dictate the outcome of the game in their 38-24 loss to the Rice Owls. Three turnovers led to opportunities for an impressive Rice offense to get ahead on the scoreboard and stay there as North Texas fought an uphill battle for most of the game.
A missed field goal to start the game appeared to give North Texas momentum as they took an early 3-0 lead at home. After trading touchdowns, the Mean Green found themselves on top once again with a 10-7 lead. Rice quarterback Driphus Jackson answered back with a 30-yard touchdown pass to Zach Wright to give the Owls a lead that they would not lose for the remainder of the game. The owls put up 21 points in the third quarter, eventually making the score 38-10 against a North Texas team that looked completely defeated.
Although Rice dominated North Texas throughout most of the game, there were still small signs of success for the Mean Green. Quarterback Andrew McNulty, who had an awful game in UNT's opener against SMU, finished the game with 303 yards and two touchdowns.
However, the majority of the yards and all of the touchdowns were to senior star Carlos Harris. Harris racked up 193 yards receiving and two touchdowns in the game, including a 93 yard touchdown reception midway through the fourth quarter. For a team with a fan base losing motivation, the performance by Harris may be one of the only things giving fans any hope.
The dominant victory by Rice comes after a loss to Texas in which Rice still controlled all offensive categories but suffered from five turnovers. The win over North Texas previewed a team with the turnovers under control and the offense running on all cylinders. Consistent performances like this and the Owls can easily find themselves back in the Conference USA championship game.