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UTSA Narrowly Escapes Rice, 14-13

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UTSA manages to squeak out of Houston in a scrappy game against Rice.

NCAA Football: Arizona State at Texas-San Antonio Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

With the help of three missed kicks from Hayden Tobola, UTSA was able to hold onto their first half lead to beat Rice by one point.

Rice came out of the gate tough as quarterback Tyler Stehling led a 75-yard touchdown drive on the opening possession to put Rice on the board. Tobola then missed the extra point, and the difference would end up deciding the game.

He would have two more opportunities to put points on the board behind his foot, but missed both ensuing field goal attempts — one in the second quarter from 50 yards and a 42 yarder with 1:27 left in regulation.

UTSA responded to Rice’s opening score with a big play to the likes of what they displayed against Southern Miss last week; a 75 yard strike to the team’s leading receiver Josh Stewart on the third play of their second series. The score was 7-6 at the end of the first quarter.

Rice would muff a UTSA punt at the start of the second quarter to give the Roadrunners preferred field position at the Rice 28. Sturm delivered a 28-yard dime to Stewart on the first play for the duo’s second touchdown of the day. It was UTSA’s final score of the game.

The second half was filled with scrappy, less-than-stellar football from both teams. There was also a lot questionable refereeing through the half.

On multiple occasions there was no regard for any sort of play clock as Rice took about 60 seconds to snap the ball. There was also careless clock management on the part of the refs at the end of the game.

UTSA drove 58 yards to Rice’s two-yard line with five minutes remaining in the fourth. On 4th and goal with a 14-13 lead, the Roadrunners opted to go for the touchdown instead of kicking the chip shot. It was a questionable call on the part of the coaching staff.

Tailback Jalen Rhodes’ run was stopped in the backfield and the turnover on downs gave Rice an opportunity to take a lead with a field goal.

After Tobola missed, UTSA went three and out to give Rice yet another opportunity. There was 20 seconds left in the game and they had no timeouts remaining. Stehling completed two passes to get into UTSA territory, and with no time remaining on the game clock Rice lined up their field goal unit. After a few seconds of chaos that seemed to last an eternity, the referees blew the whistle dead and ruled the game over.

The win brings UTSA to .500 with a 3-3 (2-1 C-USA) record after winning back-to-back games. They take on UTEP next week in the Alamodome for their homecoming game.

The loss puts Rice at 0-6, the program’s worst start since 2009. The Owls will look to end the deficit as they take on Prairie View A&M next week at Rice Stadium.