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Charlotte steals a stunner over Rice, 31-24 in OT

Fueled by a late push and a sold out crowd, Charlotte moves within one win of bowl eligibility after knocking off the Rice Owls at home

NCAA Football: Duke at Charlotte Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

In a match-up that had everything and more you’d expect out of a football game, Charlotte completed a late comeback to seal the deal in their homecoming festivities over Rice, 31-24 in overtime.

Trailing 24-14 with 6:35 to play in the game, Charlotte made the most valiant of efforts to get themselves a chance at a win that was seemingly far from their grasp. Lended a hand by two separate defensive penalties that set the Niners up in fair field position, three straight incomplete passes by Chris Reynolds from Rice’s 14-yard line forced the green and gold to settle for a field goal and lean on their defense with 4:09 to play.

Now trailing by a touchdown with just two timeouts at their disposal, Owls tailback Ari Broussard broke off a 17-yard scamper on first down, forcing Will Healy to burn one more and essentially putting Charlotte all the way up against the wall. Gaining just four yards of scrimmage on the next three plays alone, Charlotte was able to force Rice into punting, setting up the win-or-go-home drive for the home team.

Yet again aided by a Rice pass interference call, Reynolds led his team 80 yards downfield in just five plays after finding Irmo, SC native Elijah Spencer on a 1st & Goal roll-out inside the ten to tie the contest and knock the Owls off their roost.

Carrying every bit of momentum they could muster, Chris Reynolds yet again found his freshman standout Spencer on the first play of overtime to put the Niners out front. The game in the balance with the fans in pandemonium, Luke Martin logged his first career interception to close the door, and cap off what was an enamoring comeback for 49er country, 31-24 in overtime.

Charlotte goes back on the road to take on the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs next weekend in Ruston, live at 3:30 PM ET on Stadium.

Rice welcomes Western Kentucky into Houston next weekend on ESPN+, scheduled for a 1:00 PM CT kickoff.