Houston scored the final 28 points of the game to maintain possession of the Bayou Bucket with a 45-27 win over Rice on a steamy Saturday at Rice Stadium.
A decided underdog by all accounts, the Owls shook off an opening drive for a field goal by Houston to storm to a 24-17 halftime lead. Quarterback Shawn Stankavage
threw for the first three touchdowns of his career in the first half and Jack Fox
connected for a career-long, 44-yard field goal to account for the Owls offensive output. Rice opened the second half by scoring on their fifth of the previous seven possessions, but the Cougars held Rice scoreless the remainder of the game to win for the fifth consecutive time in the series.
The Passing Game:
Rice threw for 292 yards after throwing for just 87 in the opener last week. Stankavage completed 20-31 passes for 204 yards and three touchdowns, each to a receiver catching his first career touchdown pass. He connected with Jordan Myers
on a 29-yard strike late in the first quarter to put the Owls in the lead and added tosses of two yards to Jaeger Bull
and one yard to Brendan Harmon
, the last coming with 15 seconds left in the half. Jackson Tyner
came on to throw for 88 yards completing four of eight attempts.
Houston retained the Bayou Bucket for the fifth consecutive year and will hold on to the trophy until at least 2020 as the schools will not meet next year.
: Rice held a 7-3 lead after the first quarter and has scored its first two opponents 20-3 in the opener quarter. They only scored 17 points in the opening quarter in all of 2017.
The Week Ahead:
With the road game in Honolulu next Saturday night, the Owls will immediately return to the practice field on Sunday and practice Sunday through Thursday before departing Houston on Thursday.
The Rest of the Notes:
- The 27 points are the most against Houston since scoring 34 in 2011.
- The Owls lost at home to the Cougars for the first time since 2006.
- Rice scored off a turnover for the second straight game and have outscored the opposition 14-0 on turnovers. The Owls were outscored 118-7 last year after turnovers.
- Rice recovered two fumbles for the first time since Oct. 1, 2016 at Southern Miss.
- DB Tyrae Thornton and FB Giovanni Gentosi made their first career starts.
- Shawn Stankavage's 20 completions are the most since Tyler Stehling had 35 at Charlotte on Nov. 12, 2016.
- The three touchdown passes are the most since Tyler Stehling threw for five against Prairie View A&M on Oct 22, 2016.
- RB Emmanuel Esukpa rushed 17 times for 81 yards, 52 on the longest run of his career to set up the Owls first touchdown,
- With 42 kickoff return yards, RB Austin Walter now has 1,162 career kickoff return yards, passing Sean White (1999-2002) for fifth in school history.
- Walter had 167 all-purpose yards, giving him 2,836 for his career to pass Dicky Meagle (1952-54) and Earl Cooper (1976-79) for eighth-place in school history.
- WR Austin Trammell had career-highs of seven receptions for 62 yards.
- Trammell's 43-yard kickoff return in the fourth quarter was the longest of his career.
- WR Aaron Cephus tied a career-high with five receptions for 95 yards.
- K Haden Tobola connected on a 28-yard field goal in the third quarter. It was his 18th career field goal.
- With his field goal attempt, Tobola has 27 for his career, tying Alan Pringle (1973-74) for eighth-place in school history.
- LB Dylan Silcox recorded a career-high 11 tackles. It is his first career double-digit tackle game.
- DE Graysen Schantz recorded a career-high with eight tackles.
- CB Justin Bickham forced his first career fumble.
- LS Campbell Riddle recovered his first career fumble in the second quarter.
- SAF Houston Robert recovered his first career fumble.