Rice lost a two touchdown lead in regulation, but recovered in overtime to beat defending conference champion Tulsa 30-27 on the road Saturday.
On the Owls second offensive play of the extra session, quarterback Taylor McHargue threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to an open Darik Dillard to end the game. The Rice victory broke a six-game losing streak in the series.
Rice (3-2) is now 2-0 in Conference USA play for the first time since 2008.
McHargue completed eight of his first nine passes, helping Rice jump out on top 14-3. The Owls led 24-10 after McHargue hit Turner Petersen for a 9-yard touchdown pass late in the second quarter.
The Owls offense got bogged down in the second half and Tulsa was able to claw back into it. A Trey-Watts 1-yard touchdown run closed the gap to 24-19 in the fourth quarter. Rice initially stopped the two-point try, but a personal foul penalty on Rice gave Tulsa a second try. Watts ran it, and the lead was down to three.
Rice punted it back to the Golden Hurricane with 2:53 left. Tulsa drove 47 yards to the Rice 19, but the Owls defense hung tough and forced a 4th and four. Carl Salazar made a 36-yard field goal to tie the game up at 24 with 1:07 left.
Backed up inside the 20, Rice attempted a couple of running plays, but coach David Bailiff decided to try his chances in overtime. The Owls won the toss and played defense first. Watts ran the ball three times for six yards before Salazar made another 36-yard field goal.
Rice’s handed the ball to Jawon Davis on first down, but he was stuffed for no gain. On the next play, Dillard snuck out of the backfield, caught the ball around the 10 and ran into end zone for the walk-off victory. It was the freshman’s only catch of the game.
McHargue finished the day 13 of 21 for 177 yards passing. Petersen was his favorite target, connecting five times for 78 yards. Davis had 58 yards on the ground on 10 carries while Petersen helped out with 44 rushing yards.. Michael Kutzler led the Rice defense with 11 tackles.
It was the first overtime victory for the Owls since 2006, which coincidentally also was at Tulsa.
The Owls face a new Conference USA foe, UTSA, on the road next Saturday.