Tulsa pulled out a miracle to beat Rice last year. It could not duplicate the feat Saturday as it surrendered a passing touchdown in overtime to fall 30-27 to the Owls at Skelly Field at H.A. Chapman Stadium.
The Golden Hurricane (1-4 overall, 0-1 in Conference USA) rallied to tie the game at 24-24 after trailing by two touchdowns at halftime.
Trey Watts scored from one yard, then got in the two-point conversion to bring TU to within 24-21 with 3:45 left in the game. Ironically, Watts made the two-point try on a second chance. Cody Green threw to the end zone with the pass going incomplete. But the Owls were whistled for rouging the passer and TU got another chance.
Carl Salazar, who connected on four field goals, got his third from 36 yards to tie the game with 1:41 left in regulation.
With Rice (3-2, 2-0) winning the overtime coin toss and deferring, Tulsa had possession first and was forced to rely on Salazar again. He made it from the same distance, giving TU a 27-24 lead, it’s first of the day.
It did not last. In its second play, Rice quarterback Taylor McHargue found Darik McDillard in the end zone to put the Owls ahead and end the game.
McHargue tossed two TDs on the day, finishing with 177 yards on 13-of-21 attempts.
Watts led the Golden Hurricane on the ground with 165 yards on 34 carries and two TDs.
In last year’s game, on the same field, Tulsa rallied from a 10-point deficit with two TDs to win 28-24. The 2013 edition had a different ending.
The Tulsa offense committed three turnovers, one that set up a Rice TD and another that kept TU from scoring.
Two of the miscues were interceptions by Cody Green. The first was returned 32 yards by Julius White to set up a Rice TD before halftime. McHargue threw to Turner Peterson for nine yards with 3:36 left, making the score 24-10.
The Owls were in position to make it a 3-TD game when Green threw another interception, then Tulsa got the ball back on a fumble after sacking McHargue.
It drove the Owl 4 before fumbling it away again.
Tulsa also turned the ball over on downs twice near the Rice 30-yard line in the second half.
Hurricane Quick Hits
* Tulsa wore pink sleeves in honor of October being Breast Cancer Awareness month.
* Darnell Walker Jr. made an interception for the Golden Hurricane. It was the first of his career.