An impressive effort by the Kansas football defense wasn't enough to overcome incompetent offense, as Rice rallied in the fourth quarter for a 23-14 victory over KU in Houston.
The game-changing play came with 8:43 left in the fourth quarter, as Rice kicker Chris Boswell blasted a 56-yard field goal to turn a 14-13 deficit into a 16-14 Owls lead.
Following a KU three-and-out, Rice added a 50-yard TD drive, capped by an eight-yard rushing touchdown by Charles Ross.
Though he was indecisive most of the night, KU quarterback Jake Heaps didn't get much help from the players he was throwing to, either. The junior finished 13-for-28 for 157 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.
Tony Pierson led KU's offense with four catches for 95 yards with a touchdown, but he had just five total touches. James Sims added 20 carries for 117 yards, though 21 of those yards came on the game's final play with Rice in prevent defense.
Overall, KU's offense averaged just 4.2 yards per play and 2.9 yards per rush.
The Jayhawks (1-1) will play host to Louisiana Tech at 11 a.m. on Sept. 21.
HOW THEY SCORED
6:40 — Michael Kutzler 51 interception return. Chris Boswell kick. The Kansas defense forced Rice to punt on its first offensive possession and the offense responded with back-to-back first downs on its first drive. But on a third-and-long, Jake Heaps was intercepted when Kutzler batted the ball into the air to himself and raced to the end zone untouched. (RICE 7, KU 0).
9:20 — Tony Pierson 77 pass from Jake Heaps. Matthew Wyman kick. After a sluggish first quarter, the KU offense picked up a huge momentum play on a third-down completion from Heaps to Pierson. Pierson caught the pass about 15 yards from the line of scrimmage, absorbed a hit, spun out of it and then raced away from the rest of the Rice defense. Rice also was flagged for roughing the passer on the play that capped a five-play, 91-yard drive that took 1:48. (RICE 7, KU 7).
6:04 — Chris Boswell 40 field goal. Rice answered KU's scoring drive with a 52-yard, eight-play drive that reached the edge of the KU red zone but stalled when KU defensive end Michael Reynolds sacked McHargue on third-and-10, forcing the Owls to send Boswell on for the three-pointer. (RICE 10, KU 7).
0:09 — Chris Boswell 28 field goal. KU came up with another defensive stand inside of three minutes left in the first half, but gave possession right back on the first play of the next drive when Jake Heaps was intercepted trying to find Justin McCay deep down the KU sideline. Twelve plays, 71 yards and 2:36 later, Rice added to its lead with the chip shot field goal just before halftime. (RICE 13, KU 7).
1:01 — Jake Heaps 1 run. Wyman kick. Isaiah Johnson's first career interception and 31-yard return set the Jayhawks' offense up with a first-and-10 at the Rice 16 yard line and, four plays later, Heaps rammed it in behind his offensive line to give Kansas its first lead. Even this was not easy for KU, which went 16 yards in four plays and 1:42, but a huge conversion on third-and-12 from Heaps to Tre' Parmalee set up the score. Heaps did a magnificent job of hanging in the pocket long enough to make the throw and Parmalee flashed some nifty moves to get to the one. (KU 14, RICE 13).
8:05 — Chris Boswell 56 field goal. The Jayhawks' defense once again held up, despite Rice starting this drive at midfield, but the Owls' biggest weapon came through with the 12th field goal of his career from 50 yards or longer to put the home team back in front after a six-play, 12-yard drive that took 2:28. (RICE 16, KU 14).
3:28 — Charles Ross 8 run. Boswell kick. The Kansas defense came up with big-time stops throughout the night, but late in the game it was a three-and-out by Rice's defense that set up the game's biggest score. With back-up quarterback Driphus Jackson running the offense, Rice marched 50 yards in six plays and 3:09 to jump out to a two-score lead. (RICE 23, KU 14).