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(Saturday, September 29)
Final Score: Houston 35, Rice 14
Houston, TX (Sports Network) - David Piland completed 26-of-43 passes for 361 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Houston Cougars to a 35-14 victory over the Rice Owls at Reliant Stadium in the Bayou Bucket Bowl.
Houston (1-3, 1-0 C-USA) running back Charles Sims ran for 158 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries. Larry McDuffey was Piland's favorite target, catching eight passes for 100 yards and one touchdown. Daniel Spencer also had a strong effort, catching five passes for 99 yards and one score.
As for Rice (1-4, 0-2), the Owls struggled all day offensively. With regular starter Tyler McHargue sidelined with an injury, backup quarterback Driphus Jackson got the start and completed 17-of-35 passes for 272 yards and two touchdowns. His favorite target was Sam McGuffie who caught six passes for 119 yards and both touchdowns.
On the Owls' first drive, Jackson fumbled and Houston's Radermon Scypion recovered. The Cougars put the first points on the board when Piland completed a touchdown pass to McDuffey for 25 yards. The Cougars added to the lead when Piland completed a 31-yard touchdown pass to Spencer to make the score 14-0 which is where it stood at the half.
The Cougar offense opened up the second half with a three-yard touchdown run by Sims and continued to pile on less than three minutes later when the running back found the end zone from 47 yards out.
Rice found some momentum when it recovered a fumble on a punt at the Houston 21-yard line. The Owls needed just two plays to capitalize, with Jackson connecting with McGuffie for a 24-yard touchdown strike to make the score 28-7.
Houston came right back with a 16-yard touchdown run by Sims to extend the Cougars' lead to 35-7.
After Houston fumbled and Rice's Cody Bauer recovered, Jackson combined with McGuffie for an 88-yard touchdown pass, the longest scoring pass in Rice football history, but it was not enough as Houston closed out the 21-point victory.
Houston's defense sacked Jackson five times and gave up only 69 yards rushing.
09/29 20:56:08 ET
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