Rice football is one of the few teams in college football that still employs a fullback. That fullback made history in the Owls’ win over Old Dominion.
Fullback Gio Gentosi hadn’t scored a touchdown since he was in middle school. That’s why he handed away the football to an official without thinking following his six-yard touchdown run in the first quarter against Old Dominion. “I’ve been used to not scoring for so long,” said Gentosi, who notched his first career touchdown in his final game.
Score he did, capping off a banner day for himself and the Rice Owls. His team won the game, their first Conference USA victory under head coach Mike Bloomgren, and Gentosi played a meaningful role in the final outcome.
Gentosi had never touched the ball more than twice in any game of his college career prior to transferring to Rice from UCLA this summer. He had a personal best three carries and 31 yards against Wake Forest, including a long of 19 yards. Against Old Dominion, he had four carries for 11 yards, the aforementioned touchdown and a 10-yard return on a short kickoff.
The expression on Gentosi’s face as he met with the media following the game was one of pure wonder. “It’s been nine years playing tackle football, to finally have that experience was really special, and on Senior Day and it being my last game…” he trailed off with a smile. Watching him soak in that moment was surreal, a gentle reminder that as much stress and effort that is put into this game, it’s still a game.
In his last game, Gentosi rides out in style. Rice won, Gentosi scored and the locker room erupted in elation. “The stars aligned for this one,” he said, addressing his touchdown run. But perhaps, Gentosi’s struck luck was emblematic of a program that, too, was waiting for a breakthrough moment. Only time will tell if one man’s joy becomes a turning point for an entire team. Right now, though, things couldn’t look any better.