Rice Football cruised past Texas Southern, posting its second straight win over a Houston-based squad to improve to 2-1 on the season.
From the very first snap, it was unequivocally clear Rice football was on a different level than Texas Southern. The most talented team ever fielded under head coach Mike Bloomgren, fresh off its upset win of Houston the week before, absolutely smoked an FCS squad that couldn’t keep step with the Owls on either side of the ball. Here are a few immediate reactions from the game:
The Rice football defense set the tone of the very first play. Tre’shon Devones scooped up a fumble to give the Owls’ offense the ball on a short field, the third consecutive game in which Rice had forced a turnover on their opponent’s first possession. Then, for the third consecutive game, Rice took a lead on their ensuing drive.
The defense allowed negative four yards on the next three TSU drives, all three-and-outs, asserting its dominance in a way that brought back memories of the 2020 side that finished as a top 15 unit in the country.
The pass rush made it all but impossible for TSU to move the football. While Rice only registered one official sack, TSU’s line was no match for the pressure the Owls were bringing. They added four tackles for a loss and two quarterback hurries.
Texas Southern threated twice before the fourth quarter. The first time TSU found a hole in the coverage and completed a long pass then got into the redzone with the help of a defensive penalty on a tackle out of bounds, setting up their lone touchdown of the night.
The second time came in the final minutes of the third quarter in which they had the ball with a first down inside the 10. Rice held firm, stonewalling them with a fourth down stop.
This could have been a shutout and honestly, it probably should have been. Rice was that much better.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the ball, quarterback JT Daniels made it look easy. Three of his first six passes went for touchdowns and one of those competitions that did not score was a long bomb to Landon Ransom who was ruled down on the one-yard line.
The list of accolades was, understandably, epic.
- Rice has scored 21 points in the first quarter for the second straight week, heading into this season, the Owls had not scored 21 or more in the first since 2013
- Rice’s 42 points in the first half are the most for the Owls since they scored 56 in the first half vs. North Texas in 2008
- JT Daniels 4 TD passes tie his career high (Mississippi State in 2020) and he is the second Owl to throw four TDs in the first half (Chase Clement, 2008)
Daniels was not sacked. The TSU pass rush offered little threat and the Rice offensive line gave him plenty of protection. Five different receivers caught passes of 35 yards or more, another game in which Daniels was able to spread the ball around and find the open receivers. That’s an area where he’s notably impressed so far this season.
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