Texas: Armanti Foreman 32-yard TD pass from Jerrod Heard (Nick Rose PAT), 9:29 left
The drive: 9 plays, 80 yards, 3:54
Key play: Heard’s weaving 35-yard quarterback keeper woke up the crowd.
Texas: Daje Johnson 85-yard TD punt return (Rose PAT), 6:43
The key play: Johnson’s return. That was it.
Texas: Johnathan Gray 1-yard TD run (Rose PAT), 3:22
The drive: 2 plays, 6 yards, :42
The key play: Duke Thomas’ 53-yard punt return (his first ever) set Texas up at Rice’s 6-yard line.
Texas 21, Rice 0: Could things have started any better for the Longhorns, who so desperately needed a hot start? Take your pick — Heard started, shined and led the offense to a touchdown on its first drive; there were not one, but two big punt returns (85 yards from Daje Johnson for a touchdown, 53 yards from Duke Thomas that set up another), and the defense stuffed Rice.
Rice: Samuel Stewart 23-yard TD run (Jack Fox PAT), 11:23
The drive: 4 plays, 35 yards, 1:36
Key play: Jason Hall intercepted the ball in the end zone, but as he was tackled 35 yards later, he fumbled. Rice was given new life.
Rice: Stewart 16-yard TD run (Fox PAT), 2:27
The drive: 16 plays, 87 yards, 6:49
Key play: Jackson’s dump-off completion to Dennis Parks on third-and-8 yielded 10 yards and a first down, keeping the drive alive at midfield.
Halftime — Texas 21, Rice 14: This didn’t look like much of a game back in the first quarter, when Texas jumped out to a 21-0 lead. But the Owls gave the Longhorns far fewer punt return opportunities in the second quarter, rattling off two long drives. In the first half, Rice converted 75 percent of its third-down conversions. In this quarter, Texas’ offense took a step back and its defense took two steps back. Two end zone interceptions have helped the Longhorns maintain their lead.
Texas: John Burt 69-yard TD pass from Heard (Rose PAT), 14:37
The drive: 1 play, 69 yards, :23
Key play: Obviously, the only play. Heard made the big play on a play-action pass, which Rice’s safety bit on. Burt had two steps on his defender down the right sideline.
Texas: Malik Jefferson 26-yard fumble return TD (Rose PAT), 8:14
Key play: It should be noted that Jefferson merely returned it for the score. It was another freshman — cornerback Kris Boyd — who made it all happen with his ball-separating hit on the Rice running back.
Texas: D’Onta Foreman 2-yard TD run (Rose PAT), 1:05
The drive: 5 plays, 28 yards, 1:52
Key play: Johnson’s 31-yard punt return was huge, but so was Heard’s 18-yard scramble that ended with him doing pushups at the 5-yard line. We’ll go with that one.
Texas 42, Rice 14: How did Texas pull away? Part of it was defense — finally, the Longhorns had success stopping Rice on third downs; in fact, Texas stuffed the Owls on two third-and-1 plays in the quarter — and part of it was offense, especially the play of Heard. And part of it was special teams, as Johnson again had a big punt return. And it should be noted that the Longhorns scored a touchdown in the third quarter for the first time in Texas’ last 12 games. The two top plays of the third? Easily Heard’s bomb to Burt and Jefferson’s fumble return.
Rice: Temi Alaka 4-yard TD pass from Jackson (Hayden Tobola PAT), 6:41
The drive: 18 plays, 75 yards, 9:24
Key play: A second-and-23 pass fell incomplete, but Rice avoided a third-and-long situation thanks to Paul Boyette Jr.’s persona foul call on the play. Fifteen yards, automatic first down.
Rice: Luke Turner 14-yard TD pass from Tyler Stehling (Tobola PAT), :36
The drive: 8 plays, 85 yards, 3:48
Key play: Stehling, Rice’s new quarterback, hit Cole Hunt for 25 yards on his first pass attempt.
Final — Texas 42, Rice 28: Texas fans should be breathing a little easier. This was a complete victory, when you factor in the plays that were made on offense, defense and special teams. Still, don’t overlook the fact that Rice was 14 of 21 on third down conversions, had 30 first downs, outgained Texas (462-277), out-rushed Texas (228-149), out-threw Texas (234-128) and had a whopping advantage in time of possession. But when you make big plays (seven plays of 25 or more yards) and force four turnovers while committing none yourself, things usually work out OK. And they did.
First downs: Rice 30, Texas 11; Rushes-yards: Rice 58-228, Texas 28-149; Passing: Rice 234, Texas 128; Comp-Att-Int: Rice 23-38-3, Texas 5-10-0; Return Yards: Rice 0, Texas 241; Punts-Avg.: Rice 5-39.8, Texas 5-36.6; Fumbles-Lost: Rice 2-2, Texas 1-1; Penalties-Yards: Rice 6-55, Texas 4-42; Time of Possession: Rice 44:02, Texas 15:58.
PASSING: Rice, Jackson 16-29-2-139, Stehling 7-8-1-95, Team 0-1-0-0. Texas, Heard 4-7-0-120, Swoopes 1-3-0-8.
RUSHING: Rice, Stewart 25-130, Dillard 11-53, Au.Walter 7-31, Jackson 12-15, Turner 1-2, Stehling 2-(minus 3). Texas, Heard 10-96, D.Foreman 6-23, J.Gray 9-17, Swoopes 1-8, Warren III 2-5.
RECEIVING: Rice, Parks 8-77, Dillard 3-38, Hunt 2-34, Turner 2-32, Stewart 2-17, Mayden 2-16, Alaka 2-12, Decell 2-8. Texas, A.Foreman 2-43, Burt 1-69, Bluiett 1-8, J.Gray 1-8.