Rice 18, Florida Atlantic 14: Darik Dillard ran in the go-ahead touchdown from 20 yards out with 3:35 left to give the host Owls a remarkable comeback win in their Conference-USA opener.
Dillard’s score was the second touchdown in a span of 52 seconds for Rice, which was stymied all evening by C-USA newcomer Florida Atlantic (1-4, 0-3 C-USA). The hosts were limited to 270 total yards and were 3-for-16 on third down but took advantage of three huge turnovers in the final four-plus minutes by Florida Atlantic quarterback Greg Hankerson.
After Hankerson threw his second touchdown pass with 6:07 remaining to give Florida Atlantic a 14-6 advantage, he got the ball back deep in his own territory with a chance to use up the clock. However, James Radcliffe sacked Hankerson and forced a fumble, which Cody Bauer picked up and ran into the end zone to pull Rice (2-2, 1-0) within 14-12.
Taylor McHarque’s two-point conversion pass was incomplete, but Hankerson was intercepted on the next play from scrimmage and Dillard scored moments later. Hankerson was intercepted again before a last-ditch effort in the closing seconds stalled near midfield.
Rice quarterback Taylor McHarque was 9-for-27 for 66 yards, but led Rice with 71 yards rushing. Hankerson was 22-for-46 for 272 yards.