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
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
Houston's defense sacked Jackson five times and gave up only 69 yards rushing.