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NCAA Game Summary - Rice at Southern Mississippi

(Wednesday, October 3rd)

Final Score: Rice 31, Southern Mississippi 29

Hattiesburg, MS (Sports Network) - Jarett Dillard caught a pair of seven-yard touchdowns, and the Rice Owls held off a fourth-quarter rally by Southern Mississippi to edge the Golden Eagles, 31-29, in Conference USA action at Roberts Stadium.

Chase Clement completed 9-of-20 passes for 67 yards and a pair of touchdowns and Justin Hill rushed for 100 yards on 12 carries with a touchdown for the Owls (1-4, 1-0), who earned their first win of the season, as they had dropped all four of their previous contests, including a 58-14 beating at the hands of nationally-ranked Texas on September 22nd. Tommy Henderson had a 28-yard reception as head coach David Bailiff earned his first win at the Owls helm.

After starting quarterback Martevious Young injured his ankle on the game's third play, Stephen Reaves completed 24-of-44 passes for 231 yards and a touchdown but got picked off four times for USM (2-3, 1-1), which concluded a three-game road swing by dropping a 38-16 decision at Boise State last Thursday. Damion Fletcher rushed for 143 yards on 23 attempts and scored twice, while Chris Johnson had seven receptions for 51 yards.

Trailing 31-7 after three quarters, Southern Miss came alive in the fourth. Going 80 yards on seven plays, the Golden Eagles scored on a two-yard touchdown run by Marcus Raines and converted the two-point conversion.

After Rice was forced to punt, Fletcher ran in a 15-yard score to culminate a 10-play, 95-yard drive with 4:31 remaining. Another two-point conversion cut Southern Miss' deficit to 31-23 heading down the stretch.

Britt Barefoot then successfully executed an onside kick, recovered by USM on its own 43-yard line. The Eagles took advantage of the play by scoring on an eight-yard touchdown reception from Shawn Nelson. But, after Rice again was forced to punt, Reaves fumbled with 1:07 left, allowing Rice to run out the clock and escape with the win.

Rice needed only three plays, capped by a seven-yard touchdown reception by Dillard, to get on the scoreboard with 3:16 remaining in the first quarter.

A five-yard touchdown run by Fletcher finished a seven-play Southern Miss drive just 35 seconds into the second quarter, tying the score at seven. Less than a minute later, however, Hill broke free for a 54-yard touchdown dash.

James Casey's two-yard touchdown run with 3:20 left in the second gave the Owls a 21-7 halftime advantage.

Rice picked up where it left off, scoring 5:25 into the second half on Dillard's second seven-yard touchdown reception, and a 36-yard field goal by Clark Fangmeier put Rice ahead, 31-7, heading into the fourth.

10/04 00:36:56 ET

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