It was a tale of two halves as the Texas Southern football team fought to the final whistle with 28 second half points as they dropped a 48-34 decision to Rice on Saturday evening inside Rice Stadium.
Rice would open the game with a big play as Cedric Patterson III caught a 73-yard pass from Jake Constantine for a 7-0 lead after the PAT. Rice would return to the endzone midway through the first quarter as they hit on several big plays which set up a 1-yard run from Jordan Myers.
The TSU defense came up with two big plays late in the first quarter as Marquis Walker capped off the drive with an interception. On the ensuing offensive drive, TSU drew a pass interference from Rice and marched all the way to the Rice 5 before settling for a 26-yard field goal from Richard Garcia III. The momentum though was short-lived as Rice responded with an 11-play, 63-yard drive to move ahead 20-3 in the second quarter. As the quarter came to a close, the TSU defense came up with a big play as Tim Walton recovered a Rice fumble at the TSU 39 with 17 seconds left. Quarterback Andrew Body found receivers Jyrin Johnson and Jonathan Giles for 15 and 19-yard passes, respectively which set up a 45-yard field goal from Garcia III to close out the half down 20-6.
Rice would open the second half with a touchdown to extend its lead to 27-6 after the PAT. However, TSU refused to back down as Body found wideout Ke’Lenn Davis for a 68-yard bomb which set up a 3-yard touchdown run by Body and a 27-13 deficit. Rice would respond with an eight-play, 78-yard drive to move ahead 34-13 to end the third quarter.
Body found Jyrin Johnson for a 39-yard strike to open TSU’s final drive of the third quarter which landed the ball at the Rice 36. Body would find Giles for a big 10-yard reception on fourth down to extend the drive as TSU would open the fourth quarter with a 4-yard touchdown pass from Jalen Brown to Giles and a 34-20 deficit after Garcia III’s PAT. TSU’s Perry Wells recovered a Rice fumble on the ensuing kickoff as TSU had the ball at the Rice 25 and a chance to cut the deficit to one touchdown. However, Rice picked off the pass to end the threat two plays in.
Rice extended its lead to 41-20 after a 64-yard from Myers at the 9:43 mark. The Body to Davis connection went to work once again as Davis caught passes of 21 and 43 yards which moved TSU to the Rice 11. Kevin Harris would run it in from 11 yards out as TSU trailed 41-27 after the touchdown.
Rice answered with a nine-play, 75-yard touchdown drive for a 48-27 lead but Body kept on ticking as he found Derek Morton for a 48-yard reception which set up a 6-yard run from Body. Rice would run out the clock on its final drive to close out the contest.
TSU finished with 461 (357 P, 104 R) total offensive yards as Body passed for 353 yards on 19-of-35 passing with one interception. Davis had a career-high seven receptions for 181 yards followed by five from Giles. Body led all rushers with 62 yards on 16 carries and two touchdowns.
Julian Marcantel led TSU defensively with 10 tackles while Calvin Henderson had seven tackles.
TSU is back in action next Saturday for Homecoming 2021 against North American University. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. at Durley Stadium on the TSU campus.