TULSA, Okla. - Ja'Terian Douglas turned a stout Rice defensive effort on its ear, bursting free on a 75-yard run late in the fourth quarter to set up the winning score as Tulsa downed Rice 28-24 at H.A. Chapman Stadium in Tulsa on Saturday.
"It was a heartbreaking game," Rice head coach David Bailiff said. "This team played well, and we led the whole game except the last minute and 30 seconds. It was one where we had some opportunities out there, and we have to take advantage of those opportunities when you play a team like Tulsa. They were there, but we didn't finish."
Tulsa improved to 7-1 overall and kept its conference record spotless at 5-0, while Rice fell to 2-6 and 0-4 in the league. Backup quarterback Kalen Henderson threw for 201 yards and one score, while Douglas finished with 169 yards on the ground. Keyarris Garrett led all receivers with 118 yards on three catches.
The Owls were making a strong bid to snap a five-game losing streak to the Hurricane and a 13-game road losing streak inside Conference USA and never trailed until the game's final moments. They had outrushed the conference's leading ground attack and dominated possession time in the second half, holding the ball for 23:14. The Owls offensive line held the top sack attack in FBS to half their average while rushing for 246 yards. The Rice defense had held Tulsa to just 159 yards on the ground before the fateful possession.
But after finding the end zone three times in the first half, they could capitalize on only one of three scoring chances in the second half, a Chris Boswell 35-yard field goal with 9:24 left in the fourth to break a 21-21 tie. Those missed opportunities came back to haunt the Owls in the game's final moments.
True freshman Luke Turner ran for a career-best 102 yards, all in the second half to set the Owls up with their scoring chances. He carried three times for 27 yards to set up Boswell's 35-yarder and then after a 14-yard Tulsa punt set the Owls up at the Rice 47, Turner carried the ball seven times for 24 yards to set up a 36-yard attempt that was wide left.