Saturday, August 30, 2014

Football Falls in Season Opener at No. 17 Notre Dame

In the season opener, Rice University football put forth a strong effort but fell at No. 17 Notre Dame, 48-17, in front of 80,795 fans at Notre Dame Stadium.

After falling behind 7-0 in the first quarter, the Owls quickly responded with a 65-yard scoring drive, highlighted by a 30-yard pass from Driphus Jackson to Dennis Parks and punctuated by Zach Wright's first-career touchdown, a 26-yard snag.

The tie game lasted just 12 seconds, as the Irish's Everett Golson connected on a 75-yard strike to Will Fuller to put the home team back in front, 14-7 near the end of the opening frame.

That score held for nearly 15 minutes before James Hairston kicked his first-career field goal, a 33-yarder, with five minutes remaining before the half to pull Rice within four points.

Notre Dame responded three minutes later with an 86-yard drive to up the score to 21-10 with just 2:33 left in the opening half. Rice drove to midfield on the ensuing possession before committing the game's first turnover with 21 ticks left on the clock.

Two plays after regaining possession, Golson connected with C.J. Prosise on a 53-yard touchdown pass to give the home team a 28-10 lead at the intermission. ND scored all 10 points in the third quarter to push the advantage to 38-10, and tacked on a fourth-quarter field goal before the Owls responded.

Later in the fourth, Tyler Stehling entered at quarterback and completed the first pass of his career to true freshman James Mayden for a 53-yard touchdown strike, cutting the score to 41-17 midway through the period.

Notre Dame added one more score late in the game on a three-play drive, providing the final 48-17 margin.

Jackson finished the day with 163 yards on 13-of-24 passing with one touchdown and an interception. He also rushed for a team-high 61 yards on 11 carries, including a 19-yarder.

Jowan Davis added 33 yards on a team-high 14 carries, while Brandon Hamilton added 29 yards on six rushes.

Zach Patt made his first start at defensive end and led the team with a career-high six tackles, including one sack and a quarterback hurry. Safety Jaylon Finner also made his first start and matched Patt's six tackles and assisted on a tackle for loss. Gabe Baker also made six tackles and added a pass breakup in the game.

Notre Dame owned a 576-367 advantage in total yards, including 281 on the ground.

Rice has a bye on Sept. 6 before closing out the road trip at Texas A&M on Sept. 13.

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