Long Season Gets Longer in Houston
Published: Monday, October 29, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 29, 2012 23:10
For the first time in 18 years Southern Miss fielded a football team that was guaranteed to have a losing season. The Eagles came into the game one of two winless teams in the nation. The Rice Owls kept Southern Miss on that list.
The Golden Eagles fell to the Owls 44-17 in Houston on Saturday. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Arsenio Favor became the fourth different starting quarterback for Southern Miss this season, an NCAA high. He finished completing 10 of his 22 pass attempts for 180 yards and two interceptions. Favor added 102 yards on the ground with a rushing touchdown.
The two interceptions were two of the five turnovers for the Eagles on the day. Walk-on quarterback Cole Weeks also threw an interception during his brief time replacing Favor. Southern Miss also fumbled twice, once by Favor and once by running back Kendrick Hardy.
Southern Miss matched the Owls in almost every important offensive category. The Eagles gained 372 yards on offense; the Owls gained 370. The Eagles held the ball for 29:55 minutes; the Owls controlled the ball for 28:13 minutes. Both teams converted 19 first downs. The difference in the game was turnovers and big plays.
Rice was led by running back Turner Peterson who rushed for 136 yards, ran for a touchdown and caught a 38 yard touchdown pass. Quarterback Taylor McHargue started the game for the Owls and finished with 80 yards through the air and one touchdown. Driphus Jackson also saw time at quarterback, throwing for 92 yards and two touchdowns.
As a team, the Owls only completed 11 passes. Those 11 passes went for an average of 15 yards a piece and three went for touchdowns.
The Owls used several big plays to earn their first conference win. Rice scored on passes of 38, 35 and 25 yards. With eight minutes left in the third quarter, Paul Porras took a 75 yard interception back for a touchdown. That play killed a nine play drive and any chance of a comeback by the Eagles.
Southern Miss will face the Blazers of Alabama Birmingham this weekend in M.M. Roberts Stadium. UAB currently owns a three game winning streak against the Eagles. It will be the ninth try for Southern Miss for their first win of the season. Only Massachusetts, who is in their first season of Division I play, can match Southern Miss with a winless record.