HOUSTON – TJ McMahon threw two late touchdown passes — including a 3-yarder to Cedric Patterson III with 61 seconds remaining — and Rice rallied for a 35-31 victory over Louisiana Tech on Saturday.
Rice (4-8, 3-5 Conference USA) led 14-10 at halftime, but JD Head connected with Smoke Harris for a 5-yard score to give Louisiana Tech (3-9, 2-6) a 17-14 lead midway through the third quarter. The Owls regained the lead on Cameron Montgomery's 7-yard TD run on the ensuing possession, but Head scored on a 22-yard run and the Bulldogs took a 24-21 lead into the final quarter.
Head hit Griffin Hebert for a 6-yard score and Louisiana Tech led 31-21 with 13:10 left to play. McMahon pulled the Owls within three points on a 31-yard scoring strike to August Pitre III with 4:12 remaining. Rice forced a punt with 1:19 to go and Sean Fresch returned it 48 yards to the Louisiana Tech 18-yard line. Three plays later McMahon hit Patterson for the go-ahead score. Head drove the Bulldogs to a first down at the Rice 33, but Gabe Taylor came up with an interception with 12 seconds left to preserve the win.
McMahon completed 12 of 20 passes for 191 yards with one interception for the Owls. Montgomery ran for 95 yards and two TDs — including a 70-yarder that put Rice up 10-0 in the first quarter — on 10 carries.
Head connected on 19 of 35 passes for 270 yards with two TDs and two picks.
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