Rice ran over, right through, and around the Miner defense, totaling 306 yards on the ground, as they trounced UTEP 31-14 Saturday night.
Samuel Stewart ran for 89 yards on 16 carries, while Nahshon Ellerbe added 66 yards rushing and a touchdown, as UTEP had no answer for Rice’s misdirection run scheme.
Rice made things look easy on their first drive, going 62-yards on their first six plays. But both Devin Cockrell and Nik Needham came up with sacks on back-to-back plays holding Rice to a Will Harrison 36-yard field goal at the 11:07 mark of the opening quarter.
The Miner offense would sputter on their first two drives, the second would end with a quick three-and-out which set up a short field for the Owls after Ryan Metz was sacked on third down at his own six-yard line.
Sam Glaesmann would cap off a 7-play, 40-yard drive on the ensuing possession with a 5-yard touchdown run putting the Owls up 10-0 with 11:25 left until halftime.
Glaesmann ended the evening 10-for-18 passing for 131 yards and a score.
UTEP’s offensive struggles continued in the second quarter as UTEP put up just 18-total yards of offense in the second quarter, and 51-total yards in the entire first half.
The Miners ran just 23 first half plays, while Rice took a 10-0 halftime lead and put up 192 total yards in the first half, running for 144 yards.
Rice would score on their opening second half drive as Glaesmann found Aaron Cephus on a 52-yard touchdown strike, torching UTEP’s cover-2 as Rice took a 17-0 lead after a the quick 4-play 77-yard scoring drive.
UTEP finally had an offensive answer, as they were able to cross the 50-yard line for the first time since their opening drive of the game and put six on the board.
Facing a fourth-and-one at the Rice 44-yard line, Metz sold a nice play-action fake, and found a wide open Warren Redix streaking down the seam for a touchdown, making it 17-7 Rice with 3:47 left in the third quarter.
Rice went up 24-7 on the ensuing drive with 10-play 87 yard drive capped off by a 3-yard run by Jordan Myers which put the game out of reach.
Ryan Metz went 18-for-33 passing for 203 yards, throwing and rushing for a late touchdown in the fourth quarter. Metz left the game late with a possible shoulder injury, his status is unknown.
UTEP took a major hit on the offensive line in terms injury as Greg Long, and Derron Gatewood had major injuries. UTEP had a number of guys leave the game with injuries, and Sean Kugler did not have an official tally on the number of injuries.
In the end, UTEP ran for just 26 yards on 24 carries, gaining only 12 first downs, and 203 total yards of offense.
Rice ended with 437 yards of total offense, and controlled both line of scrimmages.
The Owls averaged six yards per carry, and picked up 22 first downs on the evening. On defense, they recorded three sacks, and piled up eight tackles for loss in the game.
An 0-2 start stares UTEP in the face while they manage a second straight game in where they were they were punished physically and unable to move the ball on offense.
UTEP will host Arizona next Friday night in the Sun Bowl.