MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - The first completed pass of Eric Mathews' career proved the game-winner Saturday night as Memphis slid by Rice 14-10 in Conference USA action.
The win was the first for rookie coach Justin Fuente.
Mathews' strike - an 11-yarder to Alan Cross - put the Tigers (1-4, 1-0) ahead for the first time in the game. Mathews, a transfer from Blinn College in Texas, alternated with Jacob Karam under center, and was 1-of-2 passing in the game.
Mathews' score was preceded by a 5-yard touchdown pass from Karam to Kelwone Malone.
Rice (1-5, 0-3) led 10-0 at halftime. Phillip Gaines recovered a fumble on Memphis' first offensive play and returned it 12 yards for an Owl touchdown. Then Chris Boswell's 36-yard field goal extended the lead.
Playing through heavy rain for much of the game, neither team had more than 245 yards total offense, with Memphis amassing just 81 passing yards.
|RICE||Phillip Gaines 12 yd fumble return (Chris Boswell kick)|
|RICE||Chris Boswell 36 yd FG|
|MEMP||Keiwone Malone 5 yd pass from Jacob Karam (Tyler Spurlock kick)|
|MEMP||Alan Cross 11 yd pass from Eric Mathews (Brandon Hayes kick)|
|Third Down Efficiency||4-16||4-14|
|Fourth Down Efficiency||0-0||1-1|
|Kick Return Yds||46||27|
|Punt Return Yds||-5||21|
|Time of Poss.||25:37||34:23|
|RICE: Turner Petersen 9-56, Charles Ross 7-39, Taylor McHargue 9-6, Jeremy Eddington 3-3|
|MEMP: Carl Harris 15-68, Brandon Hayes 6-51, Jai Steib 12-35, Tevin Jones 3-11, Jaquise Cook 2-9, Eric Mathews 1-3, Team 1--2, Jacob Karam 11--11|
|RICE: Taylor McHargue 16-30-117-0|
|MEMP: Jacob Karam 8-12-70-0, Eric Mathews 1-2-11-0|
|RICE: Jordan Taylor 5-46, Sam McGuffie 5-13, Dennis Parks 2-26, Vance McDonald 2-11, Andre Gautreaux 1-12, Donte Moore 1-9|
|MEMP: Alan Cross 3-35, Keiwone Malone 2-26, Marcus Rucker 2-15, Tevin Jones 2-5|
|Rice||1st Conference USA West||7-1||9-3|
|Memphis||9th American Athletic||1-6||3-8|