8:00 PM ET, August 29, 2008
Rice Stadium, Houston, TX
HOUSTON -- It was Rice that put up the big numbers in the debut of June Jones' run-and-shoot offense at SMU.
• Rice's 56 points in a season opener were the most since it defeated Galveston AAF 57-0 in 1944.
• Since 2007, the Owls have scored 40-plus points in four of its last five games.
• SMU loses its first game under June Jones and has lost eight straight season openers, a streak that spans three different coaches.
-- ESPN Research
After leading Hawaii to a 12-1 record and a berth in the Sugar Bowl last season, Jones failed to get a win in Game No. 1 with SMU.
"They are good," Jones said, referring to the Rice offense. "They have been doing that for a year and they really exposed us. They have a nice scheme, but we have to play better, do what we are supposed to do and just play better everywhere."
Clement was 24-of-37 for 258 yards, helping the Owls overcome an early 13-point deficit. Clement added 87 yards rushing on 13 carries as the Owls (1-0, 1-0 Conference USA) won their first season-opening conference game since 2001.
"We played a full game tonight," said Dillard, who continued his streak of making at least two catches in every game of his career. "I think that is the first full game that I have been a part of at Rice. With Patrick Randolph and Corbin Smiter each getting their first touchdowns, that really made my job easier tonight."
The Owls defense also got in on the act, as Andrew Sendejo returned an interception of Bo Levi Mitchell 55 yards for a touchdown. Rice forced two fumbles and had three interceptions.
"The defense made some real big plays tonight to put some points on the board," Sendejo said.
Mitchell, a true freshman, was 25-of-43 for 244 yards and three touchdowns. He helped the Mustangs (0-1, 0-1) to a 13-0 lead in the first 13 minutes, hitting Aldrick Robinson and Bradley Haynes with 26-and 19-yard touchdown passes.
But the Owls scored 14 points in the last 52 seconds of the first quarter to take a 14-13 lead. Clement hit Casey with 52 seconds left and added a 35-yard score when he connected with Randolph as time expired in the first quarter.
"Instead of hitting the panic button tonight, we shifted gears," Rice coach David Bailiff said.
Mitchell hit Emmanuel Sanders with a 22-yard touchdown on the third play of the second half to make it 28-20, but that was as close as the Mustangs would get. The Owls added three scores in the next 97 seconds to take a 49-20 lead.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||4-11||10-16|
|4th Down Conversions||0-0||0-0|
|TD||10:55||Aldrick Robinson 26 Yd Pass From Bo Levi Mitchell (Thomas Morstead Kick) |
Drive: 1 plays, 26 yds, :09
|TD||02:00||Bradley Haynes 19 Yd Pass From Bo Levi Mitchell (Pat Failed) |
Drive: 7 plays, 71 yds, 3:28
|TD||00:52||James Casey 7 Yd Pass From Chase Clement (Clark Fangmeier Kick) |
Drive: 6 plays, 73 yds, 1:08
|TD||00:00||Patrick Randolph 35 Yd Pass From Chase Clement (Clark Fangmeier Kick) |
Drive: 1 plays, 35 yds, :04
|TD||09:11||Jarett Dillard 21 Yd Pass From Chase Clement (Clark Fangmeier Kick) |
Drive: 11 plays, 58 yds, 3:54
|TD||04:26||Corbin Smiter 12 Yd Pass From Chase Clement (Clark Fangmeier Kick) |
Drive: 8 plays, 80 yds, 2:25
|TD||13:57||Aldrick Robinson 22 Yd Pass From Bo Levi Mitchell (Thomas Morstead Kick) |
Drive: 3 plays, 23 yds, :56
|TD||09:08||Jarett Dillard 9 Yd Pass From Chase Clement (Clark Fangmeier Kick) |
Drive: 11 plays, 74 yds, 4:49
|TD||08:41||James Casey 1 Yd Run (Clark Fangmeier Kick) |
Drive: 1 plays, 1 yds, :04
|TD||07:31||Andrew Sendejo 55 Yd Interception Return (Clark Fangmeier Kick)||20||49|
|TD||00:33||Jarett Dillard 8 Yd Pass From Chase Clement (Clark Fangmeier Kick) |
Drive: 1 plays, 41 yds, :04
|TD||02:10||Emmanuel Sanders 32 Yd Pass From Logan Turner (Thomas Morstead Kick) |
Drive: 8 plays, 88 yds, 3:43