HOUSTON -- Emmanuel Esukpa had a career-high 173 yards rushing and a score and Jack Fox kicked a 23-yard field goal as time expired to help Rice beat Prairie View A&M 31-28 on Saturday night in the season opener for both teams.
Esukpa came in with 74 carries for 317 yards rushing and three touchdowns in his career. Austin Walter added 11 carries for 83 yards and two scores for Rice, which finished with 310 yards rushing and nearly doubled Prairie View (20:21) in time of possession.
Aston Walter, on third-and-4 from the 37, broke three tackles before being tripped up at the 11 to set up Fox's winner.
Anthony Ekpe's strip-sack of Jalen Morton was recovered by Dylan Silcox at the Prairie View 25 and four plays later Austin Walter scored on an eight-yard run to trim Rice's deficit to 28-26 early in the fourth quarter. Prairie View went three-and-out on its ensuing possession and a high snap on fourth down resulted in a safety that made it 28-all with 10:15 to play.
The Owls, who lost 10 consecutive games to close last season, scored on each of their first four possessions to take a 19-7 lead late in the second quarter. Prairie View scored two touchdowns in the final 93 seconds of the first half and then Bernard Good's 27-yard scoring run on the Panthers' first possession of the second half capped an eight-play, 94-yard drive and gave PVAMU a 28-19 lead midway through the third quarter.
Rice's Mike Bloomgren, who was hired on Dec. 6, won his first game as a head coach.
Virginia Tech has dismissed defensive end Trevon Hill from the team.
Both Urban Meyer and James Franklin's squads came away with a victory over the past two seasons when the electrifying Ohio State-Penn State rivalry game was played.
Ohio State AD Gene Smith has denied a report that the Buckeyes are looking to make Ryan Day the coach-in-waiting behind Urban Meyer.
Jordan Love threw for a career-high 356 yards and two touchdowns to help Utah State rally for a 42-32 win over Air Force on Saturday night.
Cole McDonald threw five touchdown passes to four different receivers and Hawaii limited Duquesne to just 166 total yards as the Rainbow Warriors beat the Dukes 42-21 on Saturday night.
John Baron made three field goals, including the winning 38-yarder in overtime, to help San Diego State beat Eastern Michigan 23-20 on Saturday night.
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