HOUSTON, Texas (9/27/08) Chase Clement threw five touchdown passes and rushed for two of his own to lead the Rice football team to a 77-20 win against North Texas on Saturday night at Rice Stadium.
North Texas falls to 0-4, while the Owls improve to 3-2. Rice ties the series at 1-1. The 77 points is the second-most points given up by a North Texas football team. The Mean Green gave up 79 points last year to Oklahoma.
The Rice Owls combined for 502 yards of total offense, including 328 passing yards. Clement threw for 298 yards, completing 22-of-28 passes.
Rice forced six turnovers, resulting in five Owls touchdowns. The six Mean Green turnovers are the most since North Texas joined the Sun Belt Conference.
North Texas had a good early start offensively, scoring three times in the first half to stay within eight points of Rice, 28-20. The Owls scored the next 28 points of the half, including 14 off two NT fumbles, to enter half ahead, 56-20. Rice shutout the Mean Green in the second half, 21-0.
Back-to-back defensive touchdowns by Rice in the third quarter put the game out of reach for the Mean Green. Giovanni Vizza threw three interceptions in the game, all in the third quarter. The North Texas quarterback had not thrown an interception in the first three games of the season. Vizza completed 25-of-39 passes for 251 yards.
Vizza distributed the ball to seven different receivers. Casey Fitzgerald and Sam Dibrell led the receiving unit with seven catches each. Riley Dodge caught a personal-best four passes.
Cam Montgomery ran for two touchdowns in the first quarter. The touchdowns were the first two of the season for the running back. His first touchdown was a one-yard run, answering the Owls’ first scoring drive. The second was a 15-yard scamper, cutting Rice’s lead to 21-13.
A 50-yard pass from Clement to Toren Dixon put Rice on the scoreboard just two minutes into the game. After the first Montgomery TD, the second Rice drive found Clement connecting with Jarett Dillard for a three-yard touchdown to give Rice a 14-6 lead.
The Owls made the Mean Green pay after North Texas decided to go for it on fourth down on its second drive. Rice sacked Vizza for a loss of nine and then marched down the field in 48 seconds for a third score. Clement tucked the ball and rushed for a 25-yard touchdown run.
Clement began the second quarter with a 30-yard touchdown strike to Dillard, his second TD reception of the game. Vizza responded with a touchdown pass of his own, a seven-yard throw to Lance Dunbar. Unfortunately, the Mean Green was unable to keep up with the Owls after the Dunbar touchdown.
Back to back fumbles by North Texas inside the Mean Green 20-yard line at the end of the second quarter gave Rice two easy scores. Dillard capped the scoring for Rice in the first half with his fourth touchdown reception of the day, a four-yard pass by Clement.
Clement threw his fifth touchdown pass at the start of the third quarter and then Rice returned two Mean Green interceptions for touchdowns to make the score 77-20.
North Texas opens conference play at home on Saturday, October 4 at FIU at 6 pm at Fouts Field.