HOUSTON – The Prairie View A&M University football team lost on the final play of the game at Rice, falling 31-28 at Rice Stadium.
Quarterback Jalen Morton completed 16 of 28 passes for 244 yards and three touchdowns, and rushed 12 times for 53 yards. WR Tristen Wallace caught five passes for 157 yards and a touchdown to lead all receivers. RB Dawonya Tucker rushed 10 times or 73 yards while catching two passes for nine yards.
“I thought it was a hard-fought game,” said PVAMU head coach Eric Dooley. “We had a couple of turnovers (fumble, snap out of the end zone) that change the complexity of the game. That’s football – limiting turnovers and creating turnovers. Overall, I’m proud of the kids. They fought hard.”
Trailing 16-0 in the second quarter, the Panthers’ offense found its groove scoring touchdowns on four consecutive possessions. PVAMU got on the board with a six-play, 75-yard drive, ending in Zarrian Holcombe’s 20-yard touchdown catch cut the deficit to 16-7 with just over nine minutes to play in the first half.
Following a Rice field goal, the Panthers drove 69 yards in seven plays. Jose Medrano’s first career touchdown catch from two yards out cut the deficit to 19-14 with less than two minutes to play until halftime.
The Prairie View A&M defense forced a three-and-out before the offense scored again. A six-play, 69-yard drive ended with Wallace’s 20-yard scoring pass to give PVAMU its first lead of the season at 21-19 just before halftime.
On the first possession of the second half, the Panthers extended its lead. An eight-play, 94-yard drive ended with Bernard Goodwater’s 27-yard scoring run on his only carry of the game to give Prairie View A&M its largest lead of the game, 28-19, with just over eight minutes to play in the third quarter.
Rice scored the final 12 points of the game in the fourth quarter, including a 23-yard field goal on the final play of the game, for the final margin.
“It was our first opportunity to get out and see how we measured up against another FBS opponent,” Dooley said Monday, recapping the game. “I thought the players came out, fought hard and played well, but we had a couple of mistakes that cost us. When you’re playing an FBS opponent, you have to make sure that you capitalize…and try to be mistake free to give yourself a chance to win the game.”
The Panthers return to action Sunday in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge facing North Carolina Central in Atlanta. Kickoff is at 11 a.m. CT, with the Panther Sports Network radio broadcast beginning at 10:30 a.m. at pvpanthers.com/sportsnetwork.
“It’s going to be a lot of energy, and we are definitely focused for this game,” said Dooley. “We know we are going against a worthy opponent, a team that was in the Celebration Bowl two years ago, and a team that’s been at the top of their conference the last four years. We know we have a huge challenge ahead of us. The guys understand and we’ve put last week’s game behind us, are moving forward, and look to do better things.”