HOUSTON – Prairie View A&M University football put together a big second half, but it was not enough as the Panthers lost at Rice 65-44 Saturday at Rice Stadium.
Trailing 45-14 at halftime, PVAMU (4-3 overall, 4-1 SWAC) outscored the Owls 30-23 and outgained the FBS opponent 335-218 over the final 30 minutes, but couldn’t close the scoring deficit to less than the final margin.
Jalen Morton accounted for 325 yards (career-high 278 passing, 47 rushing) and three touchdowns in his first career start. Darius Floyd had career highs in receptions (six) and receiving yards (139) with one touchdown, while Dawonya Tucker had two rushing touchdowns for Prairie View A&M.
“I was proud of the guys,” said Prairie View A&M head coach Willie Simmons. “They competed. They fought and played for four quarters, and that’s all you can ask for…There’s some things we have to do better. In the first half, we turned the ball over a bunch, had penalties and gave up some big plays. At halftime, we came in and made some adjustments and got the guys to just play football. When we did that, we played pretty well. In the second half, we outscored them, so there’s a lot of positives to take away from this game.”
Joshua Simmons returned a kickoff 93 yards for a first-quarter touchdown to tie the score at 7-all less than three minutes into game. The Owls (1-6, 0-4 C-USA) took advantage of Panther mistakes in scoring 31 second quarter points to break the game open.
Morton’s 39-yard touchdown run late in the first half gave a spark to the Panther offense, which went on to score touchdowns on five of their final seven full possessions of the game, outscoring Rice 37-23 over the final 33+ minutes.
Morton’s career-long 62-yard touchdown pass to Floyd on the opening drive of the third quarter cut the deficit to 45-21. Following a Rice touchdown, the Panthers’ Treveon Billings blocked the PAT, which was recovered by Terrence Singleton and returned for two points. On the ensuring drive, Quinton Bell caught a 47-yard scoring pass from Morton to cut the deficit to 51-30.
After a pair of Rice touchdowns, Tucker scored a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns on runs of 2 and 32 yards.
The Panthers return to Southwestern Athletic Conference play next Saturday at Jackson State.
Courtesy: PVAMU Athletics