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COLLEGE FOOTBALL

First Responder Bowl: Texas State 45, Rice 21

College Football

Associated Press

DALLAS - Linebacker Brian Holloway returned two interceptions for touchdowns, Jahmyl Jeter ran for three scores, and Texas State beat Rice 45-21 in the First Responder Bowl in the Bobcats’ first bowl appearance as an FBS program.

Holloway had a 36-yard pick-6 early in the second quarter and returned his second interception 48 yards for a TD in the third that made it 38-21. Both picks came against AJ Padgett, who was intercepted three times overall. Shawqi Itraish relieved Padgett in the fourth quarter and threw two more picks as Texas State forced seven turnovers.

Jeter had a 29-yard touchdown run and two scores from 1 yard out. Nash Jones, a 6-foot-5, 320-pound offensive tackle, scored on a 3-yard run for the Bobcats (8-5), who are in their 12th FBS season.

Dean Connors scored on runs of 3 and 28 yards for the Owls (6-7), who fell short of their first winning season and first bowl victory since 2014.

Ismail Mahdi rushed for 122 yards on 24 carries for the Bobcats.

Texas State led 14-7 when Holloway stepped in front of tight end Boden Green between the hash marks, and the senior ran in untouched.

Holloway’s second score occurred less than two minutes after Jones caught T.J. Finley’s lateral from the opposite side of the field and jogged in for a 31-21 lead. Holloway made the grab amid midfield traffic, ran toward the right sideline and raced in to become the first Texas State player with two interceptions for touchdowns in a game.

Finley was 15 of 29 for 152 yards.

Padgett was 10 of 21 for 81 yards and a touchdown in addition to the three picks.

THE TAKEAWAY

Texas State: Mahdi, a sophomore, went into the bowl season with an FBS-leading average of 167.8 all-purpose yards per game. He had 34 yards on kick returns to finish with 153 yards, a total diminished by his minus-3 yards receiving on one catch.

Rice: In addition to being intercepted five times, the Owls muffed a pooch kickoff and muffed a punt.

December 26, 2023






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