HOUSTON (AP) - Purdue opened the season by beating Middle Tennessee State with the help of a blocked field goal as time expired. This week, Rice made the play.
Justin Allen blocked Carson Wiggs' field-goal attempt as time expired and Rice snapped its 10-year losing streak against Bowl Championship Series teams with a 24-22 victory over Purdue on Saturday.
The Boilermakers got the ball near midfield with 1:52 remaining, and three long runs by Ralph Bolden moved them inside the 20. With only seconds remaining, Wiggs lined up for a 31-yard attempt.
``I saw a good snap and hold,' said Wiggs, a preseason All-American. ``It was the same snap and hold we did for the two field goals and extra points we were doing all game. It was good operation. There was no disturbances. It was on the spot. It was a good hit. The outcome should have been OK.'
Purdue (1-1) was content to let the clock run down so that Wiggs' kick would be the final play. But Allen surged through the middle of the line and blocked it with his right forearm, and the Owls' sideline emptied onto the field in celebration.
``It was lost on the field goal,' Purdue head coach Danny Hope said. ``You can pick any spot in the game. All that is speculation. The bottom line is that we had the ball on the 14-yard line, which should be a `gimme' field goal, with an All-American kicker. That's where the game is lost in my mind.'
The Owls (1-1) had lost 22 consecutive games to BCS opponents since a 15-13 win over Duke on Sept. 8, 2001. Rice had not beaten a Big Ten team since a 40-34 win at Northwestern in 1997.
Caleb TerBush completed 18 of 33 passes for 183 yards for Purdue, which needed a last-minute touchdown pass from TerBush to Antavian Edison to beat Middle Tennessee 27-24. Ricardo Allen blocked a last-second field goal in that one.
``It is funny how things turn,' TerBush said. ``It is kind of bitter. We are sitting out here thinking that we are going to get a win.'
The Boilermakers had their chances, driving into Rice territory twice in the third quarter, but came away with nothing.
Owls defensive end Scott Solomon sacked TerBush to push Purdue out of field-goal range the first time. Purdue then drove to the Rice 2, but Akeem Shavers was stopped at the line on fourth down.
``Very seldom do you not take the points,' Hope said, ``but I felt that our team needed the momentum.'
Purdue's defense made a play of its own, tackling Rice running back Charles Ross in the end zone for a safety to make it 24-19.
Taylor McHargue completed 19 of 29 passes for 230 yards and two touchdowns for Rice. The sophomore went 11 for 18 for 138 yards in the first half, then completed his first four throws of the third quarter, including a 19-yard touchdown to Sam McGuffie to put Rice up 24-17.
McHargue converted a third-and-19 with a 35-yard strike to wide receiver Randy Kitchens early in the fourth quarter. Purdue's Robert Maci then sacked McHargue and knocked the ball loose, and Kawann Short recovered with 10:58 left.
TerBush completed three consecutive passes for big gains and Purdue quickly drove to the Rice 13. The Owls' defense stiffened again, and Wiggs' 27-yard field goal cut the deficit to 24-22.
``They played pretty well on defense, but mainly, we couldn't get into a rhythm on offense,' Bolden said. ``There were too many three-and-outs. We have to play better.'
Purdue outgained Rice 366-352, but converted only 6 of 18 third downs. The Owls also recorded four sacks.
``I'm disappointed we lost,' Hope said. ``We made too many mistakes. We have to make more plays. We had our chances. I'm really proud of our football team for coming back in the end and driving the length of the football field to have a chance to line up and kick what should have been an easy field goal to win the game. We should be jumping up and down and hugging right now, but instead, we have a bad taste in our mouth.'
The Associated Press News Service
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