Nick Fanuzzi passed for four touchdowns as the Rice Owls snapped a nine-game losing streak with a 28-20 win Saturday over the Tulane Green Wave.
Fanuzzi completed 15 of 24 passes for 218 yards, including touchdown passes of 32, 70, and 29 yards to Toren Dixon. He also hit Pierre Beasley on a 17-yard touchdown pass as the Owls (1-9, 1-5) climbed out of last place in Conference USA with their first win of the season.
Green Wave quarterback Ryan Griffin threw for 261 yards and three touchdowns as Tulane (3-7, 1-5) dropped its second straight game in the series against the Owls to fall to 14-17-1 against Rice.
Tulane had a chance to tie the game early in the fourth quarter, when Griffin hit Casey Robottom with a 31-yard touchdown pass. But on the point-after attempt, Green Wave holder D.J. Ponder bobbled the snap.
With less than a minute to play, the Owls iced the game when Fanuzzi connected with Dixon for another touchdown.
The Green Wave led 14-7 at the half and scored twice in the opening quarter before the Owls recorded a first down.
The Owls cut the lead in half early in the second quarter when Dixon got behind the Green Wave defense and caught a pass inside the 10.
Fanuzzi and Dixon hooked up again on the second play of the third quarter, and Rice tied the game with a 70-yard touchdown pass.
After blocking a punt on Tulane’s next drive, the Owls took their first lead of the game when Fanuzzi found a wide open Beasley in the end zone for a 21-14 score.