The Mustangs (5-4, 4-1 Conference USA) blocked three kicks. After Sterling Moore blocked one as time expired in the first half, Bryan McCann returned the ball 74 yards for a score, giving SMU a 21-20 halftime lead. McCann's score helped SMU erase a 13-point first-half deficit.
Defensive end Margus Hunt blocked an extra point attempt and a field goal attempt by Rice (0-9, 0-5).
McNeal scored on a 9-yard run in the fourth to give SMU a 31-20 lead. Rice narrowed the SMU lead to 31-28 with 1:47 left when Nick Fanuzzi threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Toren Dixon and the Owls converted the 2-point conversion.
Mustang quarterback Kyle Padron finished 17 of 24 for 234 yards and one touchdown. Fanuzzi completed 29 of 42 for 250 yards and three touchdowns.