Key play: Rice linebacker Michael Kutzler stepped in front of a Jake Heaps pass and tipped the ball to himself for a pick-six interception. Kutzler returned the interception 52 yards as Rice took a 7-0 lead.
Key stat: Rice held KU to just 18 rushing yards on seven carries.
Key play: KU’s offense finally showed some life as Heaps hit Tony Pierson for a 77-yard catch-and-run with 9:20 left in the half.
Key stat: Heaps’ TD pass was KU’s longest completion since Todd Reesing and Marcus Henry combined for an 82-yard TD against Oklahoma State in 2007.
Key play: Safety Isaiah Johnson set up KU’s first lead on a 31-yard interception return to the Rice 16-yard line. Moments later, Heaps’ quarterback sneak gave KU a 14-13 lead.
Key stat: It was the first career interception for Johnson, a junior-college transfer.
Key play: Chris Boswell’s 56-yard field goal with 8:05 to play put the Owls back ahead by two points. The lead reached nine on Rice’s next drive.
Key stat: KU managed one first down in its first two drives of the fourth quarter.
Offense: D. After two weeks, the jury is still out on the KU passing game. It’s not that transfer Jake Heaps has been totally worthless; he’s been continually hindered by an inconsistent receiving corps. For now, though, it appears KU has to find more ways to involve its running backs in every facet.
Defense: A-. While the KU offense was mostly silent during the first half, the KU defense kept the Jayhawks in the game, holding Rice to just two field goals. The defense wasn’t flawless, but linebacker Ben Heeney and an inexperienced secondary made enough plays to win.
Special teams: C. There were no crippling errors, but KU had a punt tipped, and sophomore kicker Matthew Wyman couldn’t convert what could have been an important field goal.
Coaching: C-. Something is wrong with the Kansas offense, and Charlie Weis is the offensive coordinator. The KU defense played inspired football on Saturday, but the offense is severely lacking. It's Weis' job to fix it.
Player of the game: Rice running back Charles Ross finished with 157 yards rushing on 27 carries, controlling the tempo for an Owls offense that was limited to just 178 yards in the air.
Reason to hope: For the second straight week, a revamped secondary looked like one of KU’s bright spots. Even without juco transfer Kevin Short, who was ruled ineligible this week, the group looked sound. Sophomore safety Isaiah Johnson had a big interception, and junior cornerback Dexter McDonald was solid.
Reason to mope: Where do the victories come from? Rice won a bowl game last year, and was favored on Saturday. But after playing Louisiana Tech next week, KU will have to find some wins in the Big 12 to avoid another two- or three-win season.
Looking ahead: KU returns home next Saturday to play host to Louisiana Tech at 11 a.m. at Memorial Stadium.