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DALLAS (AP) 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 on Tuesday 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 (8-5) forced seven turnovers.

“Going to a bowl game, that’s great. But winning a bowl game, that’s what matters,” first-year Texas State coach G.J. Kinne said. “Everything’s better. Your ring’s bigger. You remember it forever.

“I feel like when I took the job everyone talked about the sleeping giant. Well, I think it’s getting ... it’s awake.”

Holloway, one of 56 transfers on Texas State’s roster, played his final two seasons for the Bobcats after three for SMU. The game was played at SMU's home venue, Gerald J. Ford Stadium.

“It’s crazy,” Holloway said. “It’s just the ultimate full circle.”

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, 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.

“If you take away the seven turnovers, you probably have a pretty close football game and a chance to win it,” Rice coach Mike Bloomgren said. “You can’t take those away.”

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.

Early in the third quarter, Jones caught T.J. Finley’s lateral from the opposite side of the field and jogged in for a 31-21 lead.

“I’ve been waiting forever (for the call),” said Jones, one of nine Texas State players who followed Kinne from Incarnate Word in San Antonio. “It was high tempo, so we didn’t have time to think. Honestly, that was the best thing.”

Holloway’s second score occurred less than two minutes later. He 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.


J.T. Daniels’ six-year college football career ended with him helping the Rice offensive coaching staff. He medically retired after suffering his latest concussion during the Owls’ ninth game in early November.

Daniels played for USC from 2018-19 and started his first game as a true freshman. At Georgia (2020-21), he started three games when the Bulldogs won the ’21 national title. He started nine games last season for West Virginia before joining Rice.

He played in 41 games, starting 36, and passed for 9,390 yards. This season, his 271.4 yards per game ranked 21st in the FBS.


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.


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