Rice, 30, is no novice, having made over 150 appearances in the Conference. He was understudy all last season, but got his opportunity with an injury to number one Michael Poke and repaid his manager's faith with super saves from Peter Leven and James Constable.
Ling said: "I thought Martin Rice came through his League debut with flying colours and made some great saves. He can be very proud of himself."
The draw was a relief for Ling, who has seen The Gulls suffer humiliating 1-0 defeats in the past seven days against Harrogate Town in the FA Cup and bottom club Barnet in League Two.
"It was a hard-earned point," he said. "I thought Oxford had the better chances in the game. But without our main goalkeeper, Martin Poke, and our main striker, Rene Howe, it was good to see the others dig in and come away with something.
"If someone had offered me a draw before the game, with the players we had out and after the week we've had, I would probably have taken it."