Oct. 16, 2011
Tron Martinez scored from four yards out with only 1:49 remaining to give Marshall a come-from-behind 24-20 Homecoming victory over the Rice Owls at Joan C. Edwards Stadium in Huntington, West Virginia on Saturday.
The late score was set up by an Owls fumble deep in their own territory as Rice was looking to run out the clock and take a victory back to Houston. Running back Sam McGuffie, who led the Owls with 70 yards on the ground and had put them in the lead with a four-yard run of his own late in the third quarter, had the ball stripped from behind by Marshall's Vinny Curry at the Rice 23. Five plays later, Martinez scored to clinch the game for The Herd.
Marshall started fast and took a 17-6 lead into the locker room, but Rice roared out of the break to score a pair of touchdowns and surge to 20-17 lead. After forcing a punt on Marshall's opening possession of the third quarter, the Owls marched 86 yards in six plays to score their first touchdown.
Taylor McHargue ran the ball twice for 32 yards to move the ball to midfield. He then found Vance McDonald alone downfield while he was evading the Marshall pass rush and hit the junior receiver for a 49-yard touchdown. The score was the 12th TD reception of McDonald's career, moving him into a tie for ninth on the Rice career chart.
The Rice defense got the ball right back, forcing a three-and-out, and setting up the Owls at the Rice 21.
McHargue twice found Mario Hull for gains totaling 44 yards to set Rice up at the Marshall 13. From there, McGuffie did the rest of the work, covering nine yards on first down and then putting the Owls into the lead from four yards out.
Rice's defense again rose up on Marshall's next possession, stopping The Herd on a four-and-one at the Rice 31. McHargue and the Owls were on the move again, but he lost his grip on a passing attempt from the Marshall 47 and after the ball was bobbled several times, Marshall was awarded possession at the Rice 25.
That threat quickly subsided when Paul Porras picked off a deflected A.J. Graham pass on first down to give the Owls the ball right back.
The two teams then traded punts through the bulk of the fourth quarter until Curry's strip of McGuffie proved to be the Owls undoing.
Rice returns home next Saturday to host Tulsa at 6 p.m. as part of the annual Rice Families Weekend.