HUNTINGTON, W. Va. - Rice University football saw its six-game winning streak come to an end with a 41-14 setback at No. 21 Marshall on a brisk Saturday afternoon at Joan C. Edwards Stadium. The Thundering Herd improved to 10-0 on the season.
Marshall broke Rice's (6-4, 4-2 C-USA) string of four-straight games of scoring first as the Herd kicked a 33-yard field goal late in the first quarter, following a Zach Patt sack on third down, to get on the board. It was just the third time this season, and first time in five games, that the Owls were held scoreless in the first quarter.
The sack gave Patt 8.5 on the season, tying him for second on the program's single-season list.
The Herd then found pay-dirt early in the second quarter to punctuate a 59-yard drive and increased its lead to 10-0. The home team followed that drive up with an 85-yarder to put the Owls in a 17-point hole with another touchdown.
The Owls responded shortly before halftime, as Bryce Callahan picked off his 12th career interception and returned 28 yards it to the Marshall 17-yard line. The Owls needed just four plays to score as Jordan Taylor hauled in an 18-yard catch on third down to set up Jowan Davis' three-yard touchdown run.
Callahan's interception gave him sole possession of fourth place on the program's career list, passing Nathan Bennett and LaDoughyous McCalla. Taylor caught a career-high nine passes (for 88 yards) for a second week in a row and moved past David Houser and James Casey for fourth on the program's career receptions list with 158 catches.
The Herd finished out the second quarter with a six-play, 68-yard drive to tack on a field goal and take a 20-7 lead into the intermission. The 17-point frame was the highest scoring quarter allowed by the Owls on the season.
Marshall picked up where it left off in the third quarter with 14-straight points to up the advantage to 34-7 before the Owls pounced on a fumble on a punt. The recovery by Nick Elder set up favorable field position, but the Owls were unable to convert on downs inside the 10-yard line.
Elder and fellow linebacker Alex Lyons led the squad with 10 tackles apiece. The mark was a career high for both players.
After the Herd tacked on another score, Rice was able to respond with a 75-yard drive capped off by a 10-yard scoring run by Darik Dillard, his eighth touchdown of the season. That pulled Rice within 41-14 closed out the scoring on the day.
The Owls finished the day with a season-low 180 yards of total offense (99 passing, 81 rushing). Marshall racked up 581 yards, including 297 passing yards by Rakeem Cato. The quarterback completed 23-of-37 passes with four touchdowns.
The Owls return home on a short week to host division rival UTEP on Friday night at Rice Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. and the game will be televised nationally on Fox Sports 1.