(Saturday, November 29th)
Final Score: Rice 56, Houston 42
Houston, TX (Sports Network) - Chase Clement completed 28-of-41 pass attempts for 381 yards and five touchdowns and ran for another score, as the Rice Owls outlasted the Houston Cougars, 56-42, in Conference USA action at Rice Stadium.
James Casey was Clement's favorite target, hauling in 12 passes for 172 yards and three scores. C.J. Ugokwe led the Owls (9-3, 7-1 C-USA) ground attack, carrying the ball 18 times for 110 yards.
Case Keenum turned in a huge performance for the Cougars (7-5, 6-2), completing 30-of-54 pass attempts for 494 yards and five touchdowns. L.J. Castile led Houston's receiving corps, grabbing five passes for 144 yards and three scores. Kierrie Johnson hauled in six passes for 142 yards and one score, while Tyron Carrier also reached the 100-yard plateau with six catches for 101 yards and a score.
Rice opened up the scoring when Casey plunged into the end zone from one yard out to give the Owls an early 7-0 lead.
Houston responded on its ensuing drive when Keenum and Castile hooked up for a 43-yard touchdown pass.
Rice finished off the first-quarter scoring when Clement ran it in from eight yards out to give the Owls a 14-7 lead.
But the Cougars tied it back up on the opening play of the second quarter, on a two-yard run from Bryce Beall.
The Owls then scored 21 unanswered points, as Clement threw three consecutive touchdown passes. The first was a 53-yard strike to Taylor Wardlow to give the Owls a 21-14 lead. Clement followed up on the Owls' next drive, finding Casey for a two-yard scoring strike, then finding James again for a 23-yard score to make it a 35-14 game.
But Houston would not go quietly, as Keenum capped the Cougars' next possession with a three-yard touchdown pass to Johnson.
The Owls offense continued to roll in the third quarter, as Clement and Casey hooked up for their third score of the day, this time from nine yards out to extend the lead to 42-21
The Cougars answered back on their ensuing drive, as Keenum fired a 22-yard touchdown strike to Castile to make it a 42-28 contest.
Rice wasted little time, scoring minutes later on a 15-yard pass from Clement to Toren Dixon.
The Owls extended their lead to 56-28 in the opening minute of the fourth quarter with some trickery, as Casey threw a three-yard touchdown pass to Wardlow.
Houston cut into the Rice lead early in the fourth quarter, on a 34-yard touchdown strike from Keenum to Carrier.
The Cougars added another late score on a 17-yard pass from Keenum to Castile, but it would not be enough as Rice was able to hold on for the 14-point victory.
The Rice win put an end to a three-game losing streak in the battle for the Bayou Bucket. The Owls still trail Houston, 25-9 in the all-time series.
11/29 20:38:54 ET