Huntington, WV (SportsNetwork.com) - Rakeem Cato threw touchdown passes to four different receivers and 21st-ranked Marshall stayed unbeaten with a 41- 14 drubbing of Rice in a rematch of last year's Conference-USA title game.
Marshall (10-0, 6-0 C-USA) avenged its loss to Rice last December and stayed on course for a perfect season. The Thundering Herd went 13-0 back in 1999 with Chad Pennington under center, and they will be favorites in their final two regular season games against UAB and Western Kentucky.
Cato, who broke Pennington's school record for career touchdown passes, completed 23-of-37 attempts for 297 yards with an interception, while Devon Johnson ran for 199 yards and a score in the convincing victory.
Rice (6-4, 4-2) watched its six-game winning streak come to a crashing halt thanks to a grand total of 180 yards of offense. Driphus Jackson completed just 11-of-23 passes for 99 yards
Justin Haig's 33-yard field goal accounted for the only points in the first quarter, and a pair of Cato touchdown passes in the second made it 17-0.
Cato hit Ryan Yurachek for a short TD off a play-action fake, then found Hyleck Foster on a deep post route for a 25-yard score.
A rare mistake by Cato led to Rice's only productive drive of the opening half. Bryce Callahan intercepted an underthrown ball and returned it 28 yards to the Marshall 17-yard line, and Jowan Davis barreled across the goal line from three yards out with 2:04 left in the half.
Devon Johnson's 42-yard run set up Haig's 21-yard chip shot just before the break, and Cato hooked up with Eric Frohnapfel for a 30-yard TD early into the second half to eclipse Pennington's 15-year old record.
Johnson's 2-yard run made it 34-7 later in the third quarter, and Cato put an exclamation point on his big day with a 7-yard scoring strike to Deon-Tay McManus.
Rice's Darik Dillard ran for a late touchdown.
Pennington threw 115 touchdown passes from 1995-99 ... Marshall has won 13 straight at home ... The Owls' last win against a ranked opponent came on Oct. 11, 1997 when they downed No. 21 BYU ... Frohnapfel led all receivers with 107 yards on six catches.