Rice University clinched its first outright conference title since 1957, running over Marshall 41-24 in the Conference USA Championship Game Saturday.
The Owls (10-3) relied on their ground game to defeat the Herd (9-4), with running backs Charles Ross and Luke Turner doing the bulk of the work. Rice gained 250 of its 489 yards on the ground.
Ross rushed for 109 yards and two touchdowns, upping his season total to 14 and matching the program single-season mark set by Trevor Cobb in 1991. Turner passed for two touchdowns to become the first non-quarterback to record multiple scoring passes in the C-USA Championship Game.
The Owls’ defense was exceptional throughout, limiting the Herd to 371 yards and just 4.8 yards per play. Marshall averaged 53 points during the five-game winning streak it carried into its first C-USA Championship Game appearance, and it amassed 3,009 yards of total offense in November.
A representative from the Liberty Bowl arrives in the Rice locker room to ask the Owls a question I’m positive they said yes to:
“We’re proud to be Conference USA champs after a 57-year drought,” said Rice coach David Bailiff. The Owls accepted a berth to the AutoZone Liberty Bowl in Memphis following the victory. “Just to be outright champions, the amazing thing is this senior class showed us we can. There are new expectations around this football program.”