HOUSTON – Rice was the underdog heading into Saturday’s road game against a 7-0 Marshall team. Not only because Marshall is ranked, but because Rice was without their starting quarterback Mike Collins and wide receiver Austin Trammel.
But somehow, someway... Mike Bloomgren and the Owls stunned Marshall with a 20-0 win on the road.
“We were exactly who we wanted to be,” said Bloomgren. “It was intellectual brutality all over the field. We knew we were playing a very, very physical team and we knew we had to match and exceed it, and I’m so proud of our guys for doing that today.”
Rice’s defense stepped up. Marshall QB Grant Wells threw five interceptions, most notably a pass that was picked off by Naeem Smith and returned 36 yards for a touchdown.
The Owls defense held Marshall’s offense to just 245 yards.
“I don’t think we’ve ever doubted that this is who we should be, not just could be,” said Rice Linebacker Blaze Allredge. “A big thing I stressed to the team all week was just that we need to believe in ourselves.”
In his first start, quarterback JoVani Johnson finished 10-of-14 for 86 yards.
According to the school, Rice shut out a ranked opponent for the first time since 1960. The Owls are now 2-2 on the season.