Rice, who was missing its starting quarterback and two other players and were outgained 245 yards to 213, blanked No. 15 Marshall, handing the Thundering Herd their first loss of the season.
This marked Rice's first win over a ranked team since a 27-14 win over then-No. 21 BYU in 1997. According to RedditCFB, Rice's victory could "be the first time in college football history that a 1-win team has shut out a ranked team in the month of December."
While they had not played in three weeks, Marshall was favored by 24.5 points heading into the matchup. Meanwhile, Rice was without starting quarterback Mike Collins, wide receiver and returner Austin Trammell and linebacker Antonio Monterio, per Grant Taylor. Rice reportedly didn't play due to undisclosed injuries unrelated to COVID-19. JoVoni Johnson, who made his first career start last year against Marshall, started instead.
Despite Conference USA's season being eight weeks old, Rice had only played three games up until Saturday. The Owls had to either push back or cancel its last two games due to COVID-19 issues within their opponent’s programs.
Rice had struggled with turnovers this season, but during Saturday's matchup, Marshall was plagued with interceptions, five from quarterback Grant Wells. Rice tallied just one turnover.
Things fell apart across the board for the Thundering Herd. Brenden Knox, who had surpassed 100 rushing yards in five of his six previous games, was limited to 76 yards.
Marshall falls to 7-1, while Rice rose to 2-2.