Let's start with this premise.

Unbeaten and ranked (No. 15) Marshall playing a make up game against a one-win Rice team that was without it starting QB, playing on the road and appeared to be merely finishing up another forgettable football season.

Easy pickings, right?

I know about Rice from my days covering college football for the Dallas Morning News.

I still remember talking to then and now one of many Rice football coaches, Ray Alborn, and asking him why Rice did not cheat like so many other schools in then wild Southwest Conference.

"We do,'' said Alborn with a serious face, which immediately drew my attention. ""but like everything else we do at  Rice, we're no good at it.''

That was more than 30 years ago and not much has changed. 

The Owls, under second year coach Mike Bloomgren, were 2-11 a year ago and had not beaten a ranked team since 1997.

My TMG buddy,  Tom Luicci, felt so good about Rice's ineptness that he had no problems taking Marshall as a 27 point favorite in our weekly Pick Six ventures.

Funny thing happened on Saturday.

  Rice showed up. 

Marshall didn't.

Things started out poorly for the Thundering Herd and got worse. Five interceptions, one returned for a touchdown, less than 300 yards in total offense which wasn't nearly good enough to beat a Rice team which had only been able to play 3 games all season.

Final score

Rice 20 Marshall 0--the first time they had been shut out since being whitewashed by Toledo 42-0 twenty years ago.

For that and  simply because Rice deserves some happy news, the Owls are TMG's Newsmaker of The Week.