EL PASO, Texas(AP) Chase Clement threw for 372 yards and accounted for six touchdowns, and Rice matched its best conference record in nearly a half-century with a 49-44 win over Texas-El Paso on Saturday night.
Clement threw five TD passes and ran for a 3-yard score that gave Rice the lead for good in the second quarter. UTEP kept close, and a third touchdown pass from Trevor Vittatoe to Jeff Moturi with 1:23 left gave the Miners hope before their onside kick attempt failed.
Rice (6-3, 5-1 Conference USA) clinched bowl eligibility for the second time in three seasons. Not since 1960 have the Owls been 5-1 in conference play.
Clement threw three touchdowns to James Casey, who finished with 12 catches for 142 yards, and one each to Jarett Dillard and Pierre Beasley.
Vittatoe threw for 265 yards and helped UTEP build an early 17-7 lead in the first quarter before the Owls lurched back to go up 28-20 by halftime.
Moturi finished with five catches for 109 yards.