HOUSTON -- Chase Clement threw for 444 yards and six touchdowns, including three to NCAA record-holder Jarrett Dillard to help Rice hold off Southern Miss in a 45-40 win Saturday.
The Golden Eagles kept their hopes alive after Austin Davis hit DeAndre Brown for his fourth touchdown catch with 17.2 seconds left, but Rice recovered the ensuing onside kick.
Dillard, who pushed his NCAA record for career touchdowns to 54, caught seven passes for 141 yards. The Owls (4-3, 3-1 Conference USA) moved to 3-0 at home and have won two of three after a two-game slide.
Southern Miss (2-5, 0-3) has lost four straight.
Davis was 32-of-61 for 461 yards and threw all four of his touchdown passes to Brown, who had 221 yards receiving. Damion Fletcher had a game-high 120 yards rushing on 17 carries.
After Clement hit Dillard for a 44-yard score to make it 38-26 with 11:45 left, Rice got its final touchdown when James Casey scooped up a fumble from teammate Patrick Randolph and ran it 26 yards to the end zone.
The Owls led 17-12 at halftime behind Clement, who finished the game completing 30 of his 43 passes.