EL PASO, Texas -- 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.
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.