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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) — Jawon Davis rushed for 131 yards and two touchdowns Saturday as Rice picked up its first win of the season 41-23 over Southern Miss.
Driphus Jackson threw for 178 yards and two touchdowns as the defending Conference USA champion Owls (1-3, 1-1).
It was Rice's fourth win in five games with the Golden Eagles (2-3, 0-1), who lost their C-USA opener for the third, consecutive season.
Davis, who averaged 4.5 yards on a career-high 29 carries and accounted for a career-best 169 yards of total offense, was the pile driver of a balanced Rice offensive attack that racked up 217 yards on the ground.
Nick Mullens completed 24 of 45 passes, throwing for career-high 283 yards and a pair of touchdown passes. But he was sacked three times and turned the ball over twice on an interception and a fumble.
All told, Rice forced three turnovers and limited Southern Miss to 40 yards rushing. The Owls also broke up a season-high eight passes.
The Golden Eagles also botched a 39-yard field goal attempt on the last play of the first half.
Davis, who rushed for a career-high 150 yards last week, scored on a pair of 6-yard runs and James Farrimond kicked field goals of 33 yards and 26 yards as the Owls built a 20-10 halftime lead.
Mike Thomas scored his first career touchdown on a 30-yard pass from Mullens for Southern Miss' opening touchdown, and Corey Acosta added a career-long 52-yard field goal.
Jackson threw scoring passes of 40 yards to receiver Mario Hull and 5 yards to tight end Connor Cella in the second half, and running back Luke Turnera added a 1-yard scoring run.
Running back George Payne scored on a 1-yard run for the Golden Eagles, his fourth touchdown in the last two games, and Mullens found receiver James Cox for 10-yard score.