At halftime, former Memphis head coach Charlie Bailey (1986-88) was recognized. Along with Bailey, close to 90 players were on hand to honor their former coach.
Prior to returning a fumble 12 yards for a touchdown on Memphis' first play from scrimmage in the 2012 game, the last Rice defensive play in Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium also resulted in a touchdown, a 69-yard interception return.
For the second time this season, Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium experienced a weather delay. Lighting extended halftime by an additional 17 minutes.
The win marked the first for Memphis' first-year head coach Justin Fuente.
The last time Memphis won a Conference USA contest at home was on October 10, 2009 in a 35-20 victory over UTEP.
Sophomore quarterback Eric Mathews started his first series this season early in the second quarter. Jacob Karam had started the first 50 offensive series for Memphis this season, including the first four of Saturday's game.
Keiwone Malone scored his second receiving touchdown and third career TD with a five yard pass from Jacob Karam with 7:50 left in the third quarter. The touchdown pass is the sixth of the season for Karam and eighth of his career.
Mathews first career pass completion was an 11-yard touchdown toss to Alan Cross that put the Tigers out in front 14-10 with 3:01 to play in the third quarter. The play marked Cross' second touchdown reception of the season.
Jordan Devey played three different offensive positions during the game (started at left tackle and also played both left guard and then right guard during the game).
Redshirt-freshman Carl Harris led the team with a career best 68 yards rushing on 15 attempts. Redshirt-junior Brandon Hayes also had a career best with 51 yards rushing on six attempts with a long run of 29 yards, the longest run from scrimmage by the Tigers this season.
Redshirt-freshman Alan Cross led the team with 35 yards receiving on three receptions with a long of 21 yards and a touchdown.
The Memphis offense controlled the clock for a season best 34 minutes and 23 seconds. It is the Tigers longest time of possession since the season opener in 2011 against Mississippi State on September 1, 2011.
Rice entered the game averaging 445 yards of total offense - 196 rushing and 249 passing. The Memphis defense held the Owls to 221 yards of total offense, 104 rushing and 117 passing.
Memphis held Rice to just 221 total offensive yards. The last time the Memphis defense held a team to 221 yards or less of total offense was on November 22, 2008, against UCF when the Tigers held the Knights to 194 total yards.
Memphis held Rice to just 104 yards rushing. The last time Memphis held a team to 104 yards rushing or less was last year against Tulane on October 22, 2011, when the Tigers held the Green Wave to 82 yards. It also marked the last Conference USA victory for Memphis.
Memphis held Rice to just 117 yards passing. The last time the Tigers held a team to 117 yards passing or less was on Sept. 20, 2008, when the U of M held Nicholls State to 47 yards.
Rice wide receiver Sam McGuffie came into the game leading the Owls with 303 receiving yards for an average gain of 13.8 yards. Memphis held him to just 13 yards on five receptions for an average of 2.6 yards.
The Memphis defense held Rice to just three points in the game. Seven of the Owls 10 points came on a fumble return for a touchdown. The last time the Tigers' defense held a team to three points or less came on Sept. 20, 2008, against Nicholls State in a 31-10 victory.
Redshirt-freshman Tank Jakes registered his first career sack and the second of the season by the Tigers this season on the final play of the third quarter. Jakes finished second on the team with six tackles, all solo, tying a career high.
Martin Ifedi registered the Tigers second sack in the game and his second in as many games. He sacked Taylor McHargue for a loss of 10 yards in the Owls last drive of the game to help seal a Memphis victory. Ifedi finished with five tackles and led the team with two tackles for loss.
Redshirt-senior Mitch Huelsing led the Tigers with seven tackles, including a pass breakup.
SPECIAL TEAMS NOTES
Tom Hornsey's first punt went for 38 yards and was downed at the Rice seven. The kick marked the junior's eighth inside opponents' 10-yard line this season. Hornsey also had a 60-yard punt downed at the eight in the first half while another in the second half was downed at the one. For the game, Hornsey had six punts for an average of 40.7 yards, including three inside the 20.
Cannon Smith recovered a special teams' fumble for the second straight game.