It isn’t “Remember the Alamo” that will spur Marshall on for the final two weeks of the season.

It’s more like “Remember Houston.”

In order for the Thundering Herd (4-6, 3-4 Conference USA) to reach bowl eligibility, it must sweep its season series against teams from The Loan Star State. The next step will take place Saturday when Marshall visits Rice (7-3, 5-1).

Kickoff from Rice Stadium in Houston will be 3:30 p.m. Eastern time.

After back-to-back losses to East Division rivals East Carolina and Central Florida, the Herd ventures back into the West to close out the year. The last time Marshall played a West team was Oct. 28, when it shut down Case Keenum and Houston 37-23.

That game can be used as motivation against the Owls and next week against Tulsa, coach Mark Snyder said.

“It showed we can play with anybody in the league,” Snyder said Monday on the C-USA coaches teleconference.

The Herd will be trying to overcome last Saturday’s devastating 30-14 loss to UCF. Snyder said he was happy with the play of his defense, but poor play by the offense and on special teams proved the difference.

“When we have been successful, we have been able to do the things that we do well and not turn the ball over,” Snyder said. “We will have to do that again this week.”

Sustained drives and ball security would appear imperative in order for the Herd to have any shot of beating the Owls.

Reducing quarterback Chase Clement and wide receiver Jarett Dillard to spectators is a must. Clement and Dillard are the most prolific passing duo in NCAA history, connecting for a record 48 touchdowns during their Rice careers.

Clement is third in the conference in passing at 311.6 yards per game. He is 304-of-451 for 3,116 yards, 32 touchdowns and just six interceptions. Clement is also second in total offense at 362.6 per game.

Dillard is tops in the league at 109.3 receiving yards per game. He has 69 catches for 1,093 yards and 17 touchdowns. The NCAA’s career leader in TD receptions (57) and games with a touchdown (36), Dillard was named a Biletnikoff Award semifinalist last week for the second time in his career.

As a team, Rice is third in total offense (462.0) behind Tulsa and Houston.

“They are outstanding,” Snyder said. “Chase Clement is leading that offense and has run it very efficiently. He has a weapon outside; we all know about Jarett Dillard. He is special.

“And the ‘X’ factor is James Casey. He is kind of their Superman. He has played tight end, wideout, running back, quarterback. He does a little bit of everything.

“Coach (David) Bailiff has done a good job with that offense.”

Daunting as the task may be, Marshall has been here before.

“I think the Houston win can definitely help us from a psyche standpoint,” Snyder said. “We are playing two very good teams from the West side. If we perform well, we should be up for the challenge.”

— E-mail: gfauber@

register-herald.com

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