The Commodores got on the board in the first quarter on a 31-yard reverse by John Cole.
Rice quickly responded with a 48-yard run by Charles Walsh to tie the score at 7-7.
Late in the first quarter Ryan Fowler's 37-yard field goal put the Commodores back on top, 10-7. However, Rice answered with a second quarter 39-yard field goal by Clark Fangmeier to finalize the first half scoring.
Vanderbilt then drove to the Rice 20-yard-line in the last minute of the half. However, a snap mishap put the ball at the 35-yard-line and out of field goal range. A last second pass by Larry Smith was intercepted by Rice so the two teams headed for the lockerrooms with the score tied, 10-10.
In the second half Vanderbilt capitalized on three inteceptions to outscore Rice, 26-7, in the final half.
Eddie Foster's interception put Vanderbilt in position for Ryan Fowler to make his second field goal of the day, this time from 33 yards, to put the Commodores back up, 13-10.
Later in the third quarter Larry Smith completed a 54-yard pass to Udom Umoh to set up Vandy's second touchdown of the night. Smith ran it in from 6 yards to put the Commodores in command, 20-10.
Early in the fourth quarter freshman tailback Warren Norman delivered a dagger wound to the Owls. Norman galloped 58 yards for Vandy's third touchdown of the day to put visitors up, 27-10, with 12:47 remaining in the game.
Myron Lewis then intercepted Vandy's third pass of the game and second pass of the half to setup a Ryan Fowler's third field goal, this one a 23-yarder. Vanderbilt led 30-10 with 10:57 remaining.
A John Shepherd 12-yard scoring pass to Toren Dixon pulled the Owls to within 13 at 30-17 with 5:57 remaining in the game.
Vanderbilt answered Rice's score with a Kennard Reeves 11-yard run vault the Commodores to a 36-17 lead. A 2-point conversion attempt failed after that score. Myron Lewis intercepted his second pass of the game and the team's fourth interception of the game to snuff out a final Owl scoring threat.
Vanderbilt moves to 4-1 all-time against Rice, and 3-1 in Houston. Vanderbilt has captured the last three games played between the schools.
The Commodores (2-2) will host Ole Miss on Saturday. The Rebels fell to South Carolina on Thursday night.
John Cole runs into the end zone after he ran 31-yards on a reverse. (VM/Stan Jones)