An early goal from Daniel Johnson was enough for Preston North End to win the points at Ewood Park, despite Rovers bossing the majority of the game.
The boss made a trio of changes for the derby encounter, with Harrison Reed, Derrick Williams and Corry Evans all coming into the starting XI in place of Jack Rodwell, Amari'i Bell and Lewis Travis.
Rovers startd the game well, and after Bradley Dack released Adam Armstrong, the forward beat Darnell Fisher before seeing his left-footed effort drift a yard or two wide of target after just seven minutes.
But a moment later and the visitors took the lead through Johnson.
Lukas Nmecha was the creator, beating the returning Williams to find Johnson lurking in the middle, and the Jamaican cooly slotted into the roof of the net from 12 yards out.
Rovers looked to respond, and Danny Graham glanced a header into the gloves of Rudd, before Alan Browne's effort from range at the other end flew over the upright soon after.
Graham was proving to be a nuisance for the Preston backline, and his looping header was palmed away for a corner, from which Charlie Mulgrew almost scored direct from, but this time his delivery flew just inches past the back post.
Elliott Bennett was next to try his luck on the half hour mark, but saw his strike drift wide, before the same player curled over just before the break.
That meant Alex Neil's side went in with the advantage, despite Rovers having the better of the opening 45 minutes.
Rovers began the second half as brightly as the first, but it was Preston who had the first opportunity of the half when ex-Rover Paul Gallagher danced past a couple of challenges before his tame effort was held well by David Raya.
Graham had the ball in the net with 20 minutes remaining but referee Oliver Langford gave yet another soft decision against Rovers, adjudging Graham to have fouled Jordan Storey in the build up.
Mowbray made his final two substitutions moments later as Mulgrew and Richie Smallwood were replaced by Bell and Joe Rothwell.
Rothwell and Bell instantly linked up to work a move, before the left back's cross was almost turned into his own net by Ryan Ledson, were it not for Rudd's razor sharp reactions to turn the ball around the post.
Time was running out for Rovers to find an equalise, and with three minutes remaining it was Preston who nearly added to their tally, but Evans was in the right place at the right time to stop Alan Browne's header finding the net from Johnson's corner.
At the other end, Armstrong scuffed a volley in the final minute and it was easy for Rudd as that goal continued to evade the hosts.
North End were reduced to 10 men for the final minute of added time, when Fisher was shown a second yellow card for taking down Bell, but that was to be that as a narrow encounter which went the way of our near neighbours on a chilly afternoon at Ewood Park.
Rovers: Raya, Reed (Nuttall, 62), Nyambe, Williams, Mulgrew (c) (Bell, 72), Bennett, Evans, Smallwood (Rothwell, 72), Armstrong, Dack, Graham.
Unused substitutes: Leutwiler, Brereton, Travis, Conway.
Booked: Evans, 58, Reed, 60
Preston North End: Rudd, Fisher, Davies, Browne, Johnson, Gallagher (c) (Stockley, 77), Storey, Hughes, Ledson, Maguire (Barker, 83), Nmecha (Rafferty, 90).
Unused substitutes: Crowe, Earl, Huntington, Ginnelly.
Goal: Johnson, 8
Booked: Fisher, 81, 90.
Sent off: Fisher, 90.
Referee: Oliver Langford
Attendance: 21,577 (7,514 away)