Start Time: 8:00 P.M. ET, Saturday, Sept. 12
Location: Royal Texas Memorial Stadium, Austin, Texas
TV: Longhorn Network
Records: Rice 1-0, Texas 0-1. Texas leads the overall series 71-21-1.
Live Stats: here.
Betting Line: Rice +15. Over/Under: 50.5.
Rice Outlook: The Rice Owls pulled out a dominant 56-16 win over FCS program Wagner with a +231 total offensive yards margin.
Rice absolutely dominated on the offensive side of the ball with 543 total yards and 7.2 yards per play in the win. Quarterback Driphus Jackson (10-19/123/1TD) looked effective in the air in finding six different receivers on the night. Running the football was much more effective with the Owls carrying the ball 54 times for 401 yards, a 7.4 yards per carry average. Austin Walker (12/107/1TD), Darik Dillard (15/93/2TD), and Jackson (13/79/1TD) combined for 279 of the 401 total rushing yards.
285 total yards for the opponent, regardless of any level, is a great defensve performance. Rice held Wagner to 4.8 yards per play, 13 total first downs, and 16 total points. Alex Lyons (5.5 tkl, 1.5 tfl) and JP Thompson (5 tkl) led the way for a defense that accumulated nine tackles for loss, two sacks, one interception, and one forced fumble.
Texas Outlook: The Longhorns are coming off of one of the most disappointing performances in a very long time, losing to Notre Dame 38-3 in week one.
The Longhorns were brutally bad on offense in accumulating only 163 total yards, 3.1 yards per play. The only bright spot in the rushing attack was Johnathan Gray (8/40/0TD) and his 5.0 yards per carry. Taking his numbers away from the Texas totals and the rushing attack only rushed for 20 yards on 21 carries. Quarterback Tyrone Swoopes (7-22/93/0TD) struggled in this season opener with over half of his overall passing total coming on one play. Daje Johnson (6/45/0TD) was the only receiver to make more than one catch.
With a terrible offensive performance came an equally terrible defense with the Longhorns giving up 527 yards of total offense. Notre Dame averaged 7.0 yards per play during the blowout win over Texas. Peter Jinkens (10 tkl, 1 tfl, 1 sack) led the way with 10 tackles as Mali Jefferson (9 tkl, 2.5 tfl), Dylan Haines (7 tkl), and Jason Hall (7 tkl, 2 tfl) all making more than five tackles. Overall, the Longhorns made nine tackles for a loss and one sack.
Prediction: With a line of 15, it seems that many are overlooking the Owls in this matchup. Texas got absolutely manhandled in their season opener versus Notre Dame and are on the lookout for a tough Rice team. Rice played a solid season opener and should come into the week two game confident and ready to make a Conference USA statement. I am going for the upset. Rice wins.