Houston vs. Rice fearless prediction and game preview.
Date: Saturday, September 1
Game Time: 12:00 pm ET
Venue: Rice Stadium, Houston, TX
Network: CBS Sports Network
Houston (0-0) vs. Rice (1-0) Game Preview
A win is a win is a win.
After going 1-11 last season – finishing up with a ten-game losing streak – and with a new coaching staff taking over, starting out the year 1-0 is terrific.
Okay, so Rice needed a massive comeback to avoid an embarrassing loss to Prairie View in a 31-28 Owl win, but at least the program matched last season’s win total.
Houston has won four straight against Rice going back to 2010, but this year, it has its sights on something a whole lot bigger than taking down the crosstown school.
Helped by a slew of good transfers, and with an NFL defensive tackle in Ed Oliver to anchor an improved defense, the Cougars are supposed to put up a fight in the American Athletic title chase. With Arizona up next and Texas Tech to follow, there’s a whole lot of fun ahead.
First, they have to be just a wee bit better than Prairie View.
One Reason Why Houston Will Win
The offense should be able to throw at will.
Nothing against Prairie View A&M – it’s going to be in for a solid FCS season – but Rice needed to be good enough to stop the Panther passing game, and it struggled.
QB Jalen Morton threw for 244 yards and three scores and ran for 53 more. And that’s where D’Eriq King comes in.
The quick, multi-talented Cougar quarterback should take what Morton did to a whole other level. He’ll run for first downs, he’ll spread the ball around, and he should be able to get the offense moving for a full four quarters – unlike Morton was able to do.
The Cougar O should be able to rip through the Owl back seven without a problem.
One Reason Why Rice Will Win
Can the Owl running game somehow get through the Houston defensive front.
Yeah, Ed Oliver is amazing, and the rest of the D line is strong, but under new head coach Mike Bloomgren, the Owls are into pounding away and establishing the ground attack.
Enter the 230-pound bullish back Emmanuel Esukpa, who ran 32 times for 173 yards and a score, to go along with Austin Walter and his 83 yards and two touchdowns.
Rice has to own the ball for over 35 minutes, keep its defense off the field, and pray it can run for somewhere close to the 310 yards and three scores it did against Prairie View.
What’s Going To Happen
No … Rice isn’t going to run for those 310 yards and three scores, and it’s not going to run for over six yards per carry this week, either.
The Owls are going to have to try opening it up after Houston gets up early, and they won’t be able to do it.
Houston will come out hot, get up to a big first quarter lead, and will coast from there.
Fearless Prediction & Line
Houston 41, Rice 17
Line: Houston -25, o/u: 55.5
ATS Confidence out of 5: 2
Must See Rating: 2
5: Mission Impossible – Fallout
1: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again