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Rice vs. FIU,
10-20-2018 - Prediction & Preview

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Game Snapshot with Current Line

#351 Rice
Owls
#352 FIU
Panthers

Saturday, October 20, 2018 at 7:30pm

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

Game Stats

Rice Owls

1 - 6

2-5
ATS
5-2
O/U
19
PPG
39
OPPG

FIU Panthers

4 - 2

5-1
ATS
2-4
O/U
35
PPG
23
OPPG

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Where and when: Riccardo Silva Stadium, Miami, FL, 7:30 PM ET

The Rice Owls hope to reverse their fortune in a road game on Saturday against the Florida International Golden Panthers. Since winning the season-opener against Prairie View, Rice has been on a six-game losing skid with their most recent loss coming at the hands of UAB in a 42-0 shutout. FIU, on the other hand, is coming off back-to-back wins over Arkansas Pine-Bluff and Middle Tennessee State.

Offense continues to tank for Rice

You can’t win games if you can’t score points.

Rice has been outscored 62-3 in their last two games combined, leaving little hope of an immediate turnaround. They were held to only 186 yards of total offense against UAB. Even if they had one of the best defenses in the country, which they clearly don’t, no team is winning in college football with that kind of offensive production.

Senior quarterback Shawn Stankavage, who has struggled all season, only mustered 79 passing yards and finished with a QBR of 9.7 before exiting the game early with an injury. Freshman quarterback Evan Marshall’s luck wasn’t any better, as the suffocating UAB defense held him to 57 passing yards and a 5.2 QBR.

Running back Austin Walter was also a non-factor for a second straight week on the ground with only 31 rushing yards on 19 carries. The offensive line doesn’t escape culpability considering how often they get pushed around up front.

As for Rice’s defensive unit, they couldn’t stop a cold.

Morgan playing his best stretch of football for FIU

FIU senior quarterback James Morgan has been nothing short of amazing in the team’s last two games. After throwing for 341 yards and four touchdowns against UAPB, he threw for 311 yards and two touchdowns against MTSU. His ability to open up the passing attack has added a whole new dimension to FIU’s offense.

But can it continue?

That will be the main question in the weeks that follow. While Morgan has been lights out in the last two weeks, those performances didn’t come against great defenses. It won’t on Saturday, either.

He’ll likely have an opportunity to pull off the hat trick with another 300-yard performance against Rice’s porous defense.

However, he wouldn’t have to constantly be counted on to put on the red cape if FIU could develop some form of a consistent rushing attack. Running backs Napoleon Maxwell and D’Vonte Price are hit and miss coming out of the backfield. Price rushed for 110 yards and two touchdowns against UAPB and only had 31 yards on the ground against MTSU.

Meanwhile, Maxwell has been on a milk carton since his 104-yard and two-touchdown performance against Massachusetts back in mid-September. He was held to only 45 yards on 13 carries last week.

The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet
Rating:

Stankavage isn’t expected to play on Saturday, which leaves an already bad offense without its starting quarterback. Marshall’s inexperience as a starter won’t do him any favors going into a hostile environment in Miami and trying to lead his team to a victory. He definitely won’t get any help from a defense allowing an average of 39.1 points and 440.3 total yards per game. I’m expecting another standout game from Morgan and maybe even some better contributions from Maxwell and Price.

Rice isn’t particularly strong on defense against the run or pass, setting FIU’s offense up for what could potentially be its best showing of the season.

I expect FIU wideout CJ Worton to take advantage of Rice’s secondary and have his third 100-yard receiving performance in the last four weeks. He’s a big-play receiver that clearly seems to be on the same wavelength as Morgan. The pairing will turn in another spectacular display of offensive fireworks as they help the Golden Panthers cruise to their third consecutive win.

Prediction: Florida International Golden Panthers (-24)

Full-Game Total Pick
Rating:

Rice won’t be able to keep pace with FIU’s offense, but they should be able to at least put points on the board this week. FIU is fairly generous in its allowance of 23.8 points per game, and even with a freshman quarterback, I could still see Rice scoring a couple touchdowns. The over is 29-10 in Rice’s last 39 games on the road against teams with a winning record at home.

Prediction: Over (52.5)

Jordy McElroy

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