When and where: November 10, 2018, Joe Aillet Stadium, Ruston, LA, 7:00 PM ET
The Rice Owls hope to put an end to a nightmarish nine-game losing streak on Saturday when they visit the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs. After getting blown out on the road by Mississippi State, Louisiana Tech could use a little pick-me-up in this favorable match-up against one of the worst teams in college football. Crazier things have happened and maybe the Owls have one last trick up their sleeve. UTEP beat them last Saturday to end a 20-game losing streak. Perhaps they could do something similar against Louisiana Tech.
Rice on the wrong side of history
An already disappointing season got even worse last Saturday when Rice dropped a game at home to UTEP, the only winless team in the FBS this season. Not to mention UTEP was also coming into the game on a 20-game losing streak.
That’s bad even for the Owls.
Quarterback Wiley Green made too many mistakes on offense, and the team wasn’t able to overcome it late in the game, when attempting a fourth-quarter comeback.
— Conference USA (@ConferenceUSA) November 3, 2018
They managed to drop 16 points in the final quarter, and their defense held UTEP’s offense scoreless, but it was too little, too late. The damage had already been done in the second quarter when the defense gave up 20 points. It didn’t help matters that Green also threw two interceptions and receiver Austin Trammell lost a fumble.
Turnovers were the deciding factor in this game as they have been all season for the Owls. If they can’t beat UTEP in their home building, it’ll be hard making a case for them to beat anyone else.
Louisiana Tech ran into a brick wall in Mississippi State
Louisiana Tech has won all of the games they should win on their schedule so far this season. The road game against No. 18 Mississippi State last Saturday wasn’t one of those games.
They were clearly outclassed from a mere talent perspective at every phase from beginning to end. The same running game that pounded Florida Atlantic into dust the previous week was nowhere to be found against Mississippi State’s stout defensive front.
Running back Jaqwis Dancy went from a 116-yard performance to only three carries for 24 yards. That dip in production was mostly due to the fact that Louisiana Tech got behind early and went to a more pass-heavy offense in an attempt to make a comeback. The team also leaned more on senior Kam McKnight, who had 13 carries for 59 yards.
Louisiana Tech’s defense stood no chance against Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald, who finished with 17 completions for 243 passing yards and four touchdowns, along with rushing for 107 yards. However, they did manage to generate consistent pressure in the pocket, which is the only silver lining they can take from that game.
- Bulldogs are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games after allowing more than 40 points in the previous game
- Bulldogs are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games after accumulating less than 170 passing yards in the previous game
- Bulldogs are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games following a loss of more than 20 points
- Bulldogs are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games within their conference
- Owls are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games
- Owls are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games after a loss
- Owls are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games within their conference
- Owls are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 head-to-head meetings with Louisiana Tech
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Louisiana Tech is at home playing against the only team to lose to UTEP in the last two seasons. That’s more than enough reason to take them as a side pick.
Rice is only averaging 19.6 points per game, while opponents are piling an average of 38.5 points on them week-after-week. Louisiana Tech isn’t an offensive juggernaut by any stretch, but they are competent enough on that side of the ball to take full advantage of this match-up.
It should be a redeeming game of sorts for quarterback J’Mar Smith, who was shut down for only 98 passing yards and zero touchdowns last week against Mississippi State. He won’t have the problem of playing against one of the best defenses in the country this week. Teams are averaging 443.5 total yards per game on Rice’s moribund defense.
I also expect Louisiana Tech’s defensive front to continue to be a nuisance this week in the backfield against Green, who has shown a tendency to turn the football over when defenders get in his face. This game will get ugly fast.
Prediction: Louisiana Tech (-25)
Full-Game Total Pick
The over is 6-1 in the last seven head-to-head meetings between Rice and Louisiana Tech. If UTEP can run up 34 points on Rice’s porous defense, Louisiana Tech should have no problem scoring 40-plus points in this game. It’ll be another lopsided over performance that fails to tip in Rice’s favor. The over is 13-5 in Louisiana Tech’s last 18 games played at home.
Prediction: Over (52)