It’s a matchup between a pair of Conference USA programs in a crossover matchup from the Volunteer State. The Rice Owls are on the road as they travel to face the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders Saturday afternoon. Rice was defeated 20-7 by Marshall on the road in their previous contest on November 2: they had a bye last week. Middle Tennessee was dropped 34-20 on the road by Charlotte in their previous contest on November 2: they were off last week. This marks the first time that the two teams have met on the gridiron as Division I teams.
Rice Owls Look to Get Back on TrackRice suffered their ninth straight loss to open the season as they were stifled by Marshall. The Owls, who are 0-9 overall and 0-5 in conference play, hope that they can regroup after a bye. Rice led 7-3 five minutes into the second quarter but failed to put any more points on the board in the loss. The Owls gave up the go-ahead score 47 seconds after taking the lead and never regrouped. Rice was outgained 391-231 and lost the time of possession battle 33:08 to 26:52 in the contest. Both teams finished with 18 first downs and neither side committed a turnover in the game.
The Owls are 118th in the nation in passing offense with 161 yards per contest while they are 122nd in rushing offense with 111.7 yards per game. Rice is 127th in the FBS in scoring offense with 14.9 points per game while they are 74th in the country by allowing 28.1 points per contest. Wiley Green is 75 of 142 passing for 787 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions. Tom Stewart is 49 of 87 for 538 yards with four touchdowns and one pick on the year while JoVoni Johnson is 10 of 17 for 97 yards and a score while adding 97 yards on the ground. Aston Walter leads the team in rushing with 112 carries for 509 yards and five scores. Charlie Booker contributes 63 carries for 188 yards and Nahshon Ellerbe chips in 20 carries for 116 yards and a score. Austin Trammell leads the team with 46 receptions for 559 yards plus three scores. Brad Rozner contributes 39 receptions for 551 yards plus two scores while August Pitre III chips in 16 grabs for 137 yards and two scores. Chris Barnes is six of eight on extra points and four of six on field goals with a long of 37. Will Harrison is seven of eight on extra points and two of five on field goals with a long of 28 while Antonio Montero hit his lone extra point of the season.
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders Hoping to Pick Up Home WinMiddle Tennessee was taken down by Charlotte on the road in their previous contest before the bye. The Blue Raiders dropped to 2-3 in Conference USA action with the loss and hope to get back to .500 in conference action with a win here. Middle Tennessee took the ball down the field after the opening kickoff to take a 7-0 lead but gave up the next 34 points. The Blue Raiders were unable to rally and took the loss. Middle Tennessee was outgained 440-333, lost the first down battle 25-15 and was dominated 38:55 to 21:05 in time of possession in the contest. The Blue Raiders turned the ball over twice while failing to record a takeaway.
The Blue Raiders are 81st in the nation by averaging 217.1 yards per game through the air this season while they are 47th in rushing offense with 181.2 yards per contest. Middle Tennessee is 91st in the FBS in scoring offense by averaging 24.9 points per game while they are 93rd in scoring defense as they allow 31.1 points per contest. Asher O’Hara is 152 of 246 passing for 1,792 yards with 13 touchdowns and six interceptions on the year: he leads the team with 757 yards and seven scores on the ground. Chase Cunningham is 15 of 30 for 162 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Terelle West has 26 carries for 235 yards plus three scores while Jayy McDonald adds 29 carries for 188 yards and a score. Ty Lee leads the team with 32 receptions for 281 yards and a score. Jarrin Pearce (31 receptions, team-high 414 yards, two TD), Jimmy Marshall (19 grabs, 278 yards, three TD) and Zack Dobson (16 catches, 242 yards, three TD) are secondary options. Crews Holt has hit 24 of 26 extra points and eight of 10 on field goals with a long of 43 this season.
The top trends for this game according to Covers.com:
- Owls are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games following a straight up loss
- Owls are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 conference games
- Owls are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games overall
- Blue Raiders are 6-1 ATS vs. a team with a losing record
- Blue Raiders are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games in November
- Blue Raiders are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 home games vs. a team with a losing road record