Rice Owls (5-6) vs. North Texas Mean Green (6-5)
The 2022 college football regular season will close down Saturday, November 26, and the Rice Owls head to Apogee Stadium in Denton, Texas, to face off against the North Texas Mean Green in the Conference USA showdown.
The Owls opened as 13-point road underdogs, but that went up to 14 points by the time of writing. The totals went down from 62.0 to 59.0 points, so let’s take a closer look.
Rice lost two in a rowAfter a 37-30 home victory over UTEP in Week 10, the Rice Owls (5-6; 6-5 ATS) have dropped two straight games at Western Kentucky 45-10 and to UTSA 41-7. Last week, the Owls got trounced by the Conference USA-leading Roadrunners, who had a 41-0 lead at the end of the third quarter. Rice racked up just 230 total yards and turned the ball over three times while rushing 32 times for a paltry five yards.
“When things aren’t going well for your football team and you have a chance to have a spark, the defense gets a turnover and then you’re driving and you get the ball down to the four or five-yard line, you call a couple of really good plays, you feel like there are some things there -- but you just don’t get it done,“ Rice head coach Mike Bloomberg said. “As good as anything draws up or as open as anyone is, none of those matters. We have to make sure we have all 11 executing.“
Junior QB Wiley Green completed four of his five passing attempts for 26 yards last week before exiting with a season-ending injury. With fellow junior signal-caller TJ McMahon already on the shelf, the Owls turned to freshman Shawqi Itraish, who went 9-of-19 for 89 yards and an interception. Freshman QB AJ Padgett finished the game, going 7-of-18 for 110 yards and a touchdown.
The Owls hope McMahon will return for the Mean Green game, but his status is still up in the air. McMahon has thrown for 2,102 yards, 18 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions through ten appearances this season. Junior RB Ari Broussard, who’s scored nine touchdowns so far this term, has missed the previous four games with an injury and is listed as questionable to play in Week 13.
North Texas looks to clinch a berth in the C-USA championship gameThe North Texas Mean Green (6-5; 7-4 ATS; 5-2 conf.) are coming fresh off a bye, looking to secure a spot in the Conference USA championship game with a victory over the Rice Owls. Back in Week 11, the Mean Green suffered a 41-21 defeat at the UAB Blazers as 6.5-point road dogs to stop a two-game win streak. They also failed to cover for the first time in seven games.
North Texas missed running backs Oscar Adaway III and Ayo Adeyi in Week 11, so Ikaika Ragsdale led the charge with 17 totes for 74 yards. Austin Aune completed 15 of his 32 passing attempts for 159 yards and a touchdown and rushed seven times for six yards and a TD, while Damon Ward Jr. had six receptions for 58 yards and a TD. North Texas couldn’t cope with UAB’s ground game, yielding 271 rushing yards on 51 totes, and the Blazers outgained the Mean Green 505-264 in total yardage.
Adaway and Adeyi have combined for 1,314 yards from scrimmage and ten touchdowns so far this season. The Mean Green hope that one of these two guys will return for a must-win contest against Rice. Aune has thrown for 2,912 yards, 29 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions, while freshman tight end Var’keyes Gumms has accounted for 397 yards and five scores on 28 catches.
The Mean Green’s offense ranks 20th in the country in points scored (35.7 per game) and 12th in total yards (482.0). North Texas is yielding 31.3 points per contest (110th in the nation) on 269.0 passing yards (112th) and 185.1 rushing yards (109th).
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Rice leads the nation in turnovers, and the Owls have turned the ball over a staggering nine times over the previous two weeks. And with all the injury problems in their quarterback room, the Owls have scored just 17 games through their previous two contests. They might improve against the Mean Green’s leaky defense if TJ McMahon returns under center, but I don’t think that would be enough, especially if North Texas’ gets one of its top two RBs back.
I’ve mentioned how important this game is to the hosts. The Owls are desperate for a win, too, seeking bowl eligibility, but I’m going with the Mean Green and their dynamic offense to make the difference. Rice is yielding 5.0 yards per carry and will struggle to cope with North Texas’ offensive line.
Full-Game Total Pick
If the Owls have to start their third-string quarterback, I would go with the under on the totals. Before the Mean Green allowed 41 points to UAB in Week 11, they’ve yielded just 27 points over a couple of games against Western Kentucky and Florida International.
The betting trends are suggesting the over, though four of the last five encounters between Rice and North Texas have gone under the total. The over is 7-2 in North Texas’ last nine games and 12-3 in Rice’s previous 15.