Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#195 Texas vs.
#196 Rice
Saturday, September 14, 2019 at 8:00pm EDT
Written by Scott Reichel

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#195 University of Texas
#196 Rice University
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41
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Week three of college football continues as the Texas Longhorns travel to NRG Stadium to take on the Rice Owls on Saturday, Sep. 14 at 8:00 P.M. These two teams have not met since August of 2015 when the Longhorns beat the Owls at home by a score of 42-28. This series has been very lopsided lately as Texas has won each of the last 13 meetings.

Longhorns Look For Bounce Back Victory

The Texas Longhorns entered the 2019 season with hopes of winning a national championship as well as competing for a conference title. Last season, Texas went 10-4 overall and even went 7-2 in conference before losing to Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship game. However, it managed to bounce back from that loss by beating Georgia in the Sugar Bowl by a score of 28-21. Now, Texas has split its first two games but is still ranked #12 in the nation so its national championship aspirations are still alive and well at this point in the season. Now, Texas gets to feast on a cupcake opponent which should allow it to regain some confidence on the defensive side of the ball after giving up 45 points last week.

The starting quarterback for the Texas Longhorns is junior Sam Ehlinger who looked solid in the first two games of the regular season. So far this season, Ehlinger has thrown eight touchdown passes and zero interceptions as he appears like a dark horse candidate to potentially win the Heisman Trophy. However, he was unable to lead his team to a victory against LSU last weekend as the Longhorns lost a thrilling game by the score of 45-38.

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So far this season, Texas has been great on offense while also being pretty underwhelming defensively. Offensively, the Longhorns rank 32nd in the nation with 492.0 yards per game while also scoring 41.5 points per game which ranks 28th. At the same time, Texas’ defense ranks 94th in the nation in points allowed with 29.5 while also ranking 120th with 493.0 yards allowed per game.

The secondary really struggled against LSU, but head coach Tom Herman thinks that’s fixable.

“Oh, it’s very fixable,” said Herman. “We’ve got talented players that care. Part of it’s not — when you complete passes it’s not always on the secondary. We had some linebackers that were out of position in some underneath coverage as well. Let’s not discount the fact that Joe Burrow had about as good a game as — I mean, he threw the ball in spots and places with the amount of accuracy, it was something to see. We’ve gotta do better though. We’re going to face really good receivers and really good quarterbacks in this league. We’re also not ready to sound all the alarms just yet knowing the caliber of what we just played and knowing that the improvements are not — they’re like you said, they’re certainly fixable.”

Rice Looks To Do The Impossible

The Rice Owls entered the 2019 season with expectations of improving after a terrible 2018 campaign. Last season, Rice went just 2-11 overall and went a pathetic 1-7 in conference play. To make matters worse, the Owls have already lost the first two games of this season and it does not appear that there are brighter days ahead for the program anytime soon. Now, Rice has to face a top-12 team in the country and is projected to lose by about 32 points. The odds of winning this game are almost no-existent but this is college football and crazier upsets have definitely occurred in the past.

The starting quarterback for the Owls is freshman Wiley Green who looked awful in the first two games of the regular season. However, last week, he suffered an extremely scary injury in which he was carted off the field and he is currently being listed as doubtful for this contest. Replacing him will be Harvard transfer Tom Stewart who played in relief last week against Wake Forest as he threw for 185 passing yards and one touchdown with no interceptions.

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So far this season, Rice has been below average on both sides of the ball. Offensively, the Owls rank 120th in the nation with 282.0 yards per game while also scoring 14.0 points per game which is tied for the ninth-lowest in the nation. At the same time, Rice’s defense ranks 82nd in the nation in points allowed with 27.5 while also ranking 85th with 399.0 yards allowed per game.

Best Bets for this Game

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Simply put, I think that Rice is one of the worst FBS teams while Texas is an elite team that has fringe national championship hopes. Texas lost a heartbreaker last week so I expect this team to do whatever possible to humiliate Rice in the hopes of moving back into the top-10 in the AP Poll. Plus, Ehlinger has looked unstoppable so far this season and I expect him to torch Rice for at least five touchdowns. Give me the Longhorns in this game.

Prediction: Texas Longhorns -32

Full-Game Total Pick

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Simply put, Rice’s offense is practically useless and Texas has superior athletes are every position. I expect Texas to score at will but it would not surprise me to see the Longhorns rest all of their starters at some point in the second half. Meanwhile, Rice’s offense has struggled all season long and will be lucky to score more than ten points in this game. I can see this game ending somewhere in the realm of 42-3 so I will lean to the under.

Prediction: Under 56.5
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Written By Scott Reichel

Scott Reichel is a University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate with an insane passion for sports. His commitment to endlessly researching statistics helps separate him from other handicappers with regard to MLB, NBA, NCAAB, NCAAF, NHL and NFL coverage. Scott also shares his passion for sports on StatSalt's YouTube page where he does a daily show called Scott's Selections.