Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#193 Rice vs.
#194 Texas
Saturday, September 18, 2021 at 8:00pm EDT
Written by David Delano

The Texas Longhorns will host the Rice Owls on Saturday in an interstate non-conference match-up. Texas enters this game 1-1, coming off a 40-21 loss to Arkansas. The Rice Owls are 0-2 and also played Arkansas this year losing 38-17 in the season opener.

Rice and Texas last met on September 14, 2019, with Texas winning 48-13 as a 32-point favorite.

Rice looking to compete for four quarters

The Rice Owls went 2-3 in Conference USA last year and brought back six offensive and eight defensive starters. The Owls opened the season with a 38-17 loss to Arkansas as a 19.5 point dog and followed that up with a 44-7 loss to Houston as a 7.5 point dog.

Last season, Rice averaged 23.4 points and 331.6 yards per game. This year, Rice picked up 308 yards against Arkansas but only 212 yards against Houston. Rice has a split quarterback situation. Third-year Freshman quarterback Luke McCaffrey who transferred in from Nebraska, went 5 for 10 for 75 yards against Arkansas and 9 for 19 against Houston with a touchdown and three interceptions. The other QB option is sophomore Wiley Green, who went 12 for 25 with 152 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions against Arkansas but did not attempt any passes against Houston.

On defense, Rice held its opponents to 18.8 points and 341.6 yards per game. The Owls gave up 373 total yards to Arkansas and 393 against Houston.

Texas dominated by Arkansas

After finishing last season with a 7-3 record and a 5-3 mark in the Big 12, The Texas Longhorns fired Tom Herman after four years as their head coach. The new head coach is Steve Sarkisian, who spent his last two seasons as the offensive coordinator & quarterbacks coach for Alabama. Sarkisian spent five seasons as Washington's head coach from 2019-13 and led the USC Trojans in 2014 and for a portion of the 2015 season.

Texas was picked to finish third behind Oklahoma and Iowa State in the Big 12 preseason poll. The Longhorns ranked second in the Big 12, scoring 42.7 ppg last year, and returns eight starters on that side of the ball. The Longhorns returned six starters on the defensive side of the ball. In 2020, Texas led the Big 12 last year with a +1 turnover margin, was second allowing 475.4 yards, and sixth giving up 28.5 points per game.

The Longhorns started strong, defeating the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns 38-18 as an 8.5 point favorite. Texas outgained Louisiana 435 to 358 in total yardage for the game.Hudson Card made his first career start at quarterback and went 14 for 21, throwing for 224 yards with two touchdowns. Card also ran for a touchdown.

Last week, the Longhorns took a step back and was upset 40-21 as a seven-point favorite against Arkansas. The Razorbacks outgained the Longhorns 471 to 256 in total yardage, with the Razorbacks rushing for 333 yards against the Texas defense. Offensively Texas ran the ball 41 times for 138 yards with three touchdowns. The passing game struggled, picking up just 118 yards, with Hudson Card going 8 for 15 with 61 yards in the loss.

Junior Casey Thompson is expected to start at quarterback against Rice. Thompson went 4 for 5 with 41 yards and a touchdown against Lousiana and 5 for 8 with 57 assigned yards against Arkansas while adding 44 yards and two rushing touchdowns.

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Full-Game Side Bet

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Texas was dominated by Arksans last week and trailed 33-7 after three quarters, where Rice was tied with the Razorbacks 17-17 going into the final quarter. Although Rice is a much more talented team than Rice, the Longhorns still have some serious questions at quarterback, and Rice has a solid enough defense to keep this game respectable.

Although Rice was beaten both straight-up and against the spread in each of its games, the final scores could have been closer. Rice led Arkansas 17-7 close to midway in the third quarter before allowing 31 unanswered points in the games' final 23:11. Against Houston, Rice trailed 17-7 at the half but was lit up 27-0 in the second half, which included Houston scoring on a 90-yard pick-six on the very last play of the game to make the score look even worse. After being outscored 31-0 in the fourth quarter so far this year, I will expect the Owls to have a little better luck late to get the cover.

Prediction: Rice Owls +26.5

Full-Game Total Pick

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Texas has combined for 56 and 61 points with opponents in each of its first two games, and Rice has combined for 55 and 51 points. Both teams still have questions at quarterbacks, which means I expect to see each squad fighting for points for the entire 60 minutes regardless of who is in the game.

Texas has played to the over in six straight games against a team with a losing record, and the over is 8-2-1 in RIce's last 11 games played in September.

I will take Texas 38-17 in this game, sending the total over.

Prediction: Over 53
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Written By David Marotta , "David Delano"

David Delano is a Bowling Green State University graduate with a passion for sports, traveling, and music. David loves to handicap MLB, NFL, NCAAF, NCAAB, NBA, WNBA, and is also a big fan of boxing and track and field. Over the years, David has worn several hats in the sports world, from being behind the camera to writing, filming, editing, scouting, and coaching, along with servicing his clients as a sports handicapper.  He is also an expert sports bettor. We are glad to have David on our Winners & Whiners team, and we recommend that you follow along with him every day.