One-time Southwest Conference rivals will meet again Saturday in a nonconference matchup when No. 12 Texas faces Rice. The Longhorns are coming off of an entertaining, albeit tough loss to No. 4 LSU in Week 2. The Owls, meanwhile, dropped their first two games of the season, losing to Army and Wake Forest.
This should be a comfortable win for the Longhorns as they prepare for conference play, but Rice has made noticeable strides compared to last season. Will that be enough to make this game competitive?
Here's how to watch Texas vs. Rice and the storylines to follow for the game. Click here for additional.
Texas: Just about everything we could have learned about Texas early in the season we did against LSU. So, no offense to Rice, but this is more of a get-right game for the Longhorns. The big storyline will be the defense, which lost battle after battle to LSU's passing attack to the tune of 471 yards at 12.1 yards per attempt. Obviously, Rice doesn't have the same weapons LSU does, so Texas' defense needs a bounce-back game. However, it doesn't help that defensive back B.J. Foster is out for at least a few weeks with a hamstring injury.
Rice: The Owls will be without Week 1 starter Wiley Green, who left the Wake Forest game on a cart after taking a scary hit early in the game. Harvard transfer Tom Stewart will play against the Horns after a decent outing in his first effort against the Demon Deacons (19 of 30, 185 yards, 1 TD). The Owls give tons of looks offensively, from jump packages to the spread; however, Stewart is less familiar with the offense, so there are bound to be more simplified calls to get him going. Still, expect Rice to play up for this game. There haven't been many victories lately, but no one can question how hard they've played.
Game prediction, picks
Rice isn't good -- yet -- and is bound to lose every game until at least October. Still, this is an improved team from last year -- improved enough to at least make life a little harder for Texas than it would like. Add in that the Horns are looking to get a win and move on to Big 12 play, the Owls might make things interesting for a bit. Texas will win comfortably in the end, but not before Rice covers a sizable spread. Pick: Rice +30.5
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