Rice Football and Louisiana Tech played to the wire last season. Could this year be different? How to watch, key stats, x-factor picks and more.
Neither Rice football nor Louisiana Tech saw action this past Saturday, although both were originally scheduled to play. North Texas pulled out of its game with Louisiana Tech and UTSA left Rice without an opponent. Fresh from a week of rest, both schools will be eager to get back to the field this coming Saturday.
We’ll preview Rice football vs Louisiana Tech on Episode 60 of The Roost Podcast which will be released on Thursday. Find us on the podcast page or wherever you like to listen to podcasts. (And consider leaving us a 5-star review while you’re at it.)
Make sure you check out Inside the Hedges, a weekly show with myself and former Rice football quarterback Taylor McHargue. Watch it live on Wednesday nights at 7:00 p.m. here or watch it at your leisure on the Rice Athletics Youtube page.
Join the Conversation
What are your keys to victory this week? What pitfalls must the Owls avoid? Did you like that third down call? Share your thoughts on the matchup on the forum and make sure you tune in Saturday for our live game blog keeping track of every score and key moment.
Sizing up the contenders
Rice football is off to an encouraging start, but their delayed season and recent postponement leave the Owls with just two games under their belt entering the Nov. 14 road trip to Ruston, LA. Rice hasn’t won in Ruston since 2013, the year they won their most recent conference championship. A win would put them near the top of the standings, necessary with potential games against divisional leaders UAB and Marshall still on deck.
Louisiana Tech also has conference championship aspirations, but they have less wiggle room to work with than the Owls. The Bulldogs already have two conference losses and narrowly escaped Houston with a win last year.
All Time | Louisiana Tech leads 9-4
Last Five | Louisiana Tech leads 5-0
Last Meeting | Home 2019, Louisiana Tech won 20-14
Rice Stat Notables
Passing | Collins – 30/52 (57.7 percent), 475 yards passing, 8 TD, 1 INT
Rushing | Otoviano – 45 carries, 195 yards (4.3 yards per carry)
Receiving | Trammell – 10 receptions, 219 yards (21.9 yards per reception), 5 TD | Myers – 6 receptions, 65 yards (10.8 yards per reception)
Tackles | Alldredge – 21, Montero – 17, Garcia – 13
Pass Breakups/Interceptions | Devones – 1 PBU / McCord – 1 INT
Louisiana Tech Stat Notables
Passing | Anthony – 110/176 (62.5), 1208 yards passing, 13 TD, 4 INT | Allen – 52/75 (69.3), 482 yards passing, 4 TD, 3 INT
Rushing | Tucker – 82 carries, 336 yards (4.1 yards per carry), 2 TD
Receiving | Hardy – 33 receptions, 440 yards (13.3 yards per reception), 4 TD | Harris – 23 receptions, 223 yards (9.7 yards per reception), 3 TD
Tackles | Grubbs – 72, Baldwin – 64, Williamson – 45
Pass Breakups/Interceptions | Woods – 5 PBU, Williamson – 3 INT
Louisiana Tech X-Factor | How many quarterbacks?
Luke Anthony started the season for Louisiana Tech. Aaron Allen is the most recent of the Bulldogs’ quarterbacks to complete a pass. And it’s not quite as simple as Anthony being benched in favor or Allen, both have been in and out of the lineup over the course of the year. Shuffling passers isn’t an ideal long-term solution, certainly not against a secondary that quieted Jack Abraham last time out.
The challenge for Louisiana Tech head coach is the lack of separation. Both guys have shown flashes and both have had rough outings. The tandem have left the Bulldogs with a middle-of-the-road offense, averaging 26.4 points in conference play.
With the rushing attack ranked dead last in C-USA and the Rice run defense being particularly stout, Louisiana Tech absolutely has to find a quarterback that can attack Rice downfield. Otherwise, it’ll be tough sledding, even at home.
Rice X-Factor | Bring the pressure
Rice only registered one sack against Southern Miss, but the Eagles’ quarterback Jack Abraham felt the pressure before being knocked out of the game before halftime. Sacks have been hard to come by for this Rice front seven in recent years, but the early showings in 2020 have been positive.
Neither Louisiana Tech quarterback possess the mobility of someone like Middle Tennessee’s Asher O’Hara. If the Owls can pin their ears back and go after the passer they’ll have a better chance of producing a repeat performance of their last time out. Over the past three seasons, O’Hara remains the only current starting C-USA quarterback to throw for multiple touchdowns on the Rice defense.
Injury Report (Subscribers only)
The Roost’s 2020 Rice Football Season Preview has four pages dedicated to every opponent the Owls face. There are depth charts, important new arrivals and depth chart breakdowns for every team in Conference USA. Better yet, it’s not just speculation, each profile was created with insight from local experts who cover those teams day in and day out. Pick up your copy today and get four pages and more than 1,000 words on every foe.
Pick ‘Em Contest
If you haven’t yet, make sure you submit your entry for The Roost’s weekly pick’em challenge. Choose an answer to each of the six questions below and submit them on the forum thread to enter.
- Will Rice commit more than four accepted penalties?
Yes / No
- How many third downs will Louisiana Tech convert?
Over 8.5 / Under 8.5
- Which team registers the longest play from scrimmage?
Rice / Louisiana Tech (or tie)
- How many players throw a pass in this game
Over 2.5 / Under 2.5
- How many Rice wide receivers catch at least three passes?
One / Two / Three / Four or more
- Who wins?
Rice / Louisiana Tech
One Final Thing
Louisiana Tech is going to pose a tougher challenge to Rice than UTSA. The Bulldogs have been up and down this year, but their road win over UAB speaks volumes. This is a team that can hit the high notes when they’re playing well, and one that has historically been able to capitalize on Rice mistakes.
Rice has the opportunity to seize some real momentum with games against North Texas and UTEP on deck. They best not look too far ahead, though, because in this strange, shortened season, every opportunity is magnified. At no fault of your own, you might not play the next game.
There have been a lot of firsts for Mike Bloomgren and his staff this year. Back-to-back 30 point games was a nice starting. The first win over a (presumptively) bowl-bound team would be a nice feather to add to the cap. It’s the next hill to climb, but one that doesn’t feel insurmountable.