The Longhorns and the Owls will face off on Saturday at NRG Stadium for the first time since 2015. Texas is currently riding a 13-game win streak against the Owls, and look to continue the trend on Saturday. All signs point to a positive outcome against the Owls, which should allow plenty of young Texas players to see some action before opening conference play against Oklahoma State. The Owls, however, would love nothing more than to beat Texas for the first time in 25 years. Our staff predicts the outcome of the Week 3 matchup below.
Texas rolls into Houston to face an 0-2 Rice Owls team after losing an emotional fight to LSU at home. The consensus expectation is for Texas to steamroll the Owls, which they should, but how long does it take to get things going at NRG? Will Texas start flat or will they come out swinging? These are legitimate questions of Tom Herman’s team three years into it. It’s the kind of game where we learn the mental focus and drive of this team and its leader, Sam Ehlinger.
The Longhorns win this game – and handily, despite a rash of injuries, but how they start is what I’ll be looking for.
Prediction: Texas 48, Rice 13
In Tom Herman’s first two seasons at Texas, the Longhorns had a reputation of playing down to their competition. In my opinion, one of the traits of a great team is the ability to blow out lesser opponents. Rice is probably the 2nd worst team Texas has faced in the Tom Herman era (San Jose State in 2017). The Owls lack firepower on offense and can’t stop anybody on defense. The only thing that makes me think this may not be a total blowout is the style of offense the Owls will play. They will likely try to grind out 12 and 13 play drives and shorten the game. I don’t imagine them being very successful, but it is what they will try to do. Regardless, Texas should win this game in convincing fashion.
Prediction: Texas 45, Rice 10
This is a bigger game for this team than people think. This is a game that will get the Horns experience playing in big, loud venues other than their own. I expect NRG Stadium to be 80% Texas fans on Saturday and I expect a great performance over Rice in a bounce-back game. Expect some new faces to get involved early as injuries are expected to keep a few starters out of this one. The defense could struggle early but find their rhythm after a couple of series.
Prediction: Texas 48, Rice 10
The Texas Longhorns need to answer some questions which emerged from the loss to LSU last week. Rice isn’t the toughest opponent the Longhorns get this season, but this game comes at the perfect time. Texas will be facing backup Rice quarterback Tom Stewart, so the secondary has the opportunity to bounce back from allowing nearly 500 passing yards to LSU. Rice shouldn’t have a chance at any point of this game. Expect the backups for the Longhorns to be in by the start of the third quarter. Get confidence back and rest up for the Big 12 opener against Oklahoma State in Week 4.
Prediction: Texas 54, Rice 18
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