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at Rice 28 … Memphis 6
Posted Oct 8, 2011

Week 6 CFN Fearless Prediction & Game Story - Memphis at Rice

2011 Predictions & Game Story 

Week 6 - Memphis at Rice

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Oct. 8 at Rice 28 … Memphis 6
CFN Analysis: The Rice offense made a slew of mistakes with three turnovers, but the Memphis offense was worse. Taylor McHargue had a decent day throwing for 170 yards and a score and running for 44 yards, but he threw two picks to keep the game from being a true blowout. It didn’t matter, though, as the defense came up with its best performance of the year by a ten-mile wide margin. Last in the nation in total defense, allowing 550 yards per game, the Owls allowed just 307 yards, and the Marshall offense isn’t going to explode.

Rice was dead last in the nation in defense and Memphis managed just six points. The ground game continues to be non-existent, gaining just 70 yards, but the big problem is an offensive line that’s not providing any time for the quarterbacks to work. Andy Summerlin came in and tried to bomb away completing 9-of-13 passes for 137 yards, but he was a sitting duck. The defense did a decent job against a mediocre Owl attack, but the Tiger O couldn’t take advantage of three takeaways with three turnovers of its own. With East Carolina up next, the offense needs to be ready for more of a shootout.

(AP) HOUSTON -- Taylor McHargue threw for 170 yards and a touchdown, and Turner Petersen rushed for two touchdowns as Rice defeated Memphis 28-6 Saturday.

Petersen's 1-yard touchdown run with 5:34 left in the first quarter capped a 9-play, 69-yard drive to give the Owls (2-3, 1-1 Conference USA) a 7-0 lead. Petersen, who finished with 32 yards rushing, also scored from 1 yard with 4:57 left in the third quarter to make it 28-3.

McHargue was 15 of 22 and rushed for 44 yards. He found Luke Willson for a 15-yard touchdown before halftime to extend the lead to 14-3. Tyler Smith rushed 14 times for 97 yards, and Willson had five catches for 58 yards to lead Rice.

Tannar Rehrer had 11 catches for 89 yards for the Tigers (1-5, 0-2).

Memphis (1-4) at Rice (1-3) Oct. 8, 12:30, CSS

Here’s The Deal … Memphis and Rice will be meeting for just the third time, with both schools looking to catch a tailwind as the season nears the halfway mark. Although losers of two straight games, and three of the first four, the Owls believe they’re got a foundation with which to build upon. The program has played a very challenging schedule, mostly outside of Houston, and surprised Purdue in its lone home game.

With upcoming winnable games the next two weeks, Rice is hoping to crawl before it walks by climbing back to the .500 mark. The bad news for Memphis is that it’s a part of the discussion regarding the worst FBS squad in America. The good news? The Tigers are fresh off their best game of the fall, a 38-31 close call with Middle Tennessee. For beleaguered second-year head coach Larry Porter, progress this season will continue to be gauged different than it is on most campuses.

Why Memphis Might Win: The Tigers put up their most points since the middle of 2009 last week in Murfreesboro. The line did its job, the running game produced 165 yards and three touchdowns, and rookie QB Taylor Reed continued to get more comfortable as the offensive pilot. Versatile athlete Billy Foster, a converted wide receiver, provided the spark on the ground with 94 yards and a pair of scores. The relative outburst is liable to become a trend this weekend versus Rice. The Owls rank last nationally in run defense and total D, yielding almost 550 yards a game, including 654 in last week’s loss to Southern Miss. Defense has been a perennial problem in these parts at a school that’s painfully short on interior girth and proven stoppers.
Why Rice Might Win: Sure, the Owls are going to give up big plays, but they’ll produce them as well. Memphis is no stingier on defense, giving up an average of 46 points in four games against FBS teams. Rice will counter with a solid array of playmakers that’s been muted by an ornery schedule. QB Taylor McHargue is one of Conference USA’s hidden gems, a dual-threat and composed figure in the pocket. Since he’s not getting much help from the running game, he’ll take to the air in order to keep drives alive. In super-sized receivers Vance McDonald and Luke Willson, he has access to a pair of receivers who’ll cause matchup problems for a mediocre collection of Tigers linebackers.

What To Watch Out For: What’s going on with Sam McGuffie, who began the season as Rice’s most dangerous skill position player? The junior running back has been virtually non-existent so far in 2011 primarily because of nagging injuries. He simply hasn’t been right, carrying 25 times for 72 yards, while making an uncharacteristic five grabs for 49 yards and a score. The Owls need more weapons for McHargue, beginning with a healthy return to form of No. 2.

What Will Happen: Rice’s quest to reach break-even at the midway point in the season will begin this weekend with a victory over Memphis. While both programs face rebuilding projects, the Tigers are a definitive rung below everyone else on the Conference USA ladder. The Owls, excited to be back home, will leverage the versatility of McHargue to keep the defense on its heels. The quarterback will run and pass for at least one score, furthering entrenching himself as the young face of the Rice attack.

CFN Prediction: Rice 37 … Memphis 20
- Click For Latest Line From ATS: Rice -20.5   O/U: 59.5

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