Week 7 - UTSA at Rice

Posted Oct 11, 2012

Week 7 Fearless Predictions & Game Preview - UTSA at Rice

UTSA (5-0) at Rice (1-5) Oct. 13, 3:30, FSC

Here's The Deal: Sure, the schedule has been paper-thin, but that won't stop UTSA from celebrating a 5-0 start in its inaugural season as a provisional member of the FBS. The combined record of the Roadrunners' victims is just 3-25, though its last win did turn some heads. In their first-ever WAC game, Larry Coker's kids schooled New Mexico State, 35-14, before going on a break. Rice's slate has been quite a bit tougher, and the results in the standings have shown it. The Owls have dropped four straight since stunning Kansas on Sept. 8. However, last week's loss to previously-winless Memphis might be a sign that the wheels are about to come off for head coach David Bailiff.

Why UTSA Might Win: The Roadrunners are being paced by a balanced offense that's going to cause problems for the Owls. QB Eric Soza, a Texas State transfer, has thrown 10 touchdown passes to just one pick, and he's getting plenty of help from his skill position players. In fact, 14 different offensive players have scored a touchdown. Last week's Memphis game was an exception; the Rice defense is actually a sketchy unit allowing almost 39 points a game.

Why Rice Might Win: Who has UTSA faced? The Owls are at least battle-tested, having played the likes of UCLA, Kansas and Louisiana Tech. Rice will get back on track offensively, resting its fate on the versatile shoulders of QB Taylor McHargue. The Owls can hit the Roadrunners with myriad weapons, such as Sam McGuffie and TE Vance McDonald. The Owls are itching for a chance to face a defense that won't match up particularly well with their own physicality.

What To Watch Out For: If Rice is going to get off the schneid against the upstart Roadrunners, it'll have to start making a few stops in the red zone. Of the 26 times that opponents have driven deep into Owls territory, 22 have ended up with six points. Soza is an accurate pitcher, who'll challenge Phillip Gaines, Bryce Callahan and the rest of Rice DBs when their back is against the goal line.

What Will Happen: Traveling to Houston to face Rice is a very big deal for Coker and his Roadrunners as they attempt to build a program. They'll battle and acquit themselves well, but still fall short to a more talented foe. The Owls will revel in a rare chance to play as the favorite, rolling behind more than 300 total yards from McHargue.

CFN Prediction: Rice 34 … UTSA 23
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Rice -3.5 O/U: 56.5
Must Watch Rating (5 – Argo, 1 – Pitch Perfect): 1