Friday, September 14, 2007

Rice Preview

Rice (0-2, 0-0)
#4 (aka #116 overall)
in ESPN's Bottom 10
Texas Tech (2-0, 0-0) -28
#30 in USA Today/Coaches Poll
Sept 15, 2007
2:00 PM
Rice Stadium
Fox Sports Southwest

Rice Notes
Let's face the facts. The Owls suck. They aren't any good. They let Baylor...yes that's right...the BAYLOR BEARS of Waco, TX...put up 42 points, 500+ yards, and 6 passing TD's. This is the same Bear team that put up a goose egg the previous week against TCU. Now they face Texas Tech, who is averaging 479 yds passing and 47 points/game. This doesn't bode well for the Owls. Their best, and only, chance to beat the spread (I won't even consider the option of them winning the game) is to run the ball and keep the Tech offense off the field and under 35 points. All-American WR Jarrett Dillard (above) will likely see constant double (and sometimes triple) coverage from the Tech defense. The downside for Rice...Dillard is their only weapon and teams have been able to slow him down enough (67 ypg, 0 TD's this year). At QB they feature Chase Clement, a fine QB from San Antonio, who has shown improved accuracy this season. However, his completion % is up because he's having to throw to his check routes as Dillard is covered and they don't have any other deep threats. See his 0 passing TD's so far this year for further proof. While the Owls showed great progress last year until ex-HC Todd Graham (Tulsa HC) and ex-OC Major Applewhite (Alabama OC)...those coaches are gone and the team is left trying to find a scheme and identity that works for them. This year...that identity is non-existent and in turn they are one of the worst teams in NCAA Div 1. I wonder how bad App State could beat Rice.

Texas Tech Notes
Glad to see that Tech will be back on TV this weekend. This should give Harrell and Crabtree (is the slogan I Love Crabs catching on yet?) a chance to display their budding chemistry (and Crabtree's stellar athletic ability) to the rest of Texas and the surrounding territories again. Defensively, this game should help build confidence before next week's shootout in Stillwater with the Pokes. Rice is definitely not a high-powered offense but Tech still needs to contain Dillard and that will essentially shut down the Owls from the start. I'm looking for 3 things out of the Defense...and they're below in the "Keys to Victory."

The Owls' "Keys to Victory"
1. Get the ball to Dillard early and often. He is the only weapon that poses a legitimate threat against the Red Raider defense.

2. Establish the running game early to control the clock and keep the Air Raid on the sidelines. A decent running threat will create opportunities downfield in the passing game. Plus, if Tech can't get the ball...they can't score. It's that simple.

3. Pray for a turnover miracle from above. Maybe a few Graham Harrell passes get batted up in the air early in the game and the Owls can catch them and take them back for a Pick 6 (see Mizzou game last year). Once the turnovers start...sometimes they don't stop.

The Red Raiders' "Keys to Victory"
1. Remember that you're the better play like it. Stick to the game plan and trust your abilities.

2. Don't rush the offense and constantly look for a big play. The passing attack will wear down their defense and create PLENTY of opportunities for 5 yd passes to become 50 yd TD's. Take what they give you and put it to use for 60 minutes.

3. Be aggressive in rush defense (if only the DC would call a blitz) and play with controlled, selective aggression in the secondary. Trying to force the big play last week twice turned a 5 yd catch into a 40+ yd gain for the opponent. Limit their YAC (Yards After Catch) and you'll do just fine.


Tech starts slow but will have this game under control by the middle of the 2nd Quarter. The spread is only 28 if you're the betting type...keep this one in mind (and see my fearless and useless picks to come later today).

Texas Tech 55
Rice 10

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