Evaluating the Owls

The Rice Owls (1-2) will play host to Art Briles and the Baylor Bears (2-1) this Saturday at 7:00 PM in Houston. Inside we look at the Owls by position and what the Bears can expect in the final game before Big 12 play begins.

The Bears are heading to Houston to take on the Rice Owls (1-2) this weekend. Both teams are looking to get back on track after double-digit defeats last Saturday. Here's what Rice brings to the table this week:

QB: The QB position is still up in the air for the Owls. Redshirt freshman Taylor McHargue started the first two games, but missed last week due to a separated shoulder suffered in week 2 v. North Texas. McHargue is 9/21 for 146 yards with 2 TD's and one pick this season. Last week's starter v. Northwestern was former Alabama QB Nick Fanuzzi. Fanuzzi is a dual-threat guy and threw for 211 yards last week before being pulled in the fourth quarter. Fanuzzi was replaced by Taylor Cook, a transfer from Miami. Cook came in and led the Owls on a 97 yard scoring drive towards the end of the game. Coach David Bailiff said he'll evaluate the QB situation during the week, but McHargue said he feels ready to play.

RB: The Rice ground game is averaging 93.3 yards per game so far this season, led by mainly two guys. Sam McGuffie, a transfer from Michigan, got the start last week rushing for 34 yards on 6 carries. McGuffie is also a big part of Rice's passing game and is currently leading the Owls with 12 receptions. Junior Tyler Smith is the team's leading rusher, with 26 carries for 138 yards through the first 3 games of the season.

WR: Six-foot-five sophomore Luke Wilson is the team's leading receiver with 12 receptions for 145 yards this season. Redshirt freshman Donte Moore started the first game of his young career last week vs. Northwestern, catching 4 passes for 66 yards. Moore is a fast receiver that also runs track for the Owls. Rice will be without two receivers this week, losing both Derek Clark (shoulder) and Pierre Beasley (concussion) to injury.

O-Line: The Owls have a lot of experience on their offensive line. Center Keshawn Carrington will miss is doubtful this week due to an ankle injury. Sophomore guard Eric Ball has been moved to center and Davon Allen, who started 12 games at guard last season for the Owls, is in Ball's spot. Tackles Scott Mitchell and Tyler Parish have 52 starts between them. LG Jake Hicks was an honorable mention All-CUSA selection last season.

D-Line: Defensive end Cheta Ozougwu is has 34 career starts under his belt. Last week, Ozougwu had 6 tackles including one for a loss. On the other side, DE Kramer Lucio has 2 sacks so far this season. DT Michael Smith has one sack and broke up a pass during the last drive against North Texas.

LB: Trey Briggs had 7 tackles and a forced fumble in last week's lost. Justin Hill forced a fumble vs. UNT. Backup Justin Allen came in last week and had 8 tackles vs. Northwestern.

DB: Rice's leading tackler is FS Travis Bradshaw, with 26 tackles, a forced fumble, and two recovered fumbles through the first three games this season. Safety Corey Frazier had a career-high 10 tackles last week and had his first career pick against UNT. CB Phillip Gaines had a sack and forced a fumble last week vs. Northwestern. The other CB, Chris Jammer, has started 21 games for the Owls.

Coach: David Bailiff is in his 4th year as the head coach of the Owls. He's coming off a disappointing 2009 season, going 2-10 after a 10-3 2008 season complete with a Texas Bowl victory. Bailiff is a defensive minded coach, serving as Gary Patterson and TCU's defensive coordinator from 2001-2003.

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