Baylor travels to Houston to take on Rice Friday night

The 2-0 Baylor Bears look to continue their winning ways on the road as they go down south to Houston to take on the Rice Owls.

The Baylor Bears hit the road for the first time in 2016, traveling south to the city of Houston to take on former SWC rival Rice.  The Owls are making their 2016 home debut after suffering road losses to Army and Western Kentucky the past two weeks.  They have been outscored by a combined 77-28 margin, and scoring 14 points in each game. The offense has let the Owls down, both on the ground and through the air. 

Rice is 92nd in passing yards per game at 191.5, and 113th in rushing yards at 98.50. They are averaging just 4.75 yards per play, good for 11th in the nation.  They are even worse on the defensive side of the ball, allowing 7.59 yards per play, 4th worst in all of college football. 

Head coach David Bailiff is in his 10th season in charge of the Owls, and just two years removed from leading Rice to three straight bowl games in 2012-2014.  Last year, they dipped to a disappointing 5-7 record, but this year is off to an even worse start.  Without Driphus Jackson, their big play quarterback the past two seasons, the Owls offensive attack has struggled to approach the efficiency they had, especially on the ground.  

In 2013, a 10-win season, the Owls were 17th in the nation in rushing yards per game with over 227.  In 2014, they dipped to 8 wins and just 167 yards per game on the ground. Last year, they rebounded a bit with their rushing attack to 177 yards (59th), but their defense let them down.  

Bailiff wants to run much more of a option based rushing attack, one that doesn't out-muscle or overpower a defense, but one that uses misdirection and leverage at the point of attack. It is not a true option attack or wishbone style offense like you would see from Army or Navy, but they have some of those elements based in the spread formation.  

Game Information

23/21 BAYLOR (2-0) at Rice (0-2)

Sept. 16, 2015 | 7:00 p.m. CT

Houston, Texas | Rice Stadium (47,000)

TV: ESPN

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Game Notes

  • Baylor is looking to start a season 3-0 for the 6th-straight year, which would be a program first.
  • BU leads the all-time series against Rice 48-30-2, including 7-straight wins since a loss in 1992.
  • Baylor was 4-1 in true road games in 2015 and 5-1 away from Waco.
  • Baylor is 11-3 in true road games over last 3 years, after going 7-17 in the previous 5 years.
  • Giving up just 241.5 yards per game, the Bears lead Big 12 and rank 16th nationally in total defense. 
  • BU’s been ranked in a school-record 52 straight AP Polls, FBS’ 4th-best streak. 
  • Baylor is 20-5 vs. in-state schools over last 5+ seasons and has won 13 of last 15 vs. Texas foes
  • Including walk-ons, Baylor has played a total of 32 freshmen in 2016, 19 redshirt freshmen & 13 true freshmen.
  • Baylor hasn’t lost a game in September since 2012 (9/29 vs. WVU) and is 10-0 since

Quick Look at Rice

  • Location l Houston, Texas 77251
  • Founded l 1891
  • Enrollment l 6,469
  • Nickname l Owls
  • Mascot l Sammy the Owl
  • Colors l Blue (pms 281c) and Gray (pms 424c)
  • Conference l Conference USA
  • Stadium l Rice Stadium (47,000)
  • Playing Surface l AstroTurf
  • President l David W. Leebron (Harvard, ‘76)
  • Athletics Director l Joe Karlgaard (Stanford, ‘96)
  • 2015 Record l 5-7
  • C-USA Record/Finish l 3-5 / T-3rd West
  • Starters Returning/Lost l 18/9
  • Offense l 7/5
  • Defense l 9/3
  • Specialists l 2/1

What Happened Last Time

The Bears blew out the Rice Owls 70-17 behind a 42-10 lead at halftime.  It was the third and final non-conference game for the Bears,and one that saw them give their best performance of the young season.  793 yards of total offense. scored 21 points in each of the first three quarters, allowed just 3.73 yards per play (while gaining 10.17 themselves) and outgained Rice by 547 yards.  It was a complete thrashing of an overwhelmed opponent. 

Predictions

RealTimeRPI - Bears win 45-17

Massey - Bears win 45-19

TeamRankings.com - Bears win 48-18

Tim Watkins, BearsIllustrated.com - Bears win 56-14

Last year, the Bears got off to a slow start offensively through their first two non-conference games. Then they exploded against Rice for 70 points and a complete team win that saw the defense attack and destroy the over-matched Owls. The Owls might not be as good as SMU, especially on offense.  However, in the Bears first true road game, it is always easier to say they will not explode for 60+ points.  See Buffalo, ULM and SMU last year as an example of that.  

Terence Williams will have a monster day, carrying more of the load for a banged up Shock Linwood, the defense will harrass the Owls for 8 tackles for loss, including 3 sacks, and Chris Platt will have the biggest game of his career. 

Kevin Barrera, BearsIllustrated.com - Bears win 59-10

Baylor will just need to get back to the basics in this one. It will be important for them to be focused and discipline and avoid another uninspired start. The Bears should completely overmatch the Owls in this one. With Shock banged up, looks for Terence Williams and JMychal Hasty to carry the load. Seth Russell should also have a monster game, as the Bears try to clean things up going in to next weeks game against Oklahoma State. On defense, the Bears welcome back Travon Blanchard from injury. This will be his first game of the year, so expect some big things from him early. 

Overall, this should be a game in which Baylor can iron out the kinks. Reps for the OL and DL should be aplenty and things should start to even out. Bears win big in this one. 


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