The facts and nothing else. No spin, no analysis. What do the stats tell us about this matchup. I will get most of these stats from FootballOutsiders.com, which you can find their explanations and definitions on their site.
As the weeks go on, these stats will get better, more in-tune with realty and more granular when it comes to the offense/defense metrics. Simply put, FO.com doesn't have the data points yet to do the offense/defense stats that take into account run and pass attacks. They will, and will add them in a few weeks.
Baylor vs. Rice
This is a complete mismatch on paper, as the Bears are a consistent top-20/25 team while the Owls are outside the Top-100 in all metrics. it is a reason why the Bears are getting 27.5 points per Vegas. In fact, the Bears are used to big spread games. In the last 17 games where they have been given a 4-touchdown or greater edge, they are 13-3-1 against the spread.
|F/+ Combined Rank||14||18||123||122|
|Special Teams S&P+||N/A||13||112||78|
Baylor Offense vs. Rice Defense
Baylor's offensive metrics are being dragged down by two things. #1 the quality of opponent in the opener and #2 the lackluster effort against SMU. But the per play metrics have also fallen. In 2015, the Bears averaged 7.26 yards per offensive play, 5.95 yards per rush and 9.77 yards per pass. Those are all significantly down so far through 2-games against lower level opponents. The offense has just not been clicking yet, but they get a chance to get back on track against a poor Rice defense.
The Owls pretty much make everyone look like Baylor. Their defense gives up over 15 yards per pass, 38 points per game and have been truly awful in the redzone. To add insult to that, they have done that against Western Kentucky and Army, two teams not know for offensive assaults. The Bears will be by far the toughest test they have seen on offense. If the Bears passing attack cannot get going in a game like this, it might be time to worry.
|Yards Per Pass||6.28||15.07|
|Yards Per Rush||5.61||4.49|
|Yards Per Play||5.91||7.59|
|Yards Per Game||517||531.5|
|Plays Per Game||87.5||70|
|3rd Down %||40.54% (15-37)||37.5% (9-24)|
|4th Down %||83.33% (12-14)||66.67% (2-3)|
|Redzone %||85.71% (12-14)||92.31% (12-13)|
Baylor Defense vs. Rice Offense
The Owls offense has not helped their defense much, struggling on 3rd down (33.33% conversion rate). They are only averaging 16.5 first downs per game (109th in the nation). The only positive has been a lack of turnovers, with just 1 fumble lost through two games and no interceptions. Outside of that, this is a middling passing attack anchored by a running game averaging 3.65 yards per attempt.
Baylor has gotten off to a very strong start on the defensive side of the ball, even taking into account the quality of competition. They are a top-30 defense, allowing just 3.43 yards per play. Their 10 points per game allowed is 12th in the nation, while the 241.5 yards per game is 16th. Even if you just look at the SMU game, the Bears only allowed 229 yards through the air and 176 on the ground. Those are very good numbers on a per play basis (4.9 yards per play). That would rank around 54th in the nation. Not great, but solid for a rebuilding defense.
|Yards Per Pass||4.13||5.63|
|Yards Per Rush||2.86||3.65|
|Yards Per Play||3.43||4.75|
|Yards Per Game||241.5||290|
|Plays Per Game||70.5||61|
|3rd Down %||18.75% (6-32)||33.33% (8-24)|
|4th Down %||100% (1-1)||33.33% (1-3)|
|Redzone %||66.67% (4-6)||50% (1-2)|