Rice vs. UTEP - Preview

Rice takes on UTEP Saturday night in the Sun Bowl. It's a must win game for one team - but which one...?

Rice would love nothing more than to have an easy game Saturday night against UTEP. A win would give the Owls 6 victories already for the season and position them nicely for their remaining games - all at home.

That seems highly unlikely for these two teams though - the two always seem to play the other blow for blow and for as long as anyone can remember this game has been decided by a single digit scoring margin.

The Owls have prepared all week for well, just about anything from UTEP. The reason is the Miners are an unpredictable team - losing to Buffalo and New Mexico State this season; but also having beaten UCF and Tulane.

The Miners have had their share of injuries on Defense, still they are an athletic bunch that stymied Central Florida.

Here's a closer look at the Miner Defense..

Position ## Player

DE 91 James Okalekan, 6-2 270

NG 95 Steve Riddick, 5-11 275

DE 13 Robert Soleyjacks, 6-2 250

OLB 17 Brian Wilkins, 6-2 235

MLB 5 Adam Vincent, 6-3 240

OLB 32 Landon Goodwell, 6-2 260

MNR 23 Da'Mon Cromartie Smith, 6-2 205

LS 11 Anthony Morrow, 6-0 205

RS 2 Josh Ferguson, 5-9 185

LCB 1 Clarence Ward, 6-1 185

RCB 47 Cornelius Brown, 5-11 200

Leading Tackler - Middle Linebacker Adam Vincent has 65 on the year.

Most Travelled Miner - CB Clarence Ward split high school time between Lamarque and Pensacola, FL. Ward signed with Florida State after a standout prep career but was injured as a freshman before transferring to Texas Tech. He redshirted in Lubbock in 2006, then moved on again - this time to Santa Rosa JC in California. Ward was the leading kick returner in the California Juco ranks last year. Ward has said his 4th college stop, at UTEP, will be his last.

Rising Star - One of several Californians on the UTEP roster, Anthony Morrow is a sophomore standout for the Miners. He was voted to the C-USA All Freshman Team after seeing extensive playing time last year. Morrow is among the team leaders in tackles and has returned an interception 27 yards this year. He's recently been moved to Linebacker.

Players to Watch - Besides Morrow, Safety Josh Ferguson is an active member of the Miner Defense. He's listed in just about every defensive statistical category for UTEP and also is the team's kick and punt returner.

Miner Defensive Keys to the Game - UTEP must pressure Chase Clement into rushing throws and also slow the Owl's newly found running game.

Rice Offense

The Owls must pickup where they leftoff in New Orleans where they basically scored in bunches, but moved the ball all day on what was thought to be a tough Tulane Defense.

Rice Offensive Keys to the Game

Rice has to play loose and not press too hard in this game. They must eliminate turnovers and create some by the Miners if possible. The Miners are in a must win situation - not the Owls.

Tomorrow, the Miner Offense...


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