Rice vs. UTEP - Preview Part 2

If history repeats itself, this weekend's match-up with Rice and UTEP in El Paso has the potential to be a high scoring affair...

Early on this season you might have circled this Saturday's game between Rice and UTEP as an easy win for the Owls.

Afterall, UTEP started the season 0-3, losing to teams like Buffalo and New Mexico State. But quicker than you can say "turnaround", the Miners won their next 3 games to pull to .500 on the season.

Better offensive play has been the key to the Miner's rebound in 2008. They averaged 16.67 points a game in those 3 losses - but 39.25 points in the 4 games since.

Here's a look at the Miner Offense and key personnel...

Position ## Player

XR 2 Kris Adams, 6-3 190

LT 71 Mike Aguayo, 6-4 290

LG 78 Cameron Raschke, 6-4 315

OC 62 Robby Felix, 6-3 295

RG 64 Colby Meek, 6-4 305

RT 54 Will Osolinsky, 6-7 265

TE 87 Jamar Hunt, 6-7 260

AR 6 Jeff Moturi, 6-0 180

ZR 19 Evan Davis, 6-1 190

QB 10 Trevor Vittatoe, 6-2 215

TB 3 Donald Buckram, 5-10 190

Leading Rusher - the Miners have used a committee system for their rushing attack this year. It's worked effectively - UTEP produced five straight 100-yard games heading into the Tulsa game, before being stymied the Golden Hurricane. UTEP has been led in rushing by four players in seven games -- Donald Buckram, Terrell Jackson and James Thomas II (twice), and Vernon Frazier.

Leading Receiver - Jeff Moturi leads UTEP in total receptions with 28 in 7 games. Kris Adams is the Miners' big play threat though, the 6-3 Adams averages right at 20 yards a catch.

Players to Watch - Sophomore Trevor Vittatoe is playing much better at QB for the Miners this season after being thrown into a tough situation as a freshman last year. Vittatoe is much less erratic in '08 and has thrown only 4 interceptions this season. Donald Buckram is an explosive Running Back with big play capability.

Rising Star - 6-3 WR Kris Adams is a handful to cover and is one of the leading Receivers on the UTEP squad. He was laso recruited by Rice.

Inside the Numbers - UTEP is 34th in the country in Passing Offense. They are 36th in Scoring Offense.

UTEP Offensive Keys to Winning - if UTEP can regain its early season rushing form they can test the Rice Defense to see if last week's shutdown performance against Tulane was for real. UTEP can put a lot of pressure on a Defense with it's Offensive versatility.

Rice Defense

Rice will regain the services of a very key figure in its Defense this week. They played their best Defensive game of the year last week at Tulane holding what had been a potent Tulane ground game to just 34 yards rushing.

Rice Defensive Keys to Winning - The Owls are one of the top teams in the country in turnover margin. More importantly they have consistently turned those gained turnovers into points. Rice must continue to create opportunities for itself with turnovers and maintain the momentum it started last week at Tulane. The defense needs to play well enough to give Chase and Co. time to pile up some points.

Kickoff for Saturday's game is 8:05 CST (7:05 Mountain time), at the Sun Bowl.


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