1. QB Taylor McHargue
In his second full season as a starter, Junior Taylor McHargue has shown great improvement from last year's performance. McHargue has started every game this year for the Owls, and has only thrown five interceptions all year, and never more than one in a game. Although he has only thrown for a measly nine touchdowns passes all year, McHargue has the ability to make plays with his legs, as he has rushed for 10 touchdowns this year, and has rushed for over 90 yards in a game three times so far this season. SMU has faced many dual-threat quarterbacks so far this season, and as long as they force McHargue to beat them through the air, and contain him on the ground, they should have no trouble shutting the Rice offense down.
2. RB Charles Ross
Although Ross has actually rushed the ball 17 times less than McHargue this season, he is still a threat on the ground. Standing at 6-foot-1, 230-pounds, Ross is a very powerful back, and could cause trouble for the SMU front seven. Coming off a 20-carry game (his most of the season), Ross will be looked to tire out the SMU front seven, allowing McHargue to make his own plays on the ground.
3. WR Sam McGuffie
McGuffie, who is one of McHargue's favorite targets, has racked up 41 catches this year including five touchdowns. The Michigan transfer is not a physical receiver, as he only stands at about 5-foot-11, but is very able to find the cracks in a zone defense, and exploit them. In his senior season, McGuffie has never beaten the Mustangs, and will surely play with extra intensity in his last chance to beat SMU. Also look for McGuffie in the return game, as he is Rice's primary punt returner.
4. WR Jordan Taylor
Another one of McHargue's favorite targets is sophomore receiver Jordan Taylor. Taylor could not be more different than his counter part McGuffie, as he stands at 6-foot-5, and is more of a big play receiver. Averaging 13.5 yards per catch, Taylor has a knack for breaking off a few big plays a game. Taylor's size will provide a challenge for the SMU secondary, and needs to be accounted for whenever he is on the field.
5. SS Paul Porras
As a redshirt junior, Porras has really come into his own this season. Porras, despite playing the safety position, leads the Owls in tackles this season with 77 (55 unassisted) and has the unique ability to stop the run all the way from the secondary. Porras will surely have his sights set on Zach Line this Saturday, and try to shut down the star running back from his safety position. However, if Line and the SMU blockers are able to account for Porras in the secondary, Line could up having a big day on the ground Saturday.
5 Rice Players To Keep An Eye On
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