The Bayou Bucket Classic is set for Week 4 of the NCAAF season. Houston has been dominant, winning the last six meetings, while Rice looks to take advantage of the Cougars coming in off back-to-back losses.
The Owls are Louisiana 33-21, in their last game after nearly botching it due to turnovers. The Cougars were heavily favored against Kansas. They gave up a 14-0 lead in the first quarter to lose 48-30.
Rice’s Passing Attack
In its previous game, Rice Owls was a 12-point underdog and pulled off the upset. The win happened in spite of TJ McMahon throwing three interceptions. One was a pick-6, Louisiana’s first score.
McMahon did throw for 303 yards and three touchdowns, two crucial ones in the second half. This is after a game where he accounted for five touchdowns, and zero turnovers, in Rice’s 52-10 win over McNeese State.
Wide receivers Luke McCaffrey and Isaiah Esdale have been his go-to options, reeling in 31 receptions and 357 yards combined. Brad Rozner also adds 155 yards and leads the team with three touchdowns.
The Owls’ passing attack has come in handy, as running back Ari Broussard has struggled, gaining only 2.8 yards per carry on his 51 attempts. He has been the primary back, with no other player over 20 rushing attempts.
With McMahon’s turnovers, Rice could not have beaten Louisiana without the defense’s help, which only allowed 175 total yards.
Houston’s Opening Close Games
Houston Cougars comes in off back-to-back losses that have dented the school’s preseason hopes. They started ranked 24th in the AP Top 25 but slipped out last week. Their only win was an overtime victory over UTSA on the road.
Another away overtime game followed. This time the Cougars lost to Texas Tech in the second overtime. The game started with them as four-point underdogs, despite being ranked 25th in the nation and Texas Tech being unranked. Finally, the Cougars were 8.5-point favorites at home against Kansas but lost by 18.
The offense has looked solid behind a combination quarterback Clayton Tune, running back Brandon Campbell, and wide receiver Nathaniel Dell. They have accounted for most of the team touchdowns, with only three other players getting in the end zone.
With the offense looking solid, scoring 31.7 points per game, the defense is struggling, allowing 38.7. A large portion has been through the air, giving 281.7 passing yards per game.
Rice vs Houston Injury Report
Rice has one name on the injury report, and it is quarterback Wiley Green, who started Week 1 against USC. He is listed as questionable. Even if Green is healthy he still might not see the fieldl.
Houston has running back Alton McCaskill IV listed as out for the season with an injury. However, leading wide receiver Nathaniel Dell is questionable for Saturday with a shoulder injury.
Rice vs Houston Head-to-Head
Houston has dominated the Bayou Bucket Classic, as the Cougars have won 32 of the 43 games and are currently on the longest winning streak of the rivalry’s history, six. The last time Rice won was in 2010, 34-31.
Last season, Houston won in a blowout, 44-7.
Rice vs Houston Game Information
- Date: Saturday, September 24
- Time: 6 pm
- Location: TDECU Stadium, Houston, TX
- How to watch Rice vs Houston?
Rice vs Houston Live Stream: ESPN
Rice vs Houston Betting Lines
|Rice Owls||+17 -110||+650||52½ -110o|
|Houston Cougars||-17 -110||-900||52½ -110u|
Rice vs Houston Prediction
Houston comes in as a massive favorite, 17½ points. The Cougars have won recent games in landslides, but this team seems slightly different. The Cougars’ defense has struggled, and Rice does have some talent on that end. The Owls’ passing game behind McMahon can be efficient while error-prone, but the defense can also hold its own.
Rice may not break the six-game streak against its rivals, but the Owls should have enough offense to cover the spread.