Rice: Team Preview

Rice: Team Preview

A look at Rice's statistics and playmakers heading into Saturday's 2:30PM match up.

The 3 and 6 Rice Owls travel to New Orleans to face off against the 2 and 6 Green Wave this Saturday in the Superdome. The Owls are coming off a 44 to 17 victory over winless Southern Miss. The team features a rush heavy offense that is looking to take advantage of a banged up defensive front and a team that allows 245 rush yards per game (118th FBS). On the flip side, Rice will be facing the Tulane offense that has been much more effective since the return of Ryan Griffin. As it stands now, Rice is a 5.5 favorite heading into the game. Rice's 3 wins come against Kansas (25 - 24), UTSA (34 - 14), and the lopsided win against USM.

Offensive Stats

Points per Game: 29.2 (58th)
Yards per Game: 410.6 (54th)
Yards per Play: 5.1 (83rd)
3rd Down Conversion %: 42.07% (60th)
Rush Yards per Game: 203.6 (27th)
Pass Yards per Game: 207.0 (8th)

Rice's offensive balance tips towards the run game, averaging 45.7 attempts per game and averaging an average of 4.5 yards per carry. Through the air they attempt 31.6 passes per game.

With a spread option approach their leading rushing in terms of yardage is QB Taylor McHargue, who has rushed 104 times for 513 yards (4.9 YPC) and 8 TDs. The team also gets significant production from RB Turner Petersen who has 105 carries for 483 yards (4.6 YPC) and 4 TDs. After Petersen is Charles Ross who has 86 carries for 492 yards (5.7 YPC) and 1 TD.

A key for Tulane will be to limit the rush game, which may be difficult as the front 7 has been banged up through the last few weeks. Rice's passing statistics do not jump off the page, with QB Taylor McHargue going 131 for 231 (56.7%), 1415 yards and 9 TD with 4 INT. With depth as an issue the Wave cannot afford to allow long drives on the ground that chews up clock and keeps the defense on the field.

At wide receiver the team is lead by former Texas high school star Sam McGuffie who has nabbed 39 receptions for 418 yards and 5 TDs. The next leaders are Jordan Taylor (38 receptions, 492 yards), Vance McDonald (19 receptions, 249 yards, 1 TD), and Donte Moore (19 receptions, 249 yards, 3 TDs).

Defensive Stats

Points per Game: 32.3 (98th)
Yards per Game: 454.1 (97th)
Yards per Play: 6.2 (99th)
Passing Defense: 225.0 (44th)
Rushing Defense: 229.1 (113th)
Opponent 3rd Down Conversion %: 40.16% (60th)
Opponent Time of Possession: 27:43 (20th)
Takeaways per Game: 1.9 (47th)

The glaring weakness defensively is their rush defense. In the last few games Tulane's rush game has improved, partly due to Orleans Darkwa's return as well as the increased production through the air. One way their offense helps their defense is how they are one of the best in the country in terms of time possession as a result of their solid rush attack. On the other hand, offenses do not have a tough time scoring points on the team meaning their solid time of possession is also a result of a porous defense. Coach Johnson is always seeking balance from his offense and this week provides a great opportunity to get there if the Owls cannot bottle up the Wave's ground game. Their pass defense is middle of the road and it will be something to watch if Griffin can continue his incredible production.

Rice's leading tackler is DB Paul Porras who has 73 total tackles (52 solo) who also has 1 INT return for a TD. LB Cameron Nwosu follows him (61 tackles, 33 solo, 2 INT), DB Julius White (60 tackles, 41 solo, 2 INT).

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