Texas-San Antonio (2-6) at Rice (5-3) (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Rice Stadium (70,000) — Houston, Texas.
Television: FSN. Home Record: UTSA 1-3, Rice 2-1. Away Record: UTSA 1-3, Rice
3-2. Neutral Record: UTSA 0-0, Rice 0-0. Conference Record: UTSA 1-3, Rice
3-1. Series Record: Rice leads, 2-0.

GAME NOTES: The red-hot Rice Owls take aim at yet another victory on Saturday
when they welcome the Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners to Rice Stadium for a
Conference USA battle.

For UTSA, the season has not been going all that well. After a stunning start
against Houston, the Roadrunners have been headed backward. They suffered
their sixth, and perhaps their most embarrassing loss of the season last
weekend against Texas-El Paso, dropping a 34-0 decision at home. They are
now just 2-6 overall, including a dismal 1-3 mark in conference play.

Rice is headed in the opposite direction. The Owls lost their first three
games, but have ripped off five straight victories since. They have dominated
in those triumphs, with an average margin of victory of 17.2 points. The most
recent win was a 31-17 decision on the road against FIU. They are now 3-1 in
conference and 5-3 overall, just a win away from gaining bowl eligibility.

History points to yet another win for Rice, which has topped UTSA in both
previous meetings. That includes a 27-21 victory last season in San Antonio.

It is extremely difficult to win games when you can’t move the ball, and that
is something UTSA has been dealing with all season long. The Roadrunners are
last in C-USA in total offense (285.4 ypg) and scoring offense (18.1 ppg).
Their performance against UTEP didn’t provide much hope for the future, as the
Roadrunners finished with only 70 yards and two first downs.

Austin Robinson started at quarterback in the losing effort and completed only
six passes for 32 yards, as well as an interception. He has been the primary
option under center the last three weeks as Tucker Carter continues to be

It is not as if Robinson has gotten much help at the skill positions. Kam
Jones (21 receptions, 168 yards) and tight end David Morgan II (14 receptions,
196 yards, TD) are the top pass catchers on the roster, yet neither averages
more than 40 yards per game. Morgan did not record a reception against UTEP
after sitting out the previous three games. Jones had 14 yards on two
receptions in the game.

Jarveon Williams (325 yards, three TDs) and David Glasco (284 yards, four TDs)
are the leading candidates in the backfield, but both have been largely shut
down when they attempt to run, especially Glasco, who is averaging only 2.9
yards per carry. Glasco finished with 16 yards against UTEP, while Williams
had 11.

The disaster on offense has hurt a rather solid defensive unit. UTSA is fourth
in the conference in total (350.8 ypg) and scoring defense (26.5 ppg). The
Roadrunners were lit up for 34 points by UTEP, but they still held the Miners
to 351 yards of total offense, despite a nearly 2:1 ratio in terms of time of

Although they are not the preeminent offensive team in the conference, Rice is
still a solid force. The Owls are scoring 31.4 points per game, while ranking
sixth in the league in total offense (421.4 ypg). Running the ball is the key,
as they have rushed for 1,564 yards, while throwing for only 1,807 yards.

The backfield tandem of Jowan Davis and Darik Dillard paves the way for the
unit. Davis has tallied 627 yards and five touchdowns for the cause. He put up
55 yards against FIU marking is third straight game with at least 50 yards,
Dillard, who has produced 534 yards and a team-high seven touchdowns, took a
step back last time out, recording 47 yards on 10 carries.

Driphus Jackson’s ability to run from the quarterback position is a big help
to the offense, but he has really shown promise as a passer, with four
consecutive 200-yard passing games. He threw for 200 yards just once in the
first four. In all, he has tallied 1,648 yards and 14 touchdowns, compared to
only three interceptions, on 57.7 percent passing.

Dennis Parks (21 receptions, 197 yards) leads the team in receptions, but he
is far down on the depth chart in terms of yardage. Jordan Taylor is the
leader in that area (428) as well as in touchdown receptions (four). He posted
is third 100-yard effort in the last four games against FIU, finishing with
115 yards and a score on six receptions. James Mayden (214 yards, three TDs)
has made the most of his paltry five catches.

If Rice is going to challenge heavy favorite Marshall for the C-USA title, the
Owls will need to continue to be strong on defense. They rank fifth in the
league in both total defense (373.1 ypg) and scoring defense (28.4 ppg). They
were dominant against the Panthers, holding them to just 261 yards.

The writing is on the wall in this one. UTSA may have started the season well,
but it just can’t seem to put together a complete game anymore. Meanwhile,
Rice is on an absolute tear, one that won’t end anytime soon.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Rice 31, Texas-San Antonio 13