College Football Bayou Bucket Battle: Houston Cougars vs Rice Owls
Houston Cougars vs Rice Owls
Reliant Stadium – Houston, Texas
Saturday, September 21, 2013, 12:00 pm Eastern, TV: Fox Sports Net
Opening Line: Houston -4
Current Line: Houston -2 1/2
Opening Total: 64 1/2
Current Total: 64
Opening Money Line: Houston -160 / Rice +135
Current Money Line: Houston -150 / Rice +130
The 2-0 Houston Cougars take on crosstown rival 1-1 Rice in their annual Battle for the Bayou Bucket. This is the 40th meeting between the schools. Houston leads the series 28-11, and has won two in a row and seven of the last 10 games against Rice. The Cougars won last year’s meeting 35-14 at Reliant Stadium. That was the first time the game was played at a place other than the two school’s campuses. This year’s game will also be at Reliant, where the NFL’s Houston Texans play.
Houston is coached by Tony Levine. The Cougars took last week off after season opening wins at home against Southern 62-13 and at Temple 22-13. Houston is 2-0 ATS and the total is 1-1 this season. Houston was a 3 point favorite at Temple and the total was 67. It was the first conference game for Houston in the newly formed American Athletic Conference formerly called the Big East.
Hpuston got on the board first with a field goal against Temple, but the Owls would score a touchdown with a 1:29 left in the first. Temple missed the extra point to make it 6-3. The Cougars kicked 2 19 yard field goals in the second quarter to take a 9-6 lead. Temple scored another touchdown with 50 seconds left before halftime to take a a 13-9 lead. Houston kicked 2 more short field in the third to go up 15-13. Neither team would score again until Houston finally got in the end zone with just over a minute left in the game to make the final 22-13. The late touchdown allowed Houston to cover the 3 point spread. Houston had 524 total yards, including 219 rushing yards. The Cougars held the Owls to 300 total yards. The game was sloppy on both sides with 5 combined turnovers and 17 total penalties.
Houston is outscoring teams 42-13 this season. The Cougars are averaging 575.5 total yards per game including 295.5 rushing yards. Houston is #5 in total offense and #10 in rushing nationally. On defense, Houston is allowing 336 yards per game including 102 rushing yards per game. The Cougars are 17th or better nationally in points allowed and against the run. Houston is +5 in turnovers with 7 takeaways. The Cougars are averaging 102 penalty yards per game, and opponents are averaging 75. Houston is 12/32 on third and fourth down conversions. The Cougars are 14/17 scoring in the red zone with 8 touchdowns.
Houston uses a 2 quarterback system. John O’Korn has completed 73.9% of his passes for 340 yards with 3 touchdowns, and also has 24 rushing yards on 11 carries. David Piland has completed 52.5% of his passes for 220 yards and a touchdown, along with 5 carries for 31 yards. Running back Ryan Jackson has 32 carries, 229 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with 2 catches for 13 yards. Kenneth Farrow has 29 carries for 175 yards, along with 2 catches for 19 yards. Justin Hicks has 15 carries for 67 yards and a touchdown, along with a catch for 8 yards. Receiver Deontay Greenberry has 20 catches, 235 yards and a touchdown. Daniel Spencer has 12 catches, 142 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with a 45 yard rushing touchdown. Xavier Maxwell has 11 catches for 99 yards. Two offensive linemen and two defensive players are listed as questionable or out Saturday.
Rice is coached by David Bailiff. The Owls lost at Texas A&M 52-31 to open the season, and then last week Rice beat Kansas 23-14. The Owls are 2-0 ATS and the total is 1-1. Rice was a 6.5 point favorite at home against Kansas and the total was 60.
Rice opened the scoring with a 52 yard pick six 9 minutes into the game to make it 7-0. Kansas tied it up in the second. The Owls would add 2 field goals before halftime to take a six point lead into the locker room, The Jayhawks took a 14-13 lead late in the third. Rice kicker Chris Boswell is an All-American candidate and he kicked a 56 yard field goal to give the Owls a 16-14 lead with just over 8 minutes to go in the game. Rice scored a touchdown with 3:28 left in the game to make it 23-14. Kansas had two more drives but was unable to get past midfield. Rice covered the 6>5 point number. The Owls had 370 total yards including 192 rushing yards. Kansas had 270 total yards. Both teams had 2 turnovers.
Rice is being outscored 33-27 this season. The Owls are averaging 439.5 yards per game on offense, including 249 rushing yards. On defense, Rice is allowing 378 total yards per game including 151 rushing yards. Rice is -2 in turnovers with 3 takeaways. The Owls are averaging 52 penalty yards per game. Rice is 15/39 on third and fourth down conversions. The Owls have forced 5 sacks and allowed 5 sacks as well. Rice is 7/7 scoring in the red zone with 5 touchdowns.
Rice quarterback Taylor McHargue has completed 53.3% of his passes for 348 yards with 2 touchdowns and 4 picks, along with 17 carries for 75 yards. Running back Charles Ross has 46 carries, 264 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with 4 catches for 23 yards and a touchdown. Receiver Jordan Taylor has 12 catches, 140 yards and a touchdown. Connor Cella and Mario Hull each have six catches.
Houston is 7-0 ATS after rushing for 200 yards or more, 4-0 overall, 10-2 after a cover, 4-1 on fieldturf, 10-3 after a straight up win, 7-3 after allowing less than 20 points, and 11-5 against Conference USA teams. The over is 5-2 in this series recently.
Rice is 6-0 ATS against teams with winning records, and in non-conference games, 5-0 overall, and on fieldturf, 4-0 after allowing less than 275 total yards, 6-1 after a straight up win and after allowing 20 points or less, 6-1-1 after a cover, and 3-1-1 in September.
This should be a high scoring affair between teams that like to run the ball. This line seems a little low to me as Houston is a better team. I know it is at a neutral site and there will be plenty of fans wearing both red and blue. I like Houston to cover the 2.5 point spread and for the game to go over the total.
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