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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Football

Roundtable: How will UH fare vs. Rice?


Freshman defensive end Tyus Bowser racked up nine tackles and one and one-half sacks against Rice in the Bayou Bucket. | Justin Tijerina/The Daily Cougar

The Cougars will take on the Rice Owls Sept. 16 after coming off of a win against the Arizona Wildcats. | File photo/The Cougar

The Cougars are coming off a tough fought victory against the Arizona Wildcats and are set to face the Rice Owls on Saturday at TDECU stadium.

Although a rivalry has been brewing between the Owls and the Cougars, the game should be relatively easy for UH this week. Rice lost their season opener against Stanford by a whopping 55 points and barely won last week’s game against the middling UTEP Miners.

Barring an upset, The Cougar’s sports staff predicts a double-digit victory against the Owls.

Assistant Sports Editor Reagan Earnst

Reopening the storied Bayou Bucket series this weekend could not come at a more opportune time for the Cougars. Since last playing Rice in 2013, Houston is gradually trending upward while the Owls continue a multi-year tailspin.

The Owls’ victories have decreased each season since their last meeting with the Cougars: eight wins in 2014, five in 2015 and just three wins a year ago. I expect this trend to hold true in 2017, which leaves few opportunities for Rice to enter the win column before the season’s end — especially not Saturday.

With that said, it’s hard to imagine this game even being competitive.

The Cougars outmatch Rice at nearly every position on the field and should have no problem scoring quickly on its defense. The Owls allowed No. 14-ranked Stanford to post 62 points in a blowout loss that took place Aug. 26 in Australia.

Much like the Arizona Wildcats, which the Cougars downed 19-16 over the weekend, Rice operates in a run-dominated offense. Houston didn’t have any troubles shutting down the rushing attack of Arizona and should not with the Owls, either.

Rice and Houston will both play spirited in front of what will be likely be a largely neutral crowd. The game marks the first time either team has played in the city since Hurricane Harvey made landfall last month.

Overall, Rice will not have enough firepower to score points consistently against the Cougars.

When the dust settles, Houston walks away with a 42-14 victory over their oldest rival.

Sports Editor Frank Campos

This game should be a good opportunity for the Cougar offense to fix themselves after last week. Although they won their game, junior quarterback Kyle Allen had two costly interceptions and the offense seemed to sputter in the fourth quarter when the team needed them most.

Rice is not a good team. They were annihilated by Stanford and managed only seven points in the fourth quarter. Their defense allowed 287 yards rushing and 369 yards passing against a stout Stanford team that mopped the floor with them by scoring 62 points. Although they managed to win against UTEP on Saturday, the owls didn’t look great against a mediocre team.

Looking at the Cougars themselves, I expect sophomore defensive lineman Ed Oliver to continue his stellar performance from last week that earned him American Athletic Conference player of the week honors. He managed 11 tackles, a forced fumble and a blocked kick against the Arizona Wildcats.

Oliver will be all over the field once again causing havoc for everyone on the offensive side of the ball. This will be complimented well by the emergence of junior defensive back Garrett Davis who had 11 tackles and one interception against the Wildcats.

I predict an easy victory for the Cougars with a final tally of 48-7 when all is said and done.

Staff Writer Anthony Cianciulli

Houston comes into Saturday’s matchup against Rice with an unblemished record, and I don’t see that changing next week.

Rice and Houston have what some students would call a rivalry, but that implies both teams are evenly matched which just isn’t the case. The Cougars currently have a three game win streak against Rice and hold a commanding 29-11 series record.

Houston may have had some gaffes on offense last week against Arizona, but I see the Cougars busting it open against Rice’s defense.

The Owls have allowed 76 points total this season which includes a 55 point thrashing from Stanford in their season opener. The defense has conceded six rushing touchdowns to go along with four passing scores in that time frame.

If Houston is able to establish a running game behind dynamic rushers Duke Catalon and Dillon Birden, it will open the defense up for Kyle Allen to throw the ball downfield. All in all this should be an easy victory for the Cougars who need a definitive victory under their belt.

I see Houston running away with this one early with a 45-3 victory, improving to 2-0 on the season.

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