Louisiana Tech vs. Rice prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins between the Bulldogs and Owls on Saturday in Ruston, LA.
Louisiana Tech vs. Rice Game Preview
When: Saturday, Oct. 29 – 7:00 p.m. ET
Where: Joe Aillet Stadium, Ruston, LA
TV Broadcast: N/A
The Bulldogs (5-3, 3-1 Conference USA) used a Carlos Henderson 92-yard kickoff return score and an interception by Xavier Woods to thwart an FIU comeback bid and claim a 44-24 victory last week. Quarterback Ryan Higgins was 22-of-30 passing for 269 yards and three touchdowns—two passing and one rushing. Trent Taylor made 11 receptions for 156 yards and a score, passing the 1,000-yard receiving mark for the second straight season.
Meanwhile, quarterback Tyler Stehling threw for 407 yards and five touchdowns, both career highs, and the Owls (1-6, 0-4) claimed a 65-44 victory over Prairie View last Saturday for their first win of the season. Giving up 44 points to an FCS squad likely didn’t make Owls head coach David Bailiff very happy, but Prairie View did average a SWAC-best 44.9 points per contest during its 9-2 2015 season.
The last time these teams played, Jeff Driskel threw for 320 yards and four touchdowns, Kenneth Dixon ran for two scores, and the Bulldogs scored 28 straight points in a 42-17 victory. Taylor had five catches for 142 yards and two touchdowns.
What To Know About Louisiana Tech
The Bulldogs won their fourth straight last week after dropping three of their first four contests, although there were close setbacks to Arkansas and Middle Tennessee as well as a competitive contest with Texas Tech. Higgins has four games of 400 yards passing or more this season to go along with 24 touchdowns and just three interceptions. The offense remains prolific, and Higgins is 81-of-108 passing in his last three contests. He’s arguably having the most under-the-radar season out of any Group of Five QB. Defensively, well … it’s a good thing the Bulldogs are averaging 41.9 points per game.
What to Know About Rice
Austin Walter had two touchdown receptions and ran for a third score, Stehling threw scores to five different receivers and the Owls amassed 634 yards against the FCS Panthers in their first win last week. Up until that victory, it had been a very rough season for Bailiff’s crew. The Owls are still one of the worst teams in the FBS, but at least they now have a win to their credit after a few close losses, including a double-overtime setback to North Texas and a one-point defeat to UTSA.
Offense: Louisiana Tech. The Bulldogs have one of the best offenses in the country, averaging 532.6 total yards per game.
Defense: Louisiana Tech. Both defenses are porous, but Rice has a much worse outfit against the run.
Special Teams: Louisiana Tech. Bulldogs kicker Jonathan Barnes has seven field goals from 40 yards and up, including a 54-yarder.
Coaching: Louisiana Tech. Skip Holtz has back-to-back nine-win seasons with the Bulldogs, and they are in the thick of the C-USA race.
Intangibles: Louisiana Tech. The Owls are coming off of their first victory of the season, but it came against an FCS squad. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs are competing for a shot in the C-USA title game.
Matchup To Watch
Henderson vs. Rice kickoff coverage team
Henderson’s 92-yard kickoff return for a score last Saturday night came one week after he caught 12 passes for 326 yards and five touchdowns in a 56-28 road win over UMass. In all against FIU, he racked up 176 yards on four kickoff returns. Rice has one of the poorer special teams efficiency ratings in the country, so the last thing the Owls need is to give up a score on a kickoff return because their defense is going to be overwhelmed by the Bulldogs’ offense.
Spread: Louisiana Tech -23
Louisiana Tech vs. Rice Prediction
This will be ugly. Rice just doesn’t have the defensive material to compete with the Bulldogs’ offense. Higgins has a huge day through the air, while Jarred Craft provides balance in the run game in an easy Louisiana Tech victory.
Louisiana Tech vs. Rice Score Prediction: Louisiana Tech 52, Rice 23