Rice vs. North Texas prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins the Week 4 matchup between the Owls and Mean Green.
Rice vs. North Texas Game Preview
When: Saturday, Sept. 24 – 6:00 p.m. ET
Where: Rice Stadium, Houston, TX
TV Broadcast: N/A
The Owls are winless on the year, but they put forth a solid effort last Friday night in a loss to Baylor. David Bailiff’s squad opened with a 46-14 defeat to C-USA rival Western Kentucky before dropping non-conference blowouts to Army and Baylor. Meanwhile, the Mean Green notched a win over Bethune-Cookman in between losses to SMU and Florida.
In last year’s meeting between the teams in Denton, TX, Driphus Jackson completed 29 of 39 passes for 373 yards and three touchdowns to help lead Rice to a 38-24 win.
What To Know About Rice
The Rice offense is on the struggle bus, as it’s averaging a meager 12.7 points per game. Quarterback Tyler Stehling is completing just 50.5 percent of his passes for less than 140 yards per game with one touchdown and three interceptions. One bright spot throughout his career has been running back Darik Dillard, although he is now sharing the rushing load with Austin Walter and the dual-threat Stehling. Dillard has just 31 carries this year, although he is averaging 6.3 yards per touch, and he ran for 124 yards on just 14 rushes against Baylor.
What to Know About North Texas
The Mean Green won just one game in 2015, so at least they already matched that win total under new head coach Seth Littrell. Freshman quarterback Mason Fine made his first career start against Bethune-Cookman and completed 11 of 22 passes for 108 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. He added 46 yards on the ground. The goal is for Fine and this offense to make a little progress each week, but he completed just six of 22 attempts for 66 yards with no touchdowns and one interception against Florida, which held the Mean Green to 53 yards of total offense. While that certainly was taking a step back, the Gators do have one of the top defenses in the country. We’ll see what type of performance Fine provides this week.
Offense: North Texas. There is at least hope with Fine at quarterback.
Defense: Rice. North Texas is dead-last in the FBS in third-down conversion percentage defense.
Special Teams: Even. Both squads have unblemished kickers—ones that have not missed a field goal or extra point this year.
Coaching: Rice. Bailiff has taken the Owls to four bowl games in his career.
Intangibles: North Texas. The Mean Green are looking to avenge their loss from last season.
Matchup To Watch
Fine vs. Rice secondary
Fine is an intriguing young quarterback that grew up an Oklahoma fan. He was offered a spot with the Sooners as a preferred walk-on, but he chose to honor his verbal commitment to play on scholarship at North Texas. After the struggles against Florida, expect him to use that experience against a top-notch defense to his advantage in this one. He’ll be able to move the ball against the Owls.
Rice vs. North Texas Betting Odds
Spread: Rice -7
Rice vs. North Texas Prediction
Rice’s offense hasn’t done much this year to instill any confidence in the fan base, and the defense is giving up almost 40 points per game. It’s tough to pick against North Texas in this one. The Mean Green will get just enough from Jeffrey Wilson and Willy Ivery on the ground to help Fine and help UNT pull out a victory.
Rice vs. North Texas Score Prediction: North Texas 20, Rice 16