The Rice Owls had a very nice 2013, as they went 10-4 overall, while winning the Conference USA Title with a win over Marshal in the Title game. Their season did end on a sour note, as they lost to Mississippi State 44-7 in the Liberty Bowl. This Year they have to replace some key pieces and the schedule is tough, but they should still make a run at a 3rd straight bowl game. Preview & schedule below.
Last year the Owls had one of the best rush offenses in the nation (227 ypg), but that may not be the case this year as they must replace Charles Ross, who ran for 1290 yards and 15 TDs last year. Josh Davis looks to take over the lead role after rumbling for 479 yards and 3 TDs last year, and also in the mix will be Darrick Hilliard, who tallied 396 yards and 3 TDs on the ground a year ago. The OL that these two will be running behind has 3 starters back but is really average at best and there is not allot of depth there. The Owls must also replace QB Taylor McHargue, who threw 17 TD pass to just 8 INTs and also was 3rd on the team in rushing. Driphus Jackson is another dual threat QB and will take over for McHargue. He will have the luxury of have their top 2 wideouts back from last year. The defense for the Owls was pretty average, but this year they could be a bit better. They do lose their top 2 tacklers from last year, but still this will be an experienced group as 7 seniors and 3 juniors make up 10 of the 11 starting spots on this defense and there is a decent amount of depth be hid those guys.
Rice went 10-4 last year and their reward is starting off this year with road trips to Notre Dame and Texas A&M. They also have conference road dates very Marshall and Louisiana Tech in their last 3 games of the year, plus have tough home games vs ODU, UTSA and North Texas. Even with an offense that will still produce 25+ ppg and a solid defense it will be hard for rice to really come close to the 10 wins they put up last year. They will not repeat as Conference USA champs, but they still should be in consideration for a bow bid at the end of the year. KEY TREND: 10-1 ATS in their last 11 games vs UTEP.
2014 Rice Owls Football Schedule
- Aug. 30 - @Notre Dame
- Sept. 6 – open
- Sept. 13 – @Texas A&M
- Sept. 20 – Old Dominion
- Sept. 27 - @Southern Miss
- Oct. 4 – open
- Oct. 11 - @Army
- Oct. 18 – open
- Oct. 25 – North Texas
- Nov. 1 - @FIU
- Nov. 8 – UTSA
- Nov. 15 - @Marshall
- Nov. 21 – UTEP
- Nov. 29 - @Louisiana Tech
Info gathered From Phil Steele's CFB Preview and Athlon Sports
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