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FIRST LOOK: Rice Owls

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Taking a peek at the final non-conference opponent in the 2015 season: the Rice Owls.

Marco Garcia-USA TODAY Sports
vs.
5/4 BAYLOR (2–0) vs. NR/NR Rice (2–1)
Sept. 26, 2015 | 2 p.m. CT
Waco, Texas | McLane Stadium (45,140)

TV: FSN
Listen | Gametracker Gametracker | Game Notes Notes | Tickets

OPPONENT: Rice Owls
ODB GAME HUB: Baylor Bears vs. Rice Owls 2015
MEET THE PRESS: Baylor vs. Rice
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: riceowls.com
MEDIA GUIDE: 2015 Rice Owls Media Guide (Click here for roster)
LAST MEETING: 56-31 Baylor (predates ODB)
LAST GAME: W; Rice 38, North Texas 24
SB NATION BLOG:
Underdog Dynasty, at right
SPREAD: Baylor –34.5 (Open: Baylor –33)
TV COVERAGE: FSSW, 2 p.m. CDT
WEATHER FORECAST: Sunny, high of 93 with 5–10mph winds from NE, 3% chance of rain (Wunderground puts temp at 89° at gametime)
BAYLOR UNIFORMS: No official word yet, announced Friday or Saturday

SBNation.com Rice Preview
baylorbears.com Preview
Bears vs. Owls Coverage

Back to Football

Finally, your Baylor Bears are back in action on Saturday. Lots of stuff happened during the bye week. I had a whole paragraph with my thoughts about the dismissal and the "controversy" over Jeff Lebby, but deleted it because I have nothing to add to the conversation that hasn’t been said. So, with that being said, let’s talk about some football, shall we?

The final nonconference game of the 2015 season presents some interesting challenges for the Bears, given the team they’re facing and the on-field struggles they’ve had thus far this season. Rice is coming off an 8–5 season and won the Conference USA title in 2013. It may not be a juggernaut of a program, but it has turned into, as Bill Connelly calls it, "one of Conference USA’s safest bets." They are coming off a season where they were solidly in the middle of the CFB pack in S&P+ on both offense and defense. They are a run-first team with a mobile quarterback

Rice Owls 2015 Schedule

September

Wagner Seahawks

Saturday, September 05 2015 win 56–16 coverage
@ Texas Longhorns Saturday, September 12 2015 loss 28–42 coverage
@ North Texas Mean Green Saturday, September 19 2015 win 38–24 coverage
@ Baylor Bears Saturday, September 26 2015 3:00 PM EDT coverage
October

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

Saturday, October 03 2015 3:00 PM EDT coverage
@ Florida Atlantic Owls Saturday, October 10 2015 2:30 PM EDT coverage

Army Black Knights

Friday, October 23 2015 8:00 PM EDT coverage

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs

Friday, October 30 2015 8:00 PM EDT coverage
November
@ Texas-El Paso Miners Friday, November 06 2015 8:00 PM EST coverage

Southern Miss Golden Eagles

Saturday, November 14 2015 3:30 PM EST coverage
@ Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners Saturday, November 21 2015 7:00 PM EST coverage

Charlotte 49ers

Saturday, November 28 2015 3:30 PM EST coverage

Rice Owls 2015 Individual Stats

Quarterbacks

Passing
Rk Player Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A AY/A TD Int Rate
1 Driphus Jackson 55 87 63.2 635 7.3 6.9 5 3 136.6
2 Tyler Stehling 7 8 87.5 95 11.9 8.8 1 1 203.5
3 Nate German 1 1 100.0 11 11.0 11.0 0 0 192.4

Driphus Jackson is the main QB and a decent run threat. The stats indicate that while he’s not exactly a dynamic threat on the ground, he can threaten on the ground if you let him get to the perimeter, something Baylor’s struggled with at points in this early season. If they can bottle him up and seal off the perimeter they may be in good shape. Given his mobility he can tend to give up more sacks, so it will be interesting to see how the defense prepares for him. At 7.3 yards per attempt and over 63% completion percentage, he’s got a decent arm.

Rushing & Receiving Stats

Rushing Receiving Scrimmage
Rk Player Att Yds Avg TD Rec Yds Avg TD Plays Yds Avg TD
1 Samuel Stewart 38 199 5.2 3 3 52 17.3 1 41 251 6.1 4
2 Darik Dillard 31 167 5.4 2 4 63 15.8 0 35 230 6.6 2
3 Driphus Jackson 31 80 2.6 1 31 80 2.6 1
4 Jowan Davis 23 111 4.8 0 1 12 12.0 0 24 123 5.1 0
5 Austin Walter 19 138 7.3 1 1 –3 –3.0 0 20 135 6.8 1
6 Luke Turner 9 28 3.1 3 3 59 19.7 1 12 87 7.3 4
7 Aston Walter 5 27 5.4 0 1 –6 –6.0 0 6 21 3.5 0
8 Nate German 3 74 24.7 1 3 74 24.7 1
9 Tyler Stehling 2 –3 –1.5 0 2 –3 –1.5 0
10 Dennis Parks 16 240 15.0 2 16 240 15.0 2
11 Zach Wright 6 97 16.2 1 6 97 16.2 1
12 Lance Wright 6 49 8.2 0 6 49 8.2 0
13 Connor Cella 5 55 11.0 0 5 55 11.0 0
14 Cole Hunt 5 47 9.4 0 5 47 9.4 0
15 Temi Alaka 5 35 7.0 1 5 35 7.0 1
16 James Mayden 4 34 8.5 0 4 34 8.5 0
17 Cameron Decell 3 11 3.7 0 3 11 3.7 0
18 Parker Smith 1 4 4.0 0 1 4 4.0 0

Instead of splitting out the table for RBs and WRs, I went ahead and left them all in the same table as it appears on sports-reference because it takes way too long to edit that HTML for the value.

The Owls’ rushing attack appears to be a 4-headed monster, with carries split between Samuel Stewart, Darik Dillard, QB Driphus Jackson, and Jowan Davis. That said, the lion’s share of Darik Dillard’s touches and yards came in the first game against Wagner and have steadily declined since. He had five carries for 21 yards last week against North Texas, while Davis had 21 and Stewart 12 in that game. Austin Walter has also seen a decent amount of action, who shouldn’t be confused with his twin brother, WR Aston Walter (side note: I bet THAT wasn’t confusing for anyone growing up, INCLUDING the parents. Nope.) Jackson was used far less in the run game last weekend, carrying the ball 6 times for –14 yards. Those aren’t ALL sacks, but since the stats treat sacks as negative rushing plays, we can’t say for certain just how many of them were.

On the other hand, WR Dennis Parks emerges as the clearest threat through the air, hauling in 16 catches for 240 yards and 2 TDs thus far in the young season. He has ten more catches than anyone else on the team, and no one else has over 100 yards receiving. That said, the ball does get spread around quite a bit, with 14 other players registering receptions on the season. Sadly for Austin, his twin Aston Walter has only one reception for –6 yards. I imagine Xavien Howard will be locked onto Parks all afternoon.

Owls Team Stats and Rankings

Statistic National
Rank
Conference
Rank
Value National Leader Value Conference
Leader
Value
3rd Down Conversion Pct (127 ranked) 1 1 0.673 Rice 0.673 Rice 0.673
3rd Down Conversion Pct Defense (127 ranked) 84 7 0.394 Northwestern 0.140 Middle Tenn. 0.267
4th Down Conversion Pct (116 ranked) 35 2 0.667 15 teams tied 1.000 Western Ky. 0.750
4th Down Conversion Pct Defense (118 ranked) 1 1 0.000 14 teams tied 0.000 Rice 0.000
Blocked Kicks (11 ranked) 11 2 1 Missouri
Washington
3
3
Louisiana Tech 2
Blocked Kicks Allowed (127 ranked) 1 1 0 80 teams tied 0 6 teams tied 0
Blocked Punts (4 ranked) Missouri
Toledo
Hawaii
2
2
2
Louisiana Tech
Southern Miss.
1
1
Blocked Punts Allowed (127 ranked) 1 1 0 108 teams tied 0 9 teams tied 0
Completion Percentage (127 ranked) 45 4 0.653 Memphis 0.784 Western Ky. 0.719
Defensive TDs (4 ranked) Buffalo
Ole Miss
Middle Tenn.
3
3
3
Middle Tenn. 3
Fewest Penalties (127 ranked) 48 5 17 Georgia Tech 6 North Texas 11
Fewest Penalties Per Game (127 ranked) 42 5 5.67 Georgia Tech 2.00 Old Dominion
Middle Tenn.
4.00
4.00
Fewest Penalty Yards (127 ranked) 62 6 164 Georgia Tech 54 Louisiana Tech 116
Fewest Penalty Yards Per Game (127 ranked) 55 5 54.67 Georgia Tech 18.00 Louisiana Tech 38.67
First Downs Defense (127 ranked) 22 1 44 Boston College 25 Rice 44
First Downs Offense (127 ranked) 5 1 86 Cincinnati 101 Rice 86
Fumbles Lost (123 ranked) 88 4 3 22 teams tied 0 Old Dominion 0
Fumbles Recovered (77 ranked) 4 1 4 Texas Tech
Ohio
Oklahoma St.
5
5
5
Rice 4
Kickoff Return Defense (127 ranked) 115 11 26.92 La.-Monroe 11.82 Fla. Atlantic 17.60
Kickoff Returns (127 ranked) 8 2 31.00 Colorado St. 47.75 Western Ky. 32.83
Net Punting (127 ranked) 126 12 23.08 San Jose St. 46.94 FIU 40.78
Passes Had Intercepted (127 ranked) 90 10 4 13 teams tied 0 Old Dominion 1
Passes Intercepted (95 ranked) 72 6 2 6 teams tied 7 Middle Tenn. 7
Passing Offense (127 ranked) 55 7 249.7 Bowling Green 455.7 Western Ky. 378.0
Passing Yards Allowed (127 ranked) 62 3 210.0 Boston College 69.0 Marshall 170.7
Passing Yards per Completion (127 ranked) 74 7 11.70 Army West Point 22.67 Western Ky. 13.83
Punt Return Defense (127 ranked) 126 12 31.17 Louisville
Syracuse
–2.00
–2.00
Fla. Atlantic 0.00
Punt Returns (127 ranked) 52 4 10.67 Buffalo 36.33 UTEP 24.00
Red Zone Defense (111 ranked) 68 7 0.833 Appalachian St. 0.000 Western Ky. 0.625
Red Zone Offense (127 ranked) 62 7 0.857 22 teams tied 1.000 North Texas
UTEP
1.000
1.000
Rushing Defense (127 ranked) 47 4 136.7 Boston College 37.3 FIU 96.3
Rushing Offense (127 ranked) 11 1 272.7 Navy 393.0 Rice 272.7
Sacks Allowed (126 ranked) 116 12 3.33 5 teams tied 0.00 UTEP
FIU
0.67
0.67
Scoring Defense (127 ranked) 83 4 27.3 Northwestern 5.3 Marshall 19.7
Scoring Offense (127 ranked) 25 4 40.7 Ole Miss 64.0 Middle Tenn. 51.0
Tackles for Loss Allowed (127 ranked) 75 9 6.00 Miami (FL)
Texas Tech
2.33
2.33
FIU 2.67
Team Passing Efficiency (127 ranked) 56 5 141.55 West Virginia 199.91 Middle Tenn. 171.62
Team Passing Efficiency Defense (127 ranked) 111 9 153.31 Boston College 70.29 Marshall 94.80
Team Sacks (123 ranked) 74 6 1.67 Texas A&M 5.00 North Texas 3.00
Team Tackles for Loss (127 ranked) 77 5 5.7 Texas A&M 12.0 Southern Miss. 7.7
Time of Possession (127 ranked) 2 1 38:55 North Carolina St. 40:36 Rice 38:55
Total Defense (127 ranked) 51 4 346.7 Boston College 106.3 FIU 314.3
Total Offense (127 ranked) 18 3 522.3 Baylor 754.0 Louisiana Tech 539.3
Turnover Margin (127 ranked) 76 4 –0.33 Miami (FL) 2.67 Western Ky.
Old Dominion
1.00
1.00
Turnovers Gained (121 ranked) 31 3 6 Miami (FL)
Ole Miss
Middle Tenn.
10
10
10
Middle Tenn. 10
Turnovers Lost (126 ranked) 103 6 7 West Virginia
Southern California
LSU
0
0
0
Old Dominion 1
Winning Percentage (117 ranked) 35 1 0.667 34 teams tied 1.000 7 teams tied 0.667

It’s Question Time!

FIRST: Hey, how are you feeling? You feeling like you got your edge?
SECOND: What is the one specific thing you’d like to see improvement in this week (if multiple, pick one)?
THIRD: You’ve seen the quote from a coach up north. Give me your reaction in .gif form.
FIFTH: What’s the weirdest/worst/whatever set of twins names you’ve ever seen/heard of? Alternatively, if you had twins, what would you name them?
FOURTH: Uniform Prediction. Go.