Rice Owls vs. Texas Longhorns Preview & Prediction

The Texas Longhorns are desperately in need of major bounce-back game in their home opener on Saturday, with the Rice Owls standing between Charlie Strong's crew and a bit of retribution after an embarassing 38-3 loss at Notre Dame last week. Will the upstart Owls spoil Texas' homecoming. Can the Longhorns get out of their own way? He's our game preview & prediction.

Rice Outlook

Rice hammered FCS opponent Wagner 56-16 in their season-opener, but they'll have to push their game to completely new heights to reverse the current trend in a historically Longhorns-dominated series -- especially with Texas coming in extremely motivated after a humiliating defeat.

"When a team struggles like that, they are more determined the next week," Rice head coach David Bailiff said of Texas. "What would have been best for us was for them to beat Notre Dame."

Rice will need to run the ball and run it some more to control the clock in a potential Austin upset. The Owls rushed for an eye-popping 401 yards and seven TDs in their season opener.

Texas Outlook

At least it can't get any worse, right?

The Longhorns' game plan was completely blown to bits by Notre Dame last week as Texas was unable to consistently get into a groove in any facet of the game. We have a feeling we'll see more of what the Longhorns are capable of this week, especially with the likelihood that the athletic, dynamic redshirt freshman Jerrod Heard will replace the beleaguered Tyrone Swoopes under center. Heard doesn't lack for confidence and can make any and all throws asked of him by the Longhorns' offensive coaching staff, so it'll be very interesting to see just how a flagging offense does with him running the controls.

If the offense can right things, there's enough talent on this defense to expect improvement this week against a one-dimensional Rice attack -- thus making this a prime opportunity to silence some of the critics heading into the meat of their schedule.

What To Watch For

Texas' offensive and defensive lines were both taken to the woodshed against Notre Dame as the Irish had their way in the trenches for 90-95% of the contest. If the Longhorns are dominated by Rice at the point of attack, win or loss, we may get a clear signal as to just how long and torturous this season will be for Longhorns fans.

Prediction: Texas wins 27-17

It almost seems off to predict Texas to score 27 points after last week's debacle, but there's no way Charlie Strong's charges can come in flat two weeks in a row -- ESPECIALLY with this being the team's first home game of 2015. Rice will grind it out on offense and keep it close, but the Longhorns will still get a much-needed win in Austin.

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Related Topics: Rice Owls, Longhorns Football News, NCAA, Tyrone Swoopes, Jerrod Heard, Texas Longhorns