Baylor (2-0) at Rice (0-2)
When: Friday, September 16th 2016
Where: Rice Stadium, Houston, TX
Time: 8:00 ET | TV: ESPN
The Rice Owls will be hosting a ranked team for the first time since 1997 when they take on the #19 Baylor Bears on Friday night. Rice comes in as big underdogs thanks to their lackluster performances in the first two games of the season. Their offense is ranked 119th out of 128 in the nation and they’ve played against teams not known for their defense – Western Kentucky (46-14) and Army (31-14). Quarterback Tyler Stehling has completed 39-of-68 passes for 383 yards and one touchdown while being intercepted three times and also leads the team in rushing with 17 carries for 81 yards and a score. Wide receiver James Mayden leads the team in receptions with just six catches. Linebackers Emmanuel Ellerbee and Alex Lyons are tied for the team lead in tackles with 17 for a defense that has allowed 77 point in two games.
Baylor will be looking for a 3-0 start for the sixth consecutive season when they play their first road game of the season. Quarterback Seth Russell has completed 40-of-67 passes for 424 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions in limited action. He’s coming back from a neck injury that sidelined him for the last part of the 2015 season. Running back Shock Linwood, who left Baylor’s 40-13 victory over SMU last week with a strained neck, is expected to play and needs just 48 yards to break the school career rushing record of 3,665 yards held by Walter Abercrombie (1978-81). The defense is led by end K.J. Smith and linebacker Taylor Young who have combined for 14 tackles and two sacks. Baylor scorched the Owls at home last season 70-17.
It’s hard to lay this many points on the road, but Rice is just awful right now. This game will be over by halftime. The only worry I have is that Baylor lets up too much in the second half and gets back-doored.
Pick: Baylor -31