The Cougars and Owls meet for the 38th annual battle for the Bayou Bucket. Houston hopes to bring the Bucket back after a 34-31 loss last year at Rice Stadium.
The No. 18 Cougars high-powered offense - led by quarterback Case Keenum - will be tough for the Owls to hold off, especially since Rice struggled to keep Tulsa in check in a 38-20 loss last week thanks to Cheap Bears Jerseys three early Owl turnovers.
Head coach David Bailiff knows that if his team wants to keep the Bucket, they need a mistake-free performance on the defensive side.
"We've got to be physical. You can't make errors with Case," Bailiff said. "When you are blitzing him, he knows right where that blitz is coming from and where to go with the football. You can tell he is a veteran. You have to have great field distribution. You've got to be able to tackle in space. And offensively, you have got to somehow keep the ball out of their hands. It's one of those games where time of possession could be important."
Rice (2-5, 1-2) will have to keep up with the quick-huddle Houston offense, who averages 606.1 yards per game and 441.7 passing yards.
"We don't underestimate any team. But, you look at them on film, they're a force to be reckoned with," senior nose guard John Gioffre said. "They're getting the ball, they're fast, people are making Devin Hester Jersey plays, and you see a lot of missed tackles. You see them making plays, but, like I say every week, you gotta stay within the scheme. You gotta do your job."
Offensively, Rice needs a better performance from quarterback Taylor McHargue, who struggled early against the Golden Hurricane last week, throwing two interceptions before being benched in favor of Nick Fanuzzi. Bailiff hasn't said which quarterback will start on Thursday, but is still optimistic that McHargue can become a major cog in the Owl offense.
"It is a challenge when you are making mistakes but we have to get Taylor McHargue where he has his swagger, and walks on the field knowing we can win because of him," he said. "We don't want to put Bears Throwback Jersey everything on him, we just need him to take care of the football and help us move them chains."
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