The Horns head to H-town for a battle against old SWC foe Rice Owls at NRG Stadium, home of the Houston Texans. The No. 12 Texas team comes in ready for Rice.
1. How does UT regroup and knock off the Owls in Houston?
Eric Nahlin – By playing a C game or better. The goal for the week is to get the win, stay healthy, develop depth, and rest starters.
Justin Wells – Turn the page on last weekend and prepare for a team that could help you play underclassmen while allowing some injuries to heal another week. I think Herman will want to chunk it early, then hope for the mismatches to appear. If leading in late 3rd quarter, run with Johnson, Gbenda, and Ramirez. Keep the hits on Samuel to a minimum.
Joe Cook – Playing the 3-4! Rice is going to try to play Harbaugh ll without the players to do so, and down their starting QB. Texas should be able to out athlete Rice whether they go into full-house I-formation looks or spread things out a bit.
Ian Boyd – If Texas takes this game seriously on offense they won’t lose. Show up on offense, get after the Owls early with the passing game, and it should all be academic.
Scipio Tex – Put LSU in the rearview mirror and play to a standard, irrespective of opponent. This is a good time for Todd Orlando to establish some comfort in a base defense, preferably with dime personnel. Offensively, Texas needs to put Ingram on limited snaps, feed RoJo the rock 15-18 times and run the offense with early aggression indifferent to the opponent. Hopefully, Texas will play the defense we expect against an outmatched Owl offense, thus allowing Texas to stake a big lead and play some back-ups.
2. Key player on Offense/Defense for Texas:
Eric Nahlin – I’d like to see Roschon Johnson get 15 carries or more. He should break off a good gain or two if he gets his touches. On defense, I get the feeling Keondre Coburn will make a big impact.
Justin Wells – On offense, I like Roschon Johnson. Even if Ingram is still banged up, RoJo adds a burst of energy and forward motion that seems to fire up his teammates. I think Jake Smith has a special teams score in him this week. On defense, Brandon Jones handles nickel and the Horns limit Rice’s scoring opportunities.
Joe Cook – I’m going to be paying attention to the middle linebackers. Orlando said this week that when the situation calls for 4 LBs on the field, Juwan Mitchell and Ayodele Adeoye will be in the middle. They have the ability to diagnose what goes on in front of them well, and should be able to show that off this weekend. Offense? O-line. If this group of five could hold off LSU’s front for much of the night, they should be able to do the same against Rice.
Ian Boyd – A strong day from Ehlinger running the offense for as long as they leave him out there should do the trick. On defense, it sounds like Texas is playing the younger ILBs Adeoye and Mitchell, those two need to treat this week as an opportunity to grow and show something. A doomsday scenario in this game is one where they have to leave Ehlinger on the field deep into the second half because poor run fits by linebackers allowed the Owls to shorten up the game Army-style and keep it close.
Scipio Tex- Offense: The Texas OL should have the opportunity to completely dominate an outmatched Owl front that’s undersized and undermanned. Expect clean pockets and holes. Defense: The key player on the Texas defense wears a headset. Do we run our stuff and overwhelm Rice or try to run some concepts that could translate down the road to OSU, OU, TT etc.
3. Score prediction:
Eric Nahlin – 42-10 Texas
Justin Wells – Texas 44, Rice 13.
Joe Cook – 52-10, Texas
Ian Boyd – Texas 55-10
Scipio Tex – Texas 42, Rice 10. Do the job, don’t show much, go home, get ready for OSU.
4. Game of the Week:
Eric Nahlin – It’s a poor slate of games. The Cy-Hawk game I suppose.
Justin Wells – Iowa-Iowa State. B-I-G-12! B-I-G-12!
Joe Cook – College AMESday for Iowa/Iowa State.
Ian Boyd – The B12 has a couple of big games. We’ll see if K-State’s early success is real or not against Mississippi State. The Iowa v Iowa State game will also have my attention, look for Iowa State to have been storing up a lot of wrinkles with PFPurdy. Campbell is 0-3 in that game and they treated UNI like a scrimmage right up until overtime and then also got a bye week. They’ll be all in.
Scipio Tex – Kind of a weak national slate, right? I’ll go Iowa @ Iowa State as an entertaining matchup. Bet the under.
5. Upset of the Week:
Eric Nahlin – BYU over USC
Justin Wells – Give me that Ames magic and/or Matt Campbell matchups.
Joe Cook – USC drops one.
Ian Boyd – Iowa is giving two or three points to the Cyclones, I think State will beat them outright.
Scipio Tex – I don’t see any games I like. So I guess I’ll go pro Big 12 with KSU (+3) over Mississippi State. KSU is an older, experienced team and shouldn’t be rattled by the road and being from Manhattan, they’re accustomed to rural wastelands.