Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (1-5) at Rice Owls (0-0)
College Football: Saturday, October 24, 2020 at 3:30 pm (Rice Stadium)
The Line: Rice Owls -2 -- Over/Under: 52 Click to Get Latest Betting Odds
The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders and Rice Owls meet Saturday in week 8 college football action at Rice Stadium.
The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders need a feel good victory here to rebound from a rough 1-5 start to the CFB season. The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders have lost eight of their last nine road games. Asher O'Hara is completing 63.8 percent of his passes for 1,176 yards, nine touchdowns and eight interceptions. O'Hara has two or more touchdown passes in three of his last four games. Yusuf Ali and Yusuf Ali have combined for 632 receiving yards and three touchdowns while DJ England-Chisolm has nine receptions. The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders ground game is averaging 143.1 yards per contest, and O'Hara leads the way with 407 yards and four touchdowns. Defensively, Middle Tennessee is allowing 37.7 points and 446.2 yards per game. Gregory Grate Jr leads the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders with 47 tackles, DQ Thomas has 2.5 sacks and Quincy Riley has two interceptions.
The Rice Owls will make their season debut in this contest and are coming off a three-win season. The Rice Owls have lost six of their last seven home games. Wiley Green returns at quarterback after throwing for 787 yards and four touchdowns last season. Rice has a wide receiver duo in Bradley Rozner and Austin Trammell that combined for nearly 1,500 yards and nine touchdowns. Rice will have to find a reliable running back to carry the load, as they lost their two leading rushers from last year. Defensively, Rice returns its leading tackler in linebacker Blaze Alldredge, Ikenna Enechukwu returns after 1.5 sacks and safety Naeem Smith had two interceptions. Rice will have to improve on the offensive side of the ball if this season is going to be different, but the defense should lead the charge early on this season.
The Blue Raiders are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 conference games and 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games as an underdog. The Owls are 4-1 ATS vs. a team with a losing record, 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games in October and 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games as a favorite. The over is 13-6-1 in Blue Raiders last 20 games overall. The under is 5-0 in Owls last 5 home games
This is a lot of respect for a Rice team that wasn't good last season and will make its season debut in this contest, which pretty much guarantees rust with so much time off the field. The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders have a big advantage with six games under their belt and the offensive production has picked up over their last four contests. With that said, Middle Tennessee hasn't shown much on the defensive side up to this point and just got destroyed by North Texas at home, allowing over 700 total yards and giving up double-digit points in each of their last three quarters. If there was ever a game for Rice to open up with, it would probably be this one.
We're not used to seeing Rice in the favorite role, but this is a game the Owls should be able to handle.