Keys to the Game: Louisiana Tech at Rice

The Owls comes home for a game against Skip Holtz' Louisiana Tech Bulldogs. Rice doesn't have much left to play for, but they can spoil Louisiana Tech's good time. A few keys:

Continue to use Miklo Smalls

The Owls are still trying to find out what they have in freshman quarterback Miklo Smalls. Rice burned his redshirt, and it'd be a shame if they didn't let him play a bit more. Smalls has the best touch on the deep ball among Rice quarterbacks, even if he's struggled to throw everything else. Smalls also could be an asset in the run game. If Smalls can give the Owls a spark, it's more than they've gotten from the quarterback position so far. 

Esupka and Myers

The Owls have tried to be versatile and flexible. Billy Lynch used Jordan Myers at tight end, h-back, and running back. At this point, the Owls need to unleash the 225 Myers and running back full time and use he and Emmanuel Esupka to form a wrecking ball one-two punch. If Rice's perceived strength is their offensive line, then line up and use Myer and Esupka to push the pile and grind out yardage. The Owls are 124th in total offense among FBS schools; plan B is in order. 

Improved Defense

The Owl defense is improving, and in-league Rice is giving up just fourteen points a game. Brian Stewart's 3-4 defense might be finding its legs. You can attribute part of their success to continuity, Rice starts the same linebacking foursome for the seventh straight game, two of Rice's three defensive linemen started all seven games. Brian Womac and Emmanuel Ellerbee are playing excellent ball, and the Owls are getting comfortable with Stewart's scheme. They can make Louisiana Tech's afternoon pretty difficult if they only get help from their offensive brethren. 

New and Notes

Saturday is the 11th meeting between Louisiana Tech and Rice, the Bulldogs hold a 6-4 advantage. 

Louisiana Tech's J'Mar Smith is 19th in the FBS in yards per completion (13.7).

The Bulldogs are winners of three straight vs. Rice with an average margin of victory of 38 points. 

Louisiana Tech and Rice rank 12th and 13th respectively in penalty yards. 

Rice and Louisiana Tech first met in 1966 in a game that featured future Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson at quarterback for the Bulldogs.

Owl linebacker Brian Womac's eight sacks are fourth in the nation. 

Rice has held three of its last five opponents below 100 yards rushing. 

Rice's Jack Fox averages 44 yards per punt, 25th in the FBS.

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