Rice at No. 11 Texas, Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (FOX)
Line: Texas by 35 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Series record: Texas 74-21-1.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Texas is favored to win the Big 12 in its final year in the league before it joins the SEC in 2024 so a blowout of Rice is expected. Any stumble would renew doubts that Texas, whose most recent of three national championships came in 2005, is ready to be “back.” For Rice, simply keeping it close would earn respect. The Owls made it to a bowl game last season despite a 5-7 regular season.
Rice WR Luke McCaffrey vs Texas S Jalen Catalon. McCaffrey is both the brother of NFL All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey and a former QB who has excelled at wide receiver. McCaffrey had 58 catches and six touchdowns last season. Catalon was a standout at Arkansas as a freshman in 2020 before losing most of the next two seasons with injuries. He is expected to anchor the back end of the Longhorns defense.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Rice: Quarterback J.T. Daniels is well traveled. One of the top recruits in the country out of high school, Daniels is now at his fourth program in a career filled with injuries and unmet expectations. He faced Texas in 2018 as a freshman with USC, and last season with West Virginia, losing both times. In between, he spent the 2020-2021 seasons at Georgia.
Texas: Quarterback Quinn Ewers settled the starter question in the spring over Maalik Murphy and Arch Manning. Now he's got to deliver after an inconsistent freshman season. He's got loads of offensive weapons around him. He's also lost 20 pounds and is down to 195.
FACTS & FIGURES
Exactly how lopsided is this series? Since 1966, Texas was won 43 of 44 meetings, including 58-0 in 2021 ... Texas returns 10 starters on offense ... Texas will honor its 1963 national championship team, which beat Rice 10-6 that season ... Ewers started 10 games last season and passed for 2,177 yards and 15 touchdowns.
AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll