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Position Matchups :: Rice vs. Texas Tech

Check out the fancy table after the jump.


QB/WR: It seems unlikely after so much hoopla about the depth of the receiving corp and the stronger arm of Taylor Potts, but as with most things, the transition from first-time-starter to well-oiled machine takes time. For a first game, it's not all bad (70.83% completion rate and 8.44 yards per attempt), and in fact I think the thing that I take away from Saturday's win is that the mistakes that Potts made are correctable. Interceptions in your own territory and not converting on 4th down inside your opponent's own 5 yard line are things that can (hopefully) be corrected. I do like the fact that IR Detron Lewis averaged 18.3 YPC, which is surprising, especially considering he had so many yards after catch. Potts did spread the ball around to 10 different receivers and besides Lewis, Lyle Leong had a good day as did Alexander Torres and Adam James.

QB/WR vs. DB

DB: The leader of this group is S Andrew Sendejo, however, and he could certainly cause concern for Potts throwing over the middle. However, the entire Rice secondary may be in some serious need of re-tooling in the second week of the season. UAB QB Joe Webb was an efficient 12-15 for 221 yards and 2 TD's last week, although there's certainly something to be said for having to also guard against Webb's ability to scramble, for 198 yards to be exact, an incredible figure. The Rice secondary won't have to guard against that with Potts so the Red Raiders may see an entirely different effort. Even then, it can't be good that 2 UAB receivers averaged over 20 yards a catch on Saturday.
RB: What was supposed to be a strength turned out to be a pretty big dud on Saturday. The Texas Tech running attack was non-existent on Saturday although I don't know how to much blame to put on the runners or the guys up front. Let's just assume that Baron Batch may not have been fully healthy and if that's the case, then there's room for improvement. The running backs had a total of 11 carries between Batch (9), Harrison Jeffers (2) and Eric Stephens (1). One of two things needs to happen: Potts needs to check down to the running game more often or Leach needs to make it more of a priority this week against a susceptible Rice rushing defense.

RB vs. LB

LB: The Rice linebackers didn't do much to stop the run against UAB. Starters Terrance Garmon (7 tackles, all assists) and Justin Hill (3) tackles weren't overly active on the defensive front while the UAB offense ran for 295 yards on 39 carries. That's over 7.5 yards per carry. Granted, almost 200 of those yards came from the UAB quarterback, but even then, you'd have to think that the linebackers would do a better job stopping the run.
OL: There's quite an opportunity here for the Texas Tech offensive line. It should be pointed out that the offensive line did give up 1 sack, although I think expectations should have been that no sacks should have been given up. With the injury to Marlon Winn and the shuffling of the offensive line, there may have been some consistency issues. Most Red Raider fans would like to see a nastier group this week and I think that Matt Moore has built up enough credibility to either make a change or motivate some players to step up their game.


OL vs. DL


DL: Still cannot get over the fact that UAB rushed for almost 300 yards. As bad as the Texas Tech rushing offense, the Rice defensive front may have been worse. Even though there was 39 rushing attempts, the Owls only managed 3 tackles for a loss, one of which was a sack. The defensive front for Rice hardly touched a UAB defender as Cheta Ozougwau (2 tackles), John Gioffre (1 tackle), Scott Solomon (4 tackles) and Kramer Lucio (2 tackles) hardly made an impact, with only one of those tackles, a Solomon sack, was for a loss.
DL: This effort was expected as the defensive line did dominate. Not to inflate the statistics because of the opponent, but the Texas Tech defense only allowed 73 yards rushing on 29 attempts, good for a 2.51 yards per attempt average. The biggest disappointment from this group was the two personal foul penalties that kept a UND drive alive for much longer than needed. Rajon Henley really made some nice plays as he had 5 tackles, including 1 sack and fellow defensive end Daniel Howard also had a sack, although I understand he was close to having multiple sacks. Texas Tech gets a slight edge, but I'm interested what Rice can do on Saturday.

DL vs. OL

OL: The Rice offensive line did open up some holes for the Owl rushing attack and a pretty decent 4.58 yards per attempt isn't half bad. Not to mention, UAB only managed 1 sack for the day and you're talking about a fairly solid effort. I don't think that you can pin the Rice offensive woes on the O-line. In fact, Rice's first three possessions were either turned over because of a fumble or a missed field goal. Again, not necessarily the offensive line. However, the offense did sputter for 4 of Rice's 12 offensive drives.
LB: This was certainly a game where the Texas Tech linebackers played well. The defense was led by Marlon Williams (10 tackles, 2 TFL), who said that the defensive line allowed the linebackers to make plays all night. Bront Bird (4 tackles) made the hit of the night while Brian Duncan (4 tackles) had a relatively quiet night. Again, being part of a defense that allowed only 73 net yards rushing is pretty good.

LB vs. RB

RB: The Rice running backs didn't have a stellar day, although Charles Ross was tremendous on his very limited 5 carries for 37 yards. Tyler Smith was solid in his starting debut, but only had 11 carries for 47 yards for the entire game. You would think that the Rice offense would have relied a little more on their runners since they were starting a new quarterback (sound familiar?). It was also somewhat strange to see 5 Rice running backs receive carries on Saturday. You would think that you'd try to limit to two or three at the most.
DB: Somewhat hard to gauge as the Texas Tech secondary allowed UND to complete 20 passes for the night, but only allowed 6.7 yards per attempt. Not too bad, but there's room for improvement. There's no doubt that Rice will attempt the same type of passing attack against Texas Tech, and defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill typically will play off of receivers in this type of game, a game the offense could win single-handedly, and you'd like for this group to make some plays, whether they be interceptions or otherwise. Another indication that the defense played off of UND was the fact that freshman S Will Ford had the only pass break-up of the night.

DB vs. QB/WR

QB/WR: The QB combination of J.T. Shepherd and Nick Fanuzzi wasn't spectacular, but it wasn't an abject failure either. I do think that Fanuzzi will get the call on Saturday and although he did fumble, he was the better passer of the two. Receivers Toren Dixon the main target with 9 cathes while Luke Willson, a tight end, had a 52 yard reception for a touchdown. With Fanuzzi at QB, I'd expect the recievers to be much more involved and I think these are capable players, especially since the Texas Tech defense is probably going to play off the line of scrimmage.