I’ve been perusing some of the preview stuff for this week’s game. There are lots of comparisons of the two teams, talking about how similar they are as a team and how similar they looked in the week one games.
Let’s look at what we know:
Texas came out of the gates looking to keep it simple. Mack wanted to run the ball and let his much hyped defense handle the young Rice squad.
That is pretty much what happened.
The score and the stats are misleading. Rice had no chance. Texas dominated and led 24-3 at the half. Their freshy quarterback was no threat, and knowing that, Texas shut down McGuffie and Smith.
Clemson came out and continued their streak of not stopping the run. Lance tore them up for 116 yards. They relied on the big play (read: talent) to beat the Green. Pretty poor showing overall. What does that say, though? It says that Clemson was playing down to the competition.
So, although the scorelines were similar, the games were very different. Texas beat Rice because of superior talent by design. Clemson was just sloppy. Unfortunately that says more about Texas than it does Rice.
What can we learn then?
Well, Rice has some talent. Not Clemson talent though. Their freshman quarterback is their hope for the future but inexperienced (no shit, huh?). They will score if they can execute against UNT’s defense. I have to say they cancel each other out. No clear advantage either way.
Offensively, Rice was horrible against the run last year. Tre Newton, despite his three scores only averaged 3.9 a carry. Think about that for a second. Texas hasn’t ran the ball well since Ricky Williams. You read that right. There was controversy about the horrid run game when Ced Bedson was a frosh. He didn’t start, Ivan Willams did and did a serviceable job. Texas only ran the ball well when their quarterbacks were toting the ball. That 3.9 per may well be more Texas suckitude than Rice formidablity.
I like Lance and his career 5+ ypc average against that defense that has trouble stopping the run. Why? Well, we can run the ball pretty well as a team. It is kind of our thing, apparently. Also, we aren’t completely playing the game close to the vest. Tune is a senior. He knows the system. Despite Canales calling the plays (whom I don’t trust completely despite the decent showing v Clemson) it is still the same offense that Dodge-y runs. I don’t think that UNT is going to play it quite as close to the vest here. At least they shouldn’t. They’ll have a big home crowd ( it is the first game of the season and all those new freshies haven’t been exposed to 50 point home losses yet ), an experienced quarterback and a desperate coach.
Still, despite all that I am skeptical. Probably because my first game in the stands was a 54-2 shellacking.
I am coming around to the fact that we can beat these guys, though. Maybe by Saturday at 6pm after a few drinks I’ll even believe it.