Rice at Arkansas - 9/4/21 College Football Picks and Prediction
Photo by Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Arkansas Razorbacks (0-0) vs Rice Owls (0-0)
Game Info: Saturday, September 4, 2021 at 2:00 pm (Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium)
Betting Odds: Arkansas Razorbacks -19.5 -- Over/Under: 50 Click Here for the Latest Odds
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The Rice Owls will travel to Razorback Stadium to take on the Arkansas Razorbacks this Saturday afternoon in College Football action.
The Rice Owls had trouble getting on the field last season due to Covid-19 and finished the year with just a 2-3 record while finishing 5th in the C-USA West division. Offensively, Rice averaged 23.4 ppg on 331.6 total yards per game (210.8 passing yds/g; 120.8 rushing yds/g). Rice brought in a new offensive coordinator in Marques Tuiasosopo in hopes to help an offense that ranked just 110th in rushing offense & 81st in passing offense last season. Rice no longer has Mike Collins under center, and it looks like they will be going with Wiley Green who despite being with the Owls since 2018, has very limited experience. Rice does have some talent at the receiver positions as they will be returning TE Jake Bailey (23 rec, 276 yards, 2 TD), WR Jordan Myers (24 rec, 209 yards, TD) & WR Bradley Rozner. Leading the way for the Owls backfield will be Khalan Griffin who finished last season with 249 yards on 72 carries.
Defensively, Rice was solid last season after finishing the year holding opponents to just 18.8 ppg on 341.6 total yards per game (200.8 passing yds/g; 140.8 rushing yds/g). Rice’s defense should be strong against as they return 9 starters, led by LB’s Treshawn Chamberlain & Antonio Montero.
The Arkansas Razorbacks finished last season with an overall record of 3-7 while finishing t-6th in the SEC West division. Arkansas started off the season 3-3 with solid wins against Ole Miss & Tennessee, however, the Razorbacks struggled down the stretch, losing their last 4 games. Offensively, Arkansas averaged 25.7 ppg on 391.5 total yards per game (240.2 passing yds/g; 151.3 rushing yards per game). QB KJ Jefferson will take over starting duties from Feleipe Franks and showed some promise in his one start last year against Missouri in which he completed 18 of 33 passes for 274 yards & 3 TD’s. The top receiving threats for the Razorbacks will be TE Blake Kern (20 rec, 201 yards, 2 TD) & WR De’Vion Warren (15 rec, 278 yards, 3 TD). Leading the way for the Razorbacks backfield will be Trelon Smith who had 710 rushing yards & 5 TD’s on 134 carries.
Defensively, Arkansas allowed 34.9 ppg on 451.7 total yards per game (259.6 passing yds/g; 192.1 rushing yds/g). Arkansas struggled last season getting pressure on the football, however, do return some key pieces, led by LB Grant Morgan.
The Owls are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games as an underdog and 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games overall. The Razorbacks are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games overall, however, are just 2-8-2 ATS in their last 12 games as a favorite.
Arkansas is no doubt the better team, however, the Razorbacks have a very unproven offense which gives me some concern. Rice is going to have trouble putting points up on the board, however, it does look like they are going to spread out the ball more and as I think this Rice defense, which returns basically the same squad that shutout Marshall last season, is going to give Arkansas some trouble offensively, I think Rice does enough in this one to cover with the points. Good Luck!