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SEC Football: Rice Owls vs. Texas A&M Aggies Preview and Predictions

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SEC Football: Rice Owls vs. Texas A&M Aggies Preview and Predictions
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

It has been an interesting offseason for the Texas A&M Aggies to say the least. For the past few months, not one day has passed without a Johnny Manziel story coming across the television. However, when the dust finally cleared, Manziel will only suffer a two-quarter suspension in the home opener for the Aggies.

Regardless of how you feel about Manziel, it is once again his time to shine on the football field. Moreover, this time could result in a BCS National Championship.

On Saturday at 1 p.m. ET, the Aggies will open the season against the Rice Owls, who also have a pretty good offense. Will Kevin Sumlin have the Aggies prepared despite all of the off-field distractions?

 

How the Owls Could Win This Ballgame

Realistically, they cannot win this game. However, the Owls do have the ability to keep the game respectable. Rice averaged just under 32 points per game last season and 427 yards per game.

The Owls have nine starters back on the offensive side of the football, including quarterback Taylor McHargue, who passed for 2,209 yards, 12 touchdowns and five interceptions.

Running back Charles Ross is a dangerous weapon as well. He rushed for 800 yards last season and has 19 career touchdowns.

The only hope the Owls have to keep this game close is to score early with Manziel off the field and then drain the clock with short passes and runs in the second half.

In 2012, the Aggies had moments where the defense was less than impressive. The greatest example was their game against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs when they gave up 57 points.

Overall, however, the Aggies were a good defensive team in 2012 and held six teams to 21 points or less.

 

How the Aggies Could Win This Ballgame

Texas A&M needs to just get back to playing football. The off-field drama is over, and it is time for the Aggies to continue where they left offwinning football games.

The Aggies only return six offensive starters from 2012. However, when three of those players are named Manziel, Mike Evans and Ben Malena, you know your're going to have a great offense once again.

Junior Matt Joeckel will get the start for A&M in place of Manziel, and although he only has 42 career passing yards, there is no reason to change up the offensive game plan. With the stable of running backs and wide receivers the Aggies have, this offense is dangerous regardless of who the quarterback is. 

 

Prediction

The Owls will make a few plays, but they will be very few. The Aggies will control the clock early and put the Owls away early in the third.

 

Score Prediction: Texas A&M 55, Rice Owls 17

Stat Line Prediction: Mike Evans: eight receptions, 138 yards receiving and one touchdown.

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