The Texas Longhorns will open the 2010 season by playing the Rice Owls on September 4th.
Traditionally these games have mostly been one-sided, with the Longhorns holding the edge in the series. It doesn’t look like things are going to be that difficult for Texas in this game, as they should be able to handle the Owls pretty easily.
But in college football, as in any other sport, surprises can happen; the Longhorns will need to be on their toes.
The following is a quick look at this Saturday's game against Rice, with some insight into who will win, how and why.
The Longhorns have traditionally been tough opponents for the Owls and there is no reason why the Longhorns shouldn’t be as tough this season.
Granted, the Longhorns will have a new quarterback in Garrett Gilbert at the helm, but he should be ready for this game.
The Owls will start quarterback Nick Fanuzzi for this game. Fanuzzi has seen some decent success with Rice but shouldn’t give Texas too much to worry about.
So the quarterback advantage here goes to the Longhorns.
Rice will have running back Tyler Smith carrying the ball; he is a proven runner with a lot of experience. If the Longhorns defense can key on him and force the Owls to throw the ball, it will open up the Longhorn pass rush to wreak havoc on the Owls' passing game.
The Longhorns will begin the new season with Cody Johnson at running back. Johnson should be able to handle the load in this game. It would be a good idea for the Longhorns to start off running the ball to allow Gilbert some time to get comfortable and run the offense.
At the wide receiver position, the Longhorns will start John Chiles, James Kirkendoll, and Greg Smith (as the possible H-Back), along with tight end Barrett Matthews. This gives Gilbert a solid receiving corps to keep the ball moving down field through the air.
The Owls' receivers include Pierre Beasley, Corbin Smiter, Derek Clark, and tight end Vance McDonald. While this isn’t a big-name group, they are productive so look for the Longhorn’s defense to attempt to shut them down early and keep them from catching the ball.
Texas’ defense looks pretty good going into this season and should be able to shut down the Owls' offense pretty easily. Leading the defense this season will be middle linebacker Emmanuel Acho as well as his brother, defensive end Sam Acho. These two will be an important part of the Longhorn defense this season and they will get a good start against the Owls.
The Owls' defense this season will be led by senior defensive end Cheta Ozougwu and senior defensive tackle Scott Solomon. These guys have a lot experience but won’t be able to match up against a much more powerful and better put-together Texas offense.
Texas is a good team and gets an easy first game of the year against the Owls. Don’t expect Rice to just lie down, however; they will put up as big a fight as they can against the Longhorns in this, the first game of the new college football season for both teams.
Texas will win this game, but by how much? The Longhorns have steam-rolled over the Owls in the past on their way to victory. That could happen again this season, but with a new quarterback, look for Texas to take a bit of time to get him used to things in this game.
Texas 40 Rice 17