Big 12 Previews

Texas vs. Rice: Preview, Prediction, and Game Odds

NCAA Football: Baylor at Texas

Here is everything you need to know ahead of the matchup between the Texas Longhorns and the Rice Owls.


Saturday, September 2; 2:30 p.m. CT; Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium; Austin, Texas

TV: FOX (Jason Benetti, Brock Huard, Allison Williams)

Radio: Longhorn Radio Network (Craig Way, Roger Wallace, Will Matthews)

2022 Records: Texas 8-5 (6-3 Big 12); Rice 5-8 (3-5 CUSA)

Rankings: Texas No. 11 (AP); Rice NR

Series History: Texas leads, 74-21-1

Last Meeting: Texas 58, Rice 0 (2021)

Line: Texas (-35.5)

Fun Fact: Texas enters the 2023 season as the No. 11 team in the Preseason AP Poll, its highest start since 2019. That year, under Tom Herman, the Longhorns would finish ranked No. 25 with an 8-5 record and a 38-10 win over No. 12 Utah in the Alamo Bowl.





For Texas to reach its potential in 2023, Quinn Ewers needs to realize his. That’s as simple as it gets. As one of the highest-rated quarterback recruits in history, Ewers has immense potential and if he can live up to that billing in 2023, the Longhorns will be a legitimate College Football Playoff contender. Last season, Ewers threw for 2,177 yards and 15 touchdowns with six interceptions but completed just 58.1% of his attempts. Big things are being expected from the sophomore in 2023, and the pressure will start in Week 1 against Rice, where he should dominate.


The reigning Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year returns to Austin this season, and he’s ready to help the defense elevate once again. Jaylan Ford was a man-possessed in ’22, with 119 tackles, 2.0 sacks, 10.0 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and four interceptions. As the unquestioned leader for this group in 2023, the Longhorns will count on Ford to keep things rolling as UT replaces a few key pieces from a season ago. Still, with talent and experience coming back, if Ford can anchor this unit, Texas can be even better defensively this season.




Yes, that JT Daniels. The former West Virginia and USC quarterback has found his final college destination in Houston and is projected as the starting quarterback for the Owls in 2023. In 2022, Daniels threw for 2,107 yards and 13 touchdowns with nine interceptions for the Mountaineers, but decided to transfer to Rice after Graham Harrell left to take the Purdue OC job. Daniels faced Texas last season, completing 29-48 for 253 yards and one score, but was sacked three times in a 38-20 loss. Now, he’ll face the Longhorns in the nonconference, and with a much less proven offensive line.


The Owls sack leader in 2022 (6.5 sacks) returns after a third-team all-conference year, and figures to be Rice’s top defender this season. Pearcy is listed at 6-2, 243 pounds and comes off the edge, but might have a difficult time working against what should be the best offensive line he’ll face all season. If Rice is to pull off the improbable, it will likely be because Pearcy made an impact defensively. Still, the Owls will need a lot more than that to pull this one off.




Is this finally the year? Texas has been “back” several times over the last decade, but they’ve never really stuck around for very long. Will that change in 2023? The Longhorns start the year off with a ho-hum opener against Rice but have a massive test in Week 2 when they head to Tuscaloosa. Can they take care of business and put this game out of reach right away? It would be a good sign if that were the case, as the more rested and healthy they go into the Alabama game, the better. To reach their goals in 2023, Texas needs to take care of the little things, and that starts with dominating a team like Rice on Saturday.


Can the Owls play spoiler as a major underdog? There’s no doubt that the Longhorns are at least peeking ahead to the Texas game in Week 2, but will it be enough for Rice to make things interesting? I’m going to say no, as the talent disparity between these two teams alone is enough to side with Texas. There aren’t many games on the Longhorns’ schedule that they could sleepwalk into and still win by four scores, but this is one of them. For Rice, the goal on Saturday should be to keep things competitive, win a few situations or drives, and take something positive into a rivalry game against Houston next week.

PREDICTION: Texas 55, Rice 17

This game should start getting ugly before halftime if Texas is locked in, and even if they aren’t, Rice just doesn’t have the depth to hang with Texas for long. If it’s a two-score game going into the half, second-half fatigue will eventually wear the Owls down, allowing the Longhorns to pull away and win this game by several scores. My expectation is for Quinn Ewers to look sharp and be seated after one drive in the third quarter. Texas should win this game by a wide margin, potentially setting up a Top 10 showdowns with Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide next week.

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