Scouting the 2021 LA Tech football foes: Rice

With the start of football season around the corner, this is the final write-up of a 12-part series of season previews on the Louisiana Tech opponents for the upcoming season. Tech will travel to Houston to face the Owls on Nov. 27 at Rice Stadium. Kickoff time is 12 p.m. CT and the game will be televised on ESPN3.

2020 Record: 2-3 (2-3 in C-USA)

2020 Bowl Appearance: None

Head Coach: Mike Bloomgren (4th season)

Last Meeting (LA Tech 23, Rice in 2019): Louisiana Tech and Rice did not face off in 2020 as the scheduled game was canceled due to Covid19 concerns. Thus, the last time the two program met was in 2019 when the Bulldogs pulled off a 23-20 overtime victory on the road, the third win in what became an 8-game winning streak for Tech that season. Quarterback J’Mar Smith’s 12-yard run on a quarterback draw in the first overtime was the game-winner. Tech trailed 17-14 after a Rice field goal with 2:51 to play in the game, but Smith drove Tech 56 yards on eight plays and Bailey Hale tied the game on a 31-yard FG. Rice took a 20-17 lead in the first overtime on a 36-yard FG before Smith scored on the fifth play from scrimmage on Tech’s possession for the win. L’Jarius Sneed and Amik Robertson led Tech defensively with a combined 15 tackles and two pass break ups.

Rice Outlook: The Owls played only five games in 2020 after a University decision to not start its football season until late October. Mike Bloomgren’s Owls did pull one of the biggest upsets of the Conference USA season, defeating Marshall 20-0 on the road in early December, giving Rice fans hope entering the 2021 season. Rice must replace its leading passer, rusher and receiver from a year ago so there are plenty of question marks entering fall camp on the offensive side of the football. Transfer QB Jake Constantine (Boise State/Weber State) could be the signal caller after leading Weber State to back-to-back Big Sky titles while passing for more than 4,000 yards and 33 TDs in two years. If not, Nebraska QB transfer Luke McCaffrey (son of Ed McCaffrey and younger brother of Carolina Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey) could get the nod after seeing time in seven games for the Cornhuskers. Defensively, Rice allowed just 18 points per game last year so that unit might be what the Owls are hanging their hat on although they must replace leading tackler Blaze Alldredge (47 tackles, 3 TFL).

Season/Single Game Tickets: LA Tech fans can purchase season tickets for the 2021 year by calling 318-257-3631 or going to LATechSports.com/tickets. The Bulldogs host six home games this year, including a marquee non-conference match-up against SMU. Tech fans can also called the ticket office for information on road game tickets.


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