KICKOFF: 5 p.m.
ANNOUNCERS: Shawn Kenney (play-by-play), LaDarrin McLane (color analyst), Smacker Miles (sideline)
RADIO: UConn IMG Radio Network; Varsity Network App; 97.9 ESPN Hartford, WGCH 1490 AM, WAVZ 1300 AM, WILI 1400 AM and 95.3 FM, WICH 1310 AM and 94.5 FM; Sirius/XM online streaming, XM 386 (UConn), XM 387 (Rice)
ANNOUNCERS: Mike Crispino (play-by-play), Wayne Norman (color analyst), Adam Giardino (sideline)
RECORDS: UConn (0-5), Rice Owls (3-2)
POINT SPREAD: Rice -9.5
OVER/UNDER: 47.5 (odds via DraftKings)
SERIES HISTORY: UConn and Rice have never met on the gridiron. However, the UConn men’s basketball team practiced at Rice during their run to the NCAA championship.
WEATHER FORECAST: Houston, TX
Fun With Numbers
330: It has been 330 days (as of game day) since the Huskies have won a football game.
367: It has been 367 days (as of game day) since UConn won a road game.
3: Defensive lineman Jelani Stafford leads UConn with three rushing touchdowns on the season.
2: UConn has lost both games against AAC opponents since leaving the conference. Rice is now a member of the American.
9.4: The average number of tackles by UConn linebacker Jackson Mitchell per game, 23rd best in FBS.
73: Rice’s average rushing yards per game, 127th best in FBS.
143.6: UConn’s average rushing yards allowed, 77th in FBS.
307: The Owls average 307 passing yards per game, 14th best in FBS.
229.2: The Huskies give up 229.2 passing yards a game, 71st in FBS.
What to Watch For
UConn's secondary vs. Rice’s passing attack
The Huskies have been allowing a lot of big plays through the air and Rice may be the most dangerous passing offense they’ve faced thus far. The Owls don’t run the ball well, so they’ll most likely be focused on trying to beat UConn by throwing the ball to all parts of the field against a vulnerable secondary and linebacker group. UConn’s secondary is a bit banged up, but also will be challenged by Rice QB JT Daniels and his leading receiver Luke McCaffrey, two P5 transfer journeymen who have been quite productive thus far.
UConn passing game vs. itself
With a run game that is relatively reliable, the difference for UConn’s offense will be whether its passing attack will show up. It happened for the first time against Utah State, with Ta’Quan Roberson completing 5-of-7 attempts over 15 yards and 5-of-9 attempts between five and 14 yards on a day where he completed 73 percent of his attempts for 258 yards with two TDs and one interception, which was made on an incredible individual effort.
Roberson and the Husky pass-catchers will need to continue this level of performance in order to give the UConn offense hope for the rest of this season and beyond.
Finding their compete
The Huskies have been grinding and playing hard despite the disappointments. Two games that could have been won, against FIU and Utah State, were lost by a combined eight points, both one-score games where a lucky bounce or minor mistake could have made a difference in the other direction.
The Huskies’ bowl hopes are dimming, but they still have plenty to play for this season. UConn proved it was a resilient group with the way it fought through injuries and a tough start to the season last year, and will have to show that again.
Regional pride (and recruiting) is on the line against Sacred Heart, UMass, and Boston College. Against USF and Rice, the Huskies have a chance to beat a team from their former conference and make this season’s win total a bit more respectable. Against James Madison and Tennessee, they can prove that they’re tougher than people think.
Despite the 0-5 record, UConn is not as bad as it was in 2019 or 2021. Proving that it hasn’t moved backward from 2022 would be nice. The Utah State game is a good sign, even though the final result was bad, but they need to keep it going. That’s what we’re looking for over these next three games.