Brendan Bennett dives with the ball for a first down. Photo by Lindsey Thomas

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Fresh off a 33-14 defeat to the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) (5-1) last week, the UTSA football team saw their record fall to 2-4 at the halfway point of the season. The ‘Runners now look to get back on track during Homecoming Week against the Rice Owls (0-6) who are still seeking their first win of the year and are coming off of a bye last week. This will be the 7th meeting of all time against the Owls with the ‘Runners leading the series four games to three. Dating back to 2015, the ‘Runners have won four straight games over the Owls and won the most recent meeting in Houston last year with a score of 20-3.

Over the first six games, the Owls have gone winless. The Owls have played well against tough competition and kept it close in a number of games, notably falling to Baylor by a score of only 21-13. With Rice coming off of a bye, the ‘Runners are likely to see a well-rested and prepared Owls team, looking to contain the ‘Runners’ rushing attack, spearheaded by quarterback Lowell Narcisse.

Starting his second game in place of the injured Frank Harris, redshirt sophomore Narcisse once again flashed his running game against UAB last week as he wracked up 89 yards on the ground on 17 carries and added a touchdown. However, he again failed to eclipse 100 yards passing on the day. The lack of a passing game led to Narcisse and freshman

running back Sincere McCormick facing stacked fronts of up to seven or eight players on the UAB defense looking to stuff the run. If the ‘Runners wish to generate more offense, Rice may be a good bounce-back spot as their defense is currently surrendering 249.7 yards passing per game (90th nationally) and 156.3 yards rushing per game (66th nationally). The ‘Runners will look to clean up their undisciplined play as they come into the game averaging 7.67 penalties per game (110th in the nation), for 71.17 yards per game which ranks 111th in the nation. This stands in contrast to a disciplined Owls team who are averaging only three penalties a game for 24.5 yards per game, both ranked as the best in the nation. The ‘Runners’ miscues had a direct effect on last week’s loss against UAB, as two crucial penalties by the ‘Runners’ defense led to extended drives for UAB, resulting in 10 points. Last week, the defense was shredded by UAB to the tune of 492 yards of total offense.  This week they’ll look to redeem themselves against a Rice offense currently averaging only 285.8 yards per game, which ranks 125th nationally.

Broadcasting on ESPN 3, the ‘Runners will be taking on the Owls at the Alamodome on Saturday, Oct. 19, at 5 p.m.

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