Sorry for the wait on this one guys, but here we are, meeting again as our Panthers are set to take the field against what appears to be an inferior opponent; the Rice Owls.

Rice at a Glance:

 Record: (1-3)

PPG for/against: 12F/31.8A

Leading Passer: Jackson Tyner (241 yards, 0 touchdowns, 1 interception) and                              Sam Glaesmann (229 yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions)

Leading Rusher: Samuel Stewart (44 carries, 191 yards, 0 touchdowns)

Leading Receiver: Aaron Cephus (7 receptions, 133 yards, 1 touchdown) and                                  Samuel Stewart (10 receptions, 109 yards, 0 touchdowns)

How inferior are they?  I’m not quite sure, but I know that after the prior three weeks, what should be a good feeling about this game, is just absent.  Let me introduce myself as a Newfound Pessimist over a   (-22) line in favor of Pitt.

Yeah sure, it is Rice, a school steeped in an academic tradition, but what has Pitt really proven this season that suggests they will win outright?  Nothing, Pitt has proven nothing this season and I really feel this game will fall right into line with that 2017 tradition of just looking pathetic.

As it stands, it appears Pitt will turn back to Max Browne being the man under center, at least to start the game.  That’s really the right call in this case and it’s easy, neither has shown anything to rave about, but it’s clear that Browne has the stronger arm that the coaches trust.  The mind is the other factor in this case.  Hopefully the synapses connect to provide a game on offense we all will still be down on the following week.

This week is do-or-die for offensive coordinator Shawn Watson.  If the pieces don’t fit after this week, there is no fathomable way he returns to stand absent in front of the media.  I fully mean that, if Pitt is unable to break through this week and put 40 offensive points on the board, he is out.

Also, this must be the week they get Quadree Henderson incorporated into the passing game.  I said it the last two weeks, and clearly it hasn’t changed.  Not that my voice serves as a master to disciple, but I think it is obvious the need to get him the ball, outside of the sweeps. Those just aren’t working.  I gushed about Maurice Ffrench last week and I hold true, when he is able to keep his feet, he is the better option to run the sweeps over Henderson.

Players like Jester Weah, Aaron Mathews and Reuben Flowers III should be able to feast on the outside.  Against Stanford in a game that both teams traveled to Australia to play, the Rice secondary surrendered 369 yards passing.  They were deep, down the sideline throws, ones that Browne can throw, just hopefully not 17 yards out-of-bounds.

In their game against Houston, Rice only mustered three points while Houston racked up 38, all in the first half.  While they didn’t score in the second half, Houston ran into some trouble with the adjustments Rice made at the half.  Houston quarterback Kyle Allen’s first half efficiencies went out the door and the team faltered, clearly just on the offensive side of the ball.

Not to be outdone, their rush defense has been horrendous, too.  Against Stanford, the Owls gave up 8.0/yards per carry to finish the game off by surrendering 287 yards and five touchdowns. Almost Steeler-esque. I like the opportunity for AJ Davis to finally get his hands on the ball and do a lot of the running in the second half with Chawntez Moss and Qadree Ollison starting the game as the bell-cows.

Let’s not forget that Pitt will have George Aston back in the fold, who claims he is/has been the strongest player on the team since the day he walked on the field.  There’s not much to suggest otherwise.  Aston could make the biggest overall difference in the game.

To be honest, there is really no way to elaborate on the Owl’s offense.  While Pitt hasn’t quite been a juggernaut this season, the Owls have been worse; even with their 38-point outburst against UTEP.  We all too familiarly understand bad offense in 2017, if those woes continue, it could be a very boring, 12-hour game with 138 punts.

However, what does worry me a tad is Rice’s use of the running back as a receiver. Does anyone remember that Youngstown State game?  The wheel route, thing of beauty, wasn’t it?

That’s the sort of thing we should expect in this game as well.  Rice will be able to seclude a linebacker on their back, and when done right, will slice our linebackers for big numbers across the middle.  It doesn’t take the talent of Saquon Barkley to do that, it’s any sort of talent.  It’s also a big reason as to why Henry Miller will be moving up 7 yards to join the linebackers from his safety position.

Pitt will need to be more athletic on the defensive front to put less pressure on the backers to make instinctive reads rather than the right reads. Rashad Weaver will be a big part of that plan along with Kam Carter who was absent from last week’s game.

If you caught me in the act on Twitter(@clogue_32), I thought Kam was going to have a huge game and play a significant role in the defense containing the run last week, only to have him not be on the travel roster announced two minutes later.

We will see a couple of things happen for the first time in the game. I like the ability of Damar Hamlin to get his first career interception in the Blue/Gold.  Pat Narduzzi specified Hamlin as being one of the players, along with Jalen Williams, to have wholly improved from the beginning of the season until now.

The second thing we see happen for the first time is a quarterback throw for multiple touchdowns. A big feat on a normal day, not at all, but with the status of the team, it will be huge for a lot of player’s confidence.  Jester Weah being the biggest of them all.  Max Browne gets the start and will hold on to the ‘starter’ label for the next week at Syracuse.

Predictions

Chris Logue – I have picked Pitt to win in three-of-four games this season and have been made a fool in two of those.  What it has been so far this season is Pitt is inferior against teams that pepper the ball down the field and also the same against teams that like to train their way to the end-zone.

While it automatically suggests the defense is the problem, the offense must do its part in making sure the D isn’t out on the field every three minutes.  That’s why I like Pitt in this game; they will finally own the time of possession and give our defense a much-needed rest.  Pitt takes this one 47-24.

Reed Kohberger – I’m in a hurry and will predict this evening… but if I was betting I’d sure take Rice and the points.

119 thoughts on “Know the Enemy: Rice and Prediction Thread

  1. 27-6 Pitt. And Reed, who has implied that quality of opponent doesn’t matter, will be forced to declare Conklin a genius.

    BTW, if the attendance doesn’t reach 45k, blame it on the Parkway West shutdown

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    1. It’s the inbound Parkway East that is being shutdown. The irony is that the detour is through Oakland!

      Just to make sure that Pitt has a poor turnout PennDOT is also restricting traffic at 28/279N and the Fort Duquesne Bridge. Then, just to piss me off again for the post game drive, PennDOT will once again restrict 376 West to one lane heading onto the Fort Pitt Bridge.

      I am anticipating lots of open spaces for my bottomless popcorn and souvenir soda refills. Plus full sprawl in my seats. I am guessing 30k max. No PSU season ticket holders and few from Houston coming to augment.

      If Pitt doesn’t beat the spread in this game coaching and lineup changes have got to happen. Rice is ranked #87 in total defense and #118 in total offense. Pitt wins 31-7.

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      1. Me too. That’s why I said max. I think the lower bowl will be 2/3 full and very sparse in the upper deck. The one plus that they will have is that it is supposed to be great football weather.

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  2. 21-10 Pitt and nothing in this game will prove anything about Pitt. Until the offense scores over 21 points in regulation I am not predicting a Pitt score over that amount again. I am truly hoping for the feel good game after three weeks of misery but it’s Pitt and they never make it easy for us fans.

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  3. 31-14 Pitt. This is a game that Pitt should absolutely win, and I expect the offense to show flashes.

    I am not as convinced as others that Browne should start. I’d rather have a more experienced Dinucci heading into camp for a competition with Pickett than another season with little to no experience among returning quarterbacks.

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  4. “However, what does worry me a tad is Rice’s use of the running back as a receiver. ”

    As I posted last evening, Rice’s Top Rusher Sammy Stewart is Out for the game.
    He is also their leading Receiver.

    “Stewart is dealing with an ankle injury and will not play against Pittsburgh on Saturday.”

    Rice’s 2nd leading rusher Nashon Ellerbe is also Questionable for the game.

    The Owls will also be playing with their of their D-Linemen out.

    Pitt 28 Rice 10

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    1. Gasman, you might be anticipating a little too much from the Pitt offense but I think they cover the spread too. I’ll explain why in my own prediction below.

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  5. Rice like Pitt……. has a 2 bad QB shuffle going on.

    One of them has a shoulder injury and missed the last game, status is questionable.
    He’s the one, that has thrown Rice’s only TD pass of the season.

    They both are really bad, but who knows one could have a career day against the Keystone Cop Defense.

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  6. Looking over our stats I see AJ Davis carried the ball 4 times against the Penguins for 8 yards.

    And for this we burned this kid’s redshirt. Ludicrous.

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  7. Pitt 38 Rice 14, Our offense sets the table for two Rice touchdowns and the Pitt defense also sets up at least 3 of Pitt’s touchdowns on takeaways.

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  8. Pitt’s Leading Receivers:

    Rah Rah Lopes – 14 catches, 163 yards, 1 TD
    Big Q – 13 catches, 116 yards, 1 TD
    Ffrenchy – 11 catches. 72 yards
    Father Flanagan – 10 catches , 111 yards
    The Court Jester – 8 catches, 84 yards, 1 TD (+ countless drops)

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  9. Obviously, Pitt SHOULD finally put a win up on the board with Rice coming to town.

    Looooooose… and watch the wheels come flyin’ off the Narduzzi Family Truckster Wagon.

    Lots of empty seats already… and we’ve just started!

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  10. Rueben Flowers is reminding me of that WR we had out of NJ HS a couple years, that was highly rated and never did much. And then transferred. Although that kid made a catch or two I believe.

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  11. Ok,
    A few thoughts. Is Rice better or worse than YSU? Have the Panthers in any way proven their O can score TDs? Has our D stopped anyone this year? Have our QBs proven that they can pass down the field? Can our OL effectively block?
    These questions lead me to the good guys scoring 3 TDs and 2 FG.
    PITT: 26
    RICE: 20

    Like

      1. And therein lies the $64,000 question. Doe’s Pitt seize the opportunity or rather come out flat and play down to their competition.

        The answer is dependent on this coaching staff getting it done this week. This game is 100% on Narduzzi & Co.

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  12. Pitt in a squeaker 21 to 20. We continue to hammer a square peg into a round hole!

    About the only thing predicable about this game is I can guarantee plenty of empty yellow seats!

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  13. The offense moved the ball against PSU. What the hell happened after that?

    Watson’s offense is that predictable maybe. Horrible horrible coaching for sure.

    If Pitt puts up 30 I will be shocked. If they do not, Watson should be fired on the spot.

    Pitt 27 – 21

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  14. The optimism is on life support, but I still detect a pulse

    Pitt 37
    Rice a Roni 6

    Player of the game—don’t vomit, Max Browne with 3 td passes and over 275 yards passing

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  15. I can’t see this Pitt team beating anybody by 21 points.

    Pitt 24
    Rice 13

    Pitt D scores 2 TDs on turnovers.

    Come on Panthers, surprise me.

    I’ll be one of the 25k in attendance. Not sure why. Just a bad habit that I haven’t been able to break for nearly 50 years.

    Like

  16. After watching Emel’s video I need a couple gogo dancers at the next tailgate. Attendance will be down with 20 k butts in seats but we finally get to see AJ bust loose… 42-14 good guys.

    Gasman, after buying another bottle of Patron I found the original one today..haha. Canman is righteous after all.

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  17. Ollison breaks his first tackle of the year on his way to a 50 yard rushing day. JJ Smith again leaves his jock on the field, but Pitt survives 21-14.

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  18. couple things…..

    Fran, the Go Go dancers are the only thing missing from the tailgates. 🙂

    Tomorrow’s game could be a record setter. Lowest attendance of all time.

    It’s easy to see the PITT fan-base is getting older. Many seem to forget how long it’s been since PITT has won an outright conference title. or have they ever done that?

    I remember the days when winning was expected then decades of disappointments. Now back to expecting wins? PITT lost to #4 and #9 rated teams and a good GT team on the road.

    Now if PITT wins by 20 pts it’s a major disappointment. When did this happen?

    Yes PITT has played poorly a few games. psu, not so much, Browne’s 2 interceptions aside. GT game the defense played ok with no help from the offense.

    A public service announcement. Don’t forget to take your daily medication people.. . 🙂 . . .ike

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  19. I made my prediction yesterday due to business meetings and travel.

    I see Billy Ghost predicted the same score – a Pitt win

    21 – 10

    I’ve got Pitt charging back after being down 3 – 0 at the half.

    With halftime adjustments, Pitt busts out 3 TD’s to win a nail bitter in front of 19k strong.

    Rumor has it that the honorary captain will be none other than Tino “the sack man” Sunseri – jk –

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  20. Pitt 45 Rice 10

    We had a couple of drives against PSU
    Had 1 drive against Tech
    Had a decent half against YSU

    The offense has a pulse, barely, but will show it tomorrow. The o-line needs to do its job and if so, will make this look easy….if not, the rest of this year may see one win.

    Want to see the players have a good game and execute well. Don’t want to see knucklehead chest beating by Pitt players if they are making big plays, but DO want to see big plays on O and D and ST.

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  21. BTW, does anyone else find it interesting that Sean Milker has been absent/ silent since the whole Adidas-gate thing went down? Cancelled the season opening presser. There has apparently been no mention of him from the university as well.

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  22. Nice read – great to see optimism pouring forth again! Good news that their DL is only half = Pat runs and runs, to get timing and co-ordination in the running game……he’s gotta fine tune that engine, baby! Passing is mostly short possession-type stuff.

    Still, Pitt feasts on Rice Pilaf: 42-10.

    No FGs, as we score TDs when in the Red Zone. QO runs north/south with George Aston crunching LBs, and catching passes out of the backfield
    (I found the glass and the Kool Aid – yesterday!)

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  23. Pittsburgh and all our major cities are stuck with bad bridges, tunnels, roads, water, wastewater plants, etc. We are so far stuck with a mix of team ingredients that do not seem to work. Losing to Rice is inexcusable.

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  24. I just found out what Stallings paid his top recruits.

    $19.95 for one.
    Old iPhone for another
    20% off card at Chillis
    Gift Card at Belks for a pair of Rockports.

    Now we know what the market was for these 2 stars.

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  25. We stink. They stink worse – I hope. I don’t think we cover, but at this point I just hope we win the damn game.

    Us – 30
    Them – 13

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  26. Here is hoping the Panthers win but……..you never know. I am just going to enjoy the day with my Grandkids at the game and maybe by the time they are as old as me Pitt might be challenging for a conference title. Grandkids, Sunshine, Nachos, Pitt football, it doesn’t get any better than that.

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  27. Etna… enjoy those gradkids.. nuthin better…Our 2 and 4 year old are weekending with us while mom and dad go off… @. 75 I hope I/we live long enough to experience what you are looking forward to tomorrow… hope the boys bring home a victory for the Etna crew…..

    Pitt 31. Owls 20

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  28. Major… I always start at the end of the thread and work back through the posts.. just saw your prediction… Grest minds think alike…
    Hope to see you at the Carolina tailgate !!

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  29. People will stay away Ray, in droves. Big B how could you get your own age wrong? Upitt needs to work out a better deal for Rockports. Get on it UPitt.

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  30. Fran,
    Do not, under any circumstances, give away Reed’s bottle of Patron.
    That will belong in my riteous hands once my brothers destroy Rice-Krispies.

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  31. Drinking at the lake in Maine…translates to poor judgement:
    What’s UPitt’s over/under on Rockports wins this year?
    I think Kev will surprise some people.
    So, whats it going to be UPitt?
    Or has marriage softened you?

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  32. Upitt, I never go into downtown Charlotte anymore since the Riots of last year. You just never know when these creatures might launch a Flash Riot !

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  33. rkb… eye hand/finger coordination and I am having a Friday game Eve Dark n Stormy.. too mellow and lazy to proof-read..

    See you at the POV Carolina Tailgate.. dress special like you did for the FRANKCAN CUP… I am putting together a group of flatlanders to challenge the best to get our names on the Cup in 2018…

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  34. Thanks for the traffic tiPs! My game prediction is Pitt 45, Rice 24. See Younz at the tailgate with my better half if we’re not stuck in traffic.

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  35. Pitt 4
    Rice 2
    Rice falls down in their own end zone twice to Pitts once. Not a great defensive struggle. Just 2 horrible offenses. The momentum Pitts gets from the game leads them to a 2 win season. At the press conference Narduzzi talks about how they have to clean up a few things and they will be fine.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Just don’t go though Wilkinsburg at night.. 🙂 Rt 28 just has normal delays and hazards, drive safe
    Big B cant wait to meet you and others. Love to be at tailgate tomorrow but am working a midnight to 8 am shift doing warrant approval tonight. If Big B at N Carolina I wont miss – bring your babes!!! Too bad my golf outfit was the best thing I had going

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  37. they don’t pay Heather enough

    Craig Meyer ✔ @CraigMeyerPG
    Pitt men’s soccer wins its first-ever ACC game and records its first in-conference victory since Oct. 8, 2011. Quite a night indeed

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  38. On another positive note — the script PITT in the middle of Heinz looked much better at the last game. 😳

    They ditched the white fill-in and maybe made the letters larger??

    Not that I give a crap about anything but Ws these days…

    GO PITT.

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  39. This should be a Pitt cover, but I am staying away. Pitt 27 Rice 10. However, if this game is close, I don’t see another W on the schedule.

    UPitt put me down for the UNDER on mens bball wins. I actually think 12 is the perfect O/U for Pitt hoops.

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  40. Bill Brasky comes out of the stands and into the game for Pitt in the 2rd quarter, plays both sides of the ball, leading Pitt to a 42-17 win.

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  41. Pitt will be 1-0 today. We will either run it 35 times to keep the score close, or open it up and have a blowout. I go with the latter on this and Pitt rolls 42-27. No, we don’t beat the spread.

    AJDavis gets some carries. You have to remember that two of his four carries were on a TD run of 2 yards and a 4th and 1, where the box was stuffed. All that he showed was a great desire to make a first down and a touchdown on each of his carries. Burning a redshirt on those carries would make me angry and transfer if I was any of the freshman that played against YSU and haven’t seen the field since.

    Today is the day we see a lot more rotation. Watch for some OL changes. Do we see Ford, Morgan, Warren or Drake? I hope so. I don’t like having a redshirt walk-on at the center position, sorry.

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  42. I also hope we see AJ Davis today, if not why burn his RS in the first place?

    This is a game where the opponent is both beat up & bad concurrently. Rice is ripe for a raping but the big question is can this coaching staf get these young kids focused so that they can dominate this inferior opponent for 60 minutes?

    Even though Pitt has a history of playing down to their competition, the difference maker in this game is frustration all around in this Pitt program right now. There’s a lot of kids who are now playing that just aren’t used to losing from back in their HS days. Plus the coaching staff is irritable themselves. So many things just not clicking and they know that the natives are getting restless. I think they realize a win by a TD or two over Rice just won’t cut it over Rice.

    This team NEEDS this game right now. Confidence is shaky, & many kinks need to be ironed out on this Panther squad. Even though many will comment that we will learn nothing from this game no matter what the final result, I beg to differ. If Pitt loses this game, then it will indicate that Narduzzi has lost this team and a season like 2-10 is possible. But a good butt whooping by the Panthers over the Owls not only gets us winning again but it gives these young kids a real boost of much needed confidence after losing three straight.

    The return of George Aston in the offensive huddle lifts the spirit of our O. I also think that AJ Davis sees some successful playing time today as well. Pitt putting up 42 is my prediction.

    Now on Pitt’s defense, frustrated players want to see some success. 1st down plays killed us against GT. That changes today. Also being unable to get off the field on third downs has driven them crazy all season long. With the injuries to Rice’s QB & most productive RB as well, the Owls have no answers to Pitt’s dominating defense today.

    We are going to see a Pitt performance today that we were hoping for against YSU, a convincing victory over an inferior opponent on both sides of the ball. If that transpires then that possibility of that 6-6 potential that I eluded to earlier this week remains in play.
    However anything less than that and There will be little hope that Pitt finishes better than 4-8 in this rebuilding year.

    I agree with Upitt’s prediction, 42-10 Pitt win while covering the spread. Which is interesting for Upitt since he bet on Rice given +21. Makes a person wonder?

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    1. I’d agree with Dr. Tom if I knew that OCSW was able to dramatically improve his game calling. If he calls a game like his GT game calling that’s worth 14 points for Rice. And MB at qb scares me not so much for this game but for what it means for the next one. I’m now in the camp that thinks the coaches are dumb. If I’m right how do the coaches stop being dumb in a week?

      Like

  43. Louisville hires it’s assistant as interim coach, like he wasn’t involved. This the FBI not the NCAA – never poke a bear in the eye with a sharp stick. Was an interesting article in PG re an interview with Sonny Vaccaro who started the whole sneaker thing when he ran Roundball Classic.

    Like

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