Photo credit: Charlotte Athletics
With Charlotte (3-7, 2-4) officially out of bowl contention, it’s time to play spoiler. The Rice Owls (4-6, 2-4) will enter Jerry Richardson Stadium needing to win their final two games of the year to hit 6 wins. Charlotte has a chance to nuke that, but Rice always stands an outside shot at bowling with 5 wins due to their APR score (they did this last year). There’s little doubt that Rice wants payback for the thrashing CLT laid on them in Houston last year in the first game after Will Healy’s dismissal.
Charlotte’s still hunting for their first ever home AAC win, both wins on the season have been on the road (ECU, Tulsa). This is a great opportunity for Charlotte to work on finishing things off at JRS on a high note and take some momentum down to USF to end the season. With a new AD for the Owls, a loss to Charlotte or at home next week to FAU, could have the Owls searching for another head coach.
Injuries to note
JT Daniels (Rice QB) is hurt, but most expect him to play in this one. For Charlotte, eyes are on Jalon Jones, is he healthy enough to give it a go?
What I’ll be looking for from Charlotte
JT Daniels has seen it all at the FBS level, and Rice leans hard into this. The Owls pass on 61.30% of their plays, 6th highest percentage in FBS. This will test Charlotte’s secondary, who have improved dramatically from last season. CLT edge rushers will have to avoid the offsides that aided Memphis last time out.
Who’s healthy and plays? What’s the rotation like? No doubt that Jones does everything he can to see the field in his last home game as a collegiate athlete.
After exploding onto the scene last week, is Wilson able to have solid back-to-back performances? Charlotte’s run game has seemingly buoyed from one player to another each week due to injuries. Charlotte has had a different leading rusher for each of the past 5 games.
Penalties + Explosives
In what will be the last collegiate home game for quite a few players, Charlotte will need to focus on executing one play at a time and simply doing their job, no “hero ball”. That can, and does far too often, lead to penalties and/or explosive plays for the opposition.
Projections from around the internet
via @statsowar on Twitter
Home underdogs once again. Per Action, Charlotte opened +2.5, and the line hasn’t budged. ESPN’s SP+ predicts Rice will win 31-25 and gives Charlotte just a 37% chance to win the home finale.