After winning two consecutive games at home, the Baylor Bears will head to Houston to play the Rice Owls (0-2) at 7 p.m. Sept. 16.
Coach Jim Grobe noted his team will play the Owls in their home opener. Rice began the season in a 46-14 loss at Western Kentucky and fell to Army 31-14 last week.
The Owls are led by quarterback Tyler Stehling, who has completed 39 of 68 passes for 383 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions and leads the team in rushing with 17 carries for 81 yards and a score.
“I can’t imagine starting the first two games of the season on the road, especially against good teams,” Grobe said. “(Rice) changed some things a little bit, they’re spreading it out a little bit more, they’re picking up pace offensively, so I think they’re doing some different things that will probably show up better down the road.”
Grobe is anxious to see the Bears in a road game, especially the young players, in a hostile environment.
“Those are the guys you worry about when you go on the road; the veteran guys have been around the block a couple times, so they’re used to playing on the road,” he said. “You’re in an unfamiliar setting, you’re in a different hotel, you’re liable to find the youngest guys out in the hallway throwing ice at each other and running up and down the hallways and doing crazy stuff. So yeah, I think getting them to focus on winning is your key, and that’s why you need the older guys to set a good example.”
Grobe said he’s hoping the Bears won’t experience a first half like they did against SMU last week. Though Baylor won 40-13, the two teams played to a 6-6 tie at the half. He credited Mustangs coach Chad Morris and his staff for the way the opening quarters played out.
“I was disappointed that we started as slow as we did,” he said. “The defense kind of hung in there and kept us in the game in the first half and then I thought (offensive coordinator Kendal Briles) and the guys did a nice job and players offensively adjusting at halftime, and we came out and did some really, really good things.”
Part of that might be that Russell is still working on rapport with young receivers and the Bears are being called for several procedure penalties.
Russell said the unit might be trying to too hard and doing too much too quickly.
“That’s just where a lot of offenses can get in trouble when you try to do too much, try to put the ball in the right place rather than just throw it to them and expect them to catch the ball,” he said. “I think I was pressing a little bit just because it was a tight game, and I knew we had to make some big plays to get the ball moving.”
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