The 2022 LendingTree Bowl features the 5-7 Rice Owls against the 6-6 Southern Miss Golden Eagles. Here is the 2022 LendingTree Preview.
Rice Owls (5-7)
Rice only won five games, but was able to get to a bowl game because of their Academic Progress Rate. They defeated two bowl-eligible teams in Louisiana and UAB. The Owls lost one game to a non-bowl-eligible team.
The offense scores 25.2 points per game, which ties them for 85th nationally. They pass for 227.1 yards (ranked 72nd) and rush for 143.1 yards per game (ranked 75th).
T.J. McMahon has been the quarterback for the Owls this season. He has passed for 2,102 yards, 18 touchdowns and 14 interceptions on 60.2 percent completion. He is questionable with an injury. Four pass-catchers have at least 200 receiving yards on the season. Bradley Rozner is the leading receiver on the team with 41 catches for 834 yards and nine touchdowns. Luke McCaffrey has also played well with 51 receptions for 656 yards and six touchdowns, but he missed the last two games of the season with injury.
Three running backs have over 250 rushing yards for the Owls. Cameron Montgomery leads the way with 498 rushing yards. Juma Otoviano is second on the team with 391 yards and has a touchdown. Ari Broussard leads the team with nine touchdowns.
Defensively, the Owls concede 33.8 points per game, tying them for 119th in the country. They allow 167.2 rushing yards (ranked 92nd) and 210.2 passing yards per game (ranked 44th). Linebackers Chris Conti and Myron Morrison lead the team with 69 and 67 tackles respectively. Josh Pearcy leads the team with 5.5 sacks. Defensive back Gabe Taylor has made an impact with five passes defended and two interceptions in the secondary.
Southern Miss Golden Eagles (6-6)
Southern Miss won six games to make their first bowl game since 2019. They have two wins over teams that were at least .500: Tulane and Louisiana. Two of their losses were to teams who didn’t qualify for a bowl game: Miami and Georgia State.
The Golden Eagles score 24.2 points per game, which ranks them 94th in the country. They pass for 209.1 yards (ranked 96th) and rush for 123.4 yards per game (99th).
There have been several different players lining up for the quarterback this season for the Golden Eagles. The one who has been starting the most recently is Trey Lowe, who has 795 passing yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions on 53.4 percent completion. Four pass-catchers have at least 200 receiving yards this season. Their top receiver is Jason Brownlee, who has 52 receptions for 819 yards and seven touchdowns.
One many has carried the load of the rushing offense for Southern Miss. Frank Gore Jr. has 1,053 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on the season. The next closest rusher on the roster is Janari Dean with 179 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
Their defense allows 23.5 points per game, which is tied for 45th in the FBS. They give up 139.5 rushing yards (ranked 46th) and 228.2 passing yards per game (tied for 74th). Defensive back Malik Shorts leads the team with 92 total tackles and also has three interceptions. Defensive lineman Dominic Quewon has a team-high with nine sacks. Safety Jay Stanley has been impressive in the secondary with six passes defended and four interceptions.
Southern Miss has a much better defense and running game. They can ride Frank Gore Jr. to victory over the Owls.
Southern Miss Golden Eagles 29 Rice Owls 16
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