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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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No. 7 A&M hosts Rice in rematch of 2013 opener

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Tanner Garza — THE BATTALION Quarterback Kenny Hill needs 206 passing yards to reach 1,000 in his first three games.

Another week, another Saturday night game at Kyle Field.
After jumping into the top 10 in both polls, the Aggies will look to continue scoring more than 50 points per game in a non-conference matchup.
No. 7 Texas A&M will host the Rice Owls at Kyle Field for the second straight year. Last year the two teams faced off in the first game of the season with the Aggies prevailing 52-31.
As members of the Southwest Conference, A&M and Rice played annually from 1914 to 1995, meeting last year for the first time since the conference disbanded. The Aggies seek their 17th-straight win against Rice.
Despite the statistics, head coach Kevin Sumlin said the Owls will be as stiff of competition as ever and doesn’t expect the Owls to be fazed by the 12th Man.
“David Bailiff and I are good friends,” Sumlin said. “He’s done a fabulous job with that program. To be where they are and to win that league, to come from what Rice used to be as a program, to play the games that they’ve played, to go to Notre Dame, come to our place — they’re not going to be afraid, they weren’t afraid coming in here last year. They’ll be prepared. There’s nothing in that program that says they’re going to be the least bit intimidated coming in here to play us.”
A&M (2-0, 1-0 SEC) will be led by sophomore quarterback Kenny Hill, who has passed for 794 yards in two games — the most by an Aggie quarterback in that span. Hill needs 206 passing yards against Rice to become the first A&M quarterback to reach 1,000 passing yards in three games.
Despite hanging 73 points on Lamar, Hill knows ball security will be a priority for the Aggies after they turned the ball over three times against the Cardinals.
“They play really hard,” Hill said. “They’re disciplined. They don’t make a lot of mistakes. We’ve got to be smart with the football. We were a little sloppy this past week. We’ve got to clean that up.”
Coming off an open week, Rice (0-1, 0-0 CUSA) lost 48-17 against Notre Dame in its first game, giving up 576 total yards of offense. The Owls are 1-7 against ranked A&M teams at Kyle Field. It is the first time in school history that Rice will face two opponents ranked in the top 25 on the road to open the season.
The Owls are led by junior quarterback Driphus Jackson, who went 3-of-7 for 23 yards and rushed for 55 yards against A&M last year while splitting time with then-senior Taylor McHargue. Rice outgained the Aggies in total yards last year 509 to 486, and defensive coordinator Mark Snyder expects the Owls to use a gambit of weapons to attack on offense.
“They’re going to try to run the ball, they’re going to try to play-action, they’re going to do what they do, and they’re a very efficient offense,” Snyder said. “They’re going to be good again this year. This is a good football team we’re getting ready to play, and David’s a very good football coach. They won’t be intimidated coming in here, I can promise you that.”
After A&M set a state attendance record for a college football game and an NCAA record for student attendance against Lamar, Sumlin said he was impressed by the 12th Man’s presence despite last Saturday’s weather delay.
“At Texas A&M, football is a part of your collegiate experience,” Sumlin said. “That’s not the case everywhere. I’ve been a lot of places — too many, probably. There are not a lot of universities that have the same sort of student, football relationship that we have and it’s part of the collegiate experience here. We’ve got 38,000 students at a game — there are people that don’t have 38,000 people at the game. It’s a unique situation here, and we’re really appreciative of that.”
Kickoff against the Owls is at 8 p.m. Saturday and the game will be televised on ESPN2.

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