It is a busy weekend for football at Houston’s NRG Stadium. In between tonight’s Houston-Washington State game, and Sunday’s Houston Texans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars bout, the Texas Longhorns travel to Space City to face hometown Rice.
Those outside of the state may not realize it, but Texas and Rice share a rivalry with a pretty long history. The series dates back to 1914, with UT owning a 72-21-1 record in the series.
Between that first game and the 1999 season, the Longhorns and Owls played almost every year. Things have been dialed back a bit since, with the series picking back up between 2003-08, 2010-11, and in 2015. Two more games are currently on the books for 2021 and 2023.
Texas is currently riding a 13-game winning streak. Rice last won in 1994, ending a 28-game Texas winning streak dating back to 1965.
The series even has an anecdote in American political history, when, in 1962, President John F. Kennedy mentioned Rice vs. Texas in his famous “We choose to go to the Moon” speech, delivered at Rice, advocating for the U.S.’s push in the Space Race:
“But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask, why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas? We choose to go to the moon! We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard…”
Rice used part of that speech in its hype video for Saturday’s game.
— Rice Football (@RiceFootball) September 13, 2019
More on the coming matchup:
Game Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
Channel: CBS Sports Network
Spread: Texas -32.5
Announcers: Carter Blackburn, Aaron Taylor, Jenny Dell
Texas is coming off of a rough loss, but one that may not have hurt the team’s reputation much. The Longhorns, who are dealing with some serious injury issues at key spots like running back, had a nice second-half comeback to get into a shootout against LSU. Ultimately, they fell at home 45-38.
UT won its first game against Louisiana Tech 45-14. While they may be on the outside looking in as College Football Playoff contenders, the No. 12 next to the team’s name feels appropriate.
Rice is in the midst of a deep rebuild in year two under Mike Bloomgren, after a 2-10 campaign last season. The team’s last winning season came in 2014, when it reached its third straight bowl game under David Bailiff. There have been signs of competitiveness though, hanging very tough against Army in Week 1, a 14-7 loss. Last weekend, they fell to Wake Forest 41-21.