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Battle of Houston as the Cougars look to extend their winning streak over Rice to 8 straight games

Houston (1-0) at Rice (0-1), Saturday, 7 p.m. ET (NFL Network)

Line: Houston by 9 ½, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: Houston leads 33-11.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

These crosstown rivals will meet for the 45th time in a game where the winner will take home the Bayou Bucket trophy. The Cougars have controlled the series overall and have been especially dominant recently, having won seven straight — the longest winning streak by either team in the history of the rivalry. Houston looks to improve to 2-0 for the first time since 2018 in its last tune-up before making its Big 12 Conference debut next week against TCU.

KEY MATCHUP

Donovan Smith and Houston’s passing game vs. Rice’s secondary. Smith threw for 233 yards and two touchdowns in his Houston debut after a transfer from Texas Tech as the Cougars got a 17-14 win over UTSA. Now he’ll face the Owls, who are tied for 108th in yards passing allowed after they gave up 300 in a loss to No. 11 Texas last week.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Houston: WR Samuel Brown. He was Smith’s favorite target in the opener, finishing with six receptions for 106 yards. It was the second career 100-yard receiving game for Brown, who transferred from West Virginia last season. He proved to be a deep threat against UTSA and had a 47-yard reception.

Rice: QB JT Daniels. The senior will try and bounce back after a tough performance against the Longhorns where he had just 149 yards passing with two interceptions and a touchdown. Daniels joined the Owls this season after playing at Southern California, Georgia and West Virginia. He had 2,107 yards passing with 13 TDs and nine interceptions last season for the Mountaineers.

FACTS & FIGURES

These are the two closest schools to one another in the FBS, with just 4.6 miles separating the campuses. … The Cougars have scored 31 points or more in 13 straight games in this series. Houston has scored at least 50 points in the series seven times, 60 points five times and 70 points on two occasions. … Houston’s three interceptions rank fifth in the nation. Leading the team is Malik Fleming, who had two in the opener. … The Owls haven’t won in the series since a 34-31 victory in 2010. … Rice managed just 27 yards rushing on 25 carries in the opener. ___

AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll