The UCLA Bruins open up their 2012 campaign on the road against the Rice Owls on Thursday.
Jim Mora begins his tenure as Bruins' head coach as UCLA looks to improve on last season's 6-8 (5-4 in conference play) overall record, in which it finished the year losing 49-31 to Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship game and falling to Illinois in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, 20-14.
The Owls will seek to build on last year as well, when they finished 4-8 overall and 3-5 in Conference USA play. Junior starting quarterback Taylor McHargue (eight touchdown passes and 1,072 pass yards in 2011) as well as big-play running and receiving threat Sam McGuffie (who only scored two total touchdowns last season) will try to ignite a Rice team that averaged 23.3 points per game a season ago.
Game Location: Rice Stadium, Houston, Texas
TV: CBS Sports Network
Game time, TV channel: 7:30 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network
Point spread: UCLA favored by 15.5
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For more on Bruins football, visit UCLA blog Bruins Nation, plus Pac-12 blog Pacific Takes and SB Nation Los Angeles. Also visit SB Nation Houston's coverage of Rice for news on the Owls.
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