FEARLESS PREDICTIONS: 2014 Week Six - FAU vs FIU
Here come the Panthers, for what is already Shula Bowl XIII. As tradition would have it, the bout is one of the biggest games of the year emotionally - if not the biggest.
The Boys of Florida Atlantic want to keep the Trophy were it belongs.
Florida International is trying to bolster what has been poor attendance for 2014, and is offering recent grads (Dec. 2013 – Aug. 2014) a sweet deal to entice them out to the contest - club seats for just $9 each, which includes one meal voucher per ticket purchased.
Hopefully it works, as this was the scene against Pitt earlier in the season.
At least they know someone will be there to see the game. The Owls always travel well down south, sporting a nice section of their own.
While the teams match somewhat evenly in a lot of categories, there are some key numbers to note for Thursday night.
FAU 59.3% FIU 51.3%
FAU 8 FIU 18
Third Down Conversions
FAU 27 FIU 17
Penalty Yards Per Game
FAU 31 FIU 62
The Panthers have a couple nuggets themselves, but these are the most relevant, IMO.
Bottom line, they may find it somewhat easier to move the chains by foot and will defend the same fairly well, however FAU's advantage in the passing game is not going to be offset.
Johnson is yet to toss an INT on the season, and don't expect that to change Thursday.
Would expect another close contest though, and like the Owls by a half dozen when it is all said and done - with another FAU celebration taking place in FIU's house.
Remember this one from 2009?
Owls 29 Panthers 23
What says you??
On to there offense which carries with it a terrible running game (#120 of all D I teams) averaging 86 years a game. To put that into perspective Jay Warren him-self averages 75.4 yards a game, two games in that equation where Nebraska and Alabama. There "dual-threat" QB…. or so they have been calling him, had his best day on the ground with 10 rushes for 27 yards… 2.7 yards a carry, i'm shaking just thinking about it. McGough's running game is almost as sad as his passing game, with Less than 50% pass completion. Lets face it, he is a freshman and maybe two years down the road we might be in a different situation but for the time being i'm not worried about the QB play, the offense will score 10 maybe 14 points….
Time to look at the Owls QB, Quez fresh off of a big win and being named conferences USA's offensive player of the week will come out redhot (we are going to forget about the first play of last week….. and the last play of the week before that). Quez played like a mad man out there with 295 yards in the air, 3 TDs, 37 yards on the ground including a 24 yard TD run, and another week of not throwing a INT. This could be his year with a majority of his receivers being seniors I can't think of a better time to be the QB of the owls.
Jay Warren, has surprised many as the breakout running back, only a sophomore and betting out Tony Moore for the #1 spot, averaging 5.2 yards a carry and 377 yards under his belt I can see him having a great day out there tomorrow, hopefully a 100 yard day… or maybe even better.
Jenson Stoshak, owls leading receiver with 295 yards, half of which came off a 4 catch 155 yard night against Tulsa in the Owls home opener. He seems to have some good nights and some bad ones but I think he is going to find his way into being Quezs #1 option late in this year and all of next.
Moving to the other side of the ball the Owls defense, playing well for the most part, they may have hit a speed bump or two down the road (the wyoming game) but i'm willing to forgive them if they keep producing turnovers and even a score here and there. They will need to tighten up a bit allowing 37 points to USTA last week, but USTA does have a very good offense (ours just showed that they where better). I was unaware of the sacks against till i saw this and because of that I can see our defense getting to there QB early and often getting 3 sacks tomorrow is not our of the question. With this added presser on the QB the secondary should do well not allowing many deep balls (or any passes for that matter) and once again there running game is terrible.
Does playing at home really matter when playing FIU? No, the only issue is that now i need to get my passport stamped, fight 95 traffic just to go all the way to north cuba…. and even with all that work more Owls fans will make the trip than FIU students whom need to just get out of there dorms and get to the game. This will be more of a home game feel for the Owls than anything. I look forward to seeing all the fraternity chapters out there, showing FIU how tailgating really works and how a really football team plays.
FIU Scores first but loses before the second half starts
The owl defense has been good against long sustained drives. It's the big plays that kill us.
Owls keep the Shula trophy with a final of 34-6
High scoring game for the Owls
TY Hilton against FAU down at the Cage was a sight to behold, man that guy was awesome to watch. I think he might have hit for the cycle in that game, scored TDs every way imaginable.
Our boys are up for this one though the O doesn't have as easy of a time as we think, their O struggles even more.
24-6 for the good guys.