This season has felt like being on one of those wild roller coaster rides and heading into a non-conference game, I expect the ride to continue. At the beginning of the season playing the National Champion Gators seemed like a cool ride, still is, just bad timing. I have never been to the swamp, so I am looking forward to the experience.
Let look at what the Owls will need to do to win this one.
On Defense: This one comes first this week because it will be a unit that will be tested once again and will have to rise to the occasion to keep this game manageable. Stop Tebow and you stop the Gators offense, where Tebow's goes, the offense follows and that is usually in the end-zone, he provides the bulk of the offense and literally carries it on his shoulders and has done a pretty darn good job this season as his first year as a starter.
The Owls defense will have their hands full, in trying to contain Tebow who possesses a pretty good arm besides the set of wheels we like to utilize and throws with accuracy, making it very important for the defense to play sound assignment football. Sounds easy stop Tebow before he gets going, which means the d-line will have to play a strong and aggressive game and create some penetration or it will be a long day for our secondary. How many time this season the opposing teams have gain excessive amount of yardage on broken plays that should have resulted in negative yardage, far too many. This week, we need to eliminate big play and it starts with finishing on each play. Can the defensive unit play with a high intensity for 60 minutes, they will no doubt exert energy in this one, keep a few extra cases of Red Bull on the side just in case.
On Offense: Protect Rusty and so the play of the o-line will be key here, the Gator defense will not be shy and will come after Rusty and try to introduce him to the grassy helms of the swamp as offend as they possible can. Rusty will have to have a better game in this one, because the gators will score points and the Owls will have to find a way to match them or fall behind and there might not be anything to come back from. Rusty for the most part this season has managed the offense with good care and has been making solid decisions, I do expect him to bounce back and have another solid day, and this unit will have to play flawless football. The receivers have been doing a much better job of hanging on to the pigskin and will have to continue doing so; we can't leave any thing on the field this week, finish drives.
Overall: This is one of those games that comes at a strange time for the Owls, in the middle of conference play and could actually provide a nice break from the added pressure the Owls are now facing where each game being a play-off type of game, must win, add the chance for the players to play the National Champions in the swamp, something these kids will be looking forward to no doubt and so there should be some extra intensity from them without the pressure of losing this game and should be able to focus on the game itself. I expect nothing less from this group of players then to play their hardest and leave it all out there.
Prediction: FAU 24 Gators 45