MID-WEEK MASH UP: FAU @ Southern Miss
With Hurricane Delta looming over the Gulf of Mexico, FAU remains set to play Southern Miss this Saturday in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Head coach Willie Taggart told reporters today the plan is still to play. “As of right now we are still on,” said Taggart. FAU Athletics also mentioned that both schools' administrations have been in contact as well as the CUSA Office.
The Owls enter their second matchup of the season following a thrilling 21-17 home victory over Charlotte last weekend. FAU overcame a slow start offensively which included being shutout during the first half. However, the Owls were able to get back on track in the second half due to a twenty-one point third quarter.
Leading the Golden Eagles is interim head coach Scotty Walden who took over following Jay Hopson`s resignation. Walden has been on staff at Southern Miss since the 2017-2018 season. Prior to being named interim head coach Walden served as the teams co-offensive coordinator and WRs Coach.
Southern Miss opened the season with losses to UTSA, Louisiana Tech and Tulane. Last week, the Eagles defeated North Texas 41-31.
Kickoff is set for 4:00 at M.M. Roberts Stadium. The game will be televised on Stadium.
Mid Week Mash-up
- By The Numbers Southern Miss starting quarterback Jack Abraham has had great accuracy during his career. The senior has completed an impressive 69% of his passes at the Division I level. In comparison Clemson`s Trevor Lawrence has a 66% completion rate in a similar sample size. The Owls defense line accumulated six sacks in the victory over Charlotte, and the pass rush could very well be the difference in this game as well. It would not be a surprise to see former Michigan transfer DL Ryan Veingrad collect his first sack of the season. The senior received lots of play time last week and appears to be a solid fit in Jim Leavitt`s new scheme. “Pass rush and coverage go hand and hand, without our defensive line we would be nothing on the back end,” said S Teja Young (photo above). Expect reigning CUSA Defensive Player of The Week Leighton McCarthy, Jaylen Joyner and impact true freshman Chris Jones to be active on the defensive line to keep Abraham off-balance.
- Key Matchup Handling primary rushing duties in the Golden Eagles backfield is true freshman Frank Gore Jr. The former FAU commit rushed for 130 yards on 23 carries and a touchdown last week vs North Texas. “He (Gore Jr.) is a good football player. He runs hard, very similar to his dad when you watch him run. Each and every week he's getting more comfortable,” said Taggart. Up the middle at linebacker for the Owls is Chase Lasater who had an impressive 11 tackles in the season opener. Helping to limit the run game on the interior will be nose tackle Evan Anderson. The true freshman was a two sport athlete also playing lacrosse while at Jones HS in Orlando.
- Keep an Eye On Southern Miss is expected to have a aggressive vertical passing game with QB Jack Abraham. This will be another early season test for starting CBs Romain “Smoke” Mungin and Zyon Gilbert. Mungin held his own in his first career start last weekend finishing the game with two tackles. Gilbert, a converted safety, has had a smooth transition to cornerback thus far. "We have some really heady ball players out there who are really good communicators" said defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt of his secondary group.
- X Factor Look for Miami Hurricane transfer TE Michael Irvin II to have a larger impact on this game following a relatively quiet season opener where Irvin II only had one catch. Last week, North Texas was able to create damage to the Southern Miss defense as their tight ends combined for four catches and pass catchers were able to stretch the middle of the field. Irvin II appears to matchup well with the Eagles defense. "We got a lot of people that are hungry to put points on the board" said WR TJ Chase.
- Breakout Candidate One of the biggest risers in FAU`s secondary is junior S Teja Young. The Palm Beach Lakes HS alum was one of the more intriguing prospects from the 2018 recruiting class having played quarterback and defense in high school. Last week, Young had 6 tackles. Southern Miss is expected to spread the field out offensively and be aggressive through the air. Young could be in line for his first interception of the season. "We got to execute our job and play through the whistle," said Young
- Injury Report Taggart told reporters today that RBs BJ Emmons and James Charles remain questionable for this Saturday. In the event one or more of the talented backs cannot play, expect a larger workload for Malcolm Davidson and Larry McCammon III. Taggart also said senior S Jordan Helm will remain out this Saturday. However, Taggart expects the veteran safety to return next week. Expect Armani-Eli Adams to continue receiving more play time in his absence.
This could wind up being a terrible move to go there. Hoping our players stay safe.
What’s pathetic is that you come here and root against us. Can you at least root for us?