MID-WEEK MASH UP: Charlotte @ FAU
Following an unfortunate series of canceled games to begin the season, FAU is set to take the field this Saturday against a Charlotte team who has won their past two regular season meetings at FAU stadium. The 49ers began their season with a loss to Appalachian State followed by a cancelation of a matchup vs North Carolina.
Taggart told the media today that S/LB Ahman Ross (pictured above) addressed his team after completing a 28 day quarantine as a result of contact tracing. “I was just letting the guys know, we got to take every moment in. We cannot take it for granted, because these are things that can easily be taken away from us in the day and age with live in. You can never take anything for granted," said Ross.
Leading the 49ers is second year head coach Will Healy, who took the job following a three year stint as the head coach at Austin Peay. Charlotte starting quarterback Chris Reynolds suffered an injury earlier in the season, however Reynolds is expected to play.
Social distancing and mask wearing will be enforced at FAU stadium this Saturday. FAU Athletics announced earlier in the semester they will allow up to 2500 students to attend games. Stadium capacity will be capped at 20%.
Kickoff is set for 4:00 at FAU Stadium and will be televised on ESPNU.
Mid-Week Mash Up
- By The Numbers One of the strengths of Charlotte is their veteran safety group led by Ben DeLuca. The senior was named First Team All CUSA in the preseason and is the schools all time leader in forced fumbles. Joining DeLuca in the Charlotte secondary is S Ja`Cione Fugate. The two combine for 44 starts in their 49er careers. In evaluating the Charlotte defense, co-offensive coordinator Drew Mehringer said, “the biggest thing they have is they are a disciplined unit, very well coached”. The Owls could combat the veteran Charlotte safety group by way of speed, as Florida State grad transfer WR D`Marcus Adams was granted his immediate eligibility. "He has got great speed, so we plan on utilizing his speed in different areas," said Mehringer.
- Key Matchup As mentioned above, Charlotte starting quarterback Chris Reynolds is expected to be under center this Saturday. FAU will need a strong performance from pass rushers Leighton McCarthy, Jaylen Joyner and Caliph Brice coming off the edge to keep Reynolds off balanced. Taggart discussed the challenges of facing Reynolds. “He is a football player, he makes things happen. He may not look like a Lamar Jackson and those type of guys. But he gets the job done he understands their system".
- X Factor Bringing his national championship pedigree to Boca Raton is WR TJ Chase. The Plant City HS alum been hyped up by Taggart and staff in for his leadership since the inception of all practice, and has embraced his leadership role. “Just going out everyday at practice with the right mindset, bring someone else along with you, to make them better too. We are gonna need everybody,” said the talented Clemson grad transfer. Expect Chase to be heavily involved against Charlotte and perhaps becoming the teams number one wide receiver option.
- Keep an Eye On How carries are divided amongst the running backs. The Owls have a stacked backfield that includes BJ Emmons, Malcolm Davidson, Larry McCammon and James Charles. Early in the going last season, Larry McCammon III and James Charles split the load as Malcolm Davidson and BJ Emmons suffered injuries. However, expect to see a heavy dose of BJ Emmons who is in line for a breakout season. On the defensive end, keep an eye on former running back Tyrek Tisdale who has shifted to defense. "Tisdale has done a great job, he has played mostly out outside backer. He can play inside, and he can play safety as well," said defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt.
- Breakout Candidate Look for S/LB Ahman Ross to be all over the field on Saturday. The team captain is expected to be the jack of all trades for the Owls defense, with time at both safety and at the linebacker position. “I take a lot of pride in being versatile, the more I can do for this team the better.” said Ross. The Jacksonville native excelled last year in the star position for FAU and has elite closing speed.