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Midweek Mashup: FAU vs UTEP

After getting their first road win of the season, FAU [4-3, 2-1 C-USA] heads home, where they've been most comfortable this season. They're now on an 11-game home winning streak and welcome UTEP [6-1, 3-0 C-USA] for one of the most crucial home games of Head Coach Willie Taggart's FAU tenure.

It's tough to say, I think they're all hard. I look at every game we play as hard," he said when asked if this is his toughest home test yet. "I'm excited that we get to play them at home. We got them at home, where our guys love playing and have our fans here to support us, so, like I said, they're all tough and all the games from here on out are tough, so it's gonna be tough, whether it's home or away, but you will want it no other way. When you like it that way and as our football team continues to build throughout the season, I think each and every game our guys are learning those learning characteristics of a winning football team."

On defense, FAU will have to deal with UTEP wide receiver Jacob Cowing, who currently ranks sixth in the nation and first in C-USA with 775 receiving yards.

"We gotta continue doing what we're doing defensively," Taggart said. "We don't have a shabby defense and our guys gotta know where he is on the field at all times and we need our defensive line to continue to play like they played this past week."

FAU will look to move to 3-1 in conference play with a win against Cowing and the Miners, as they face off on Saturday, Oct. 30 at 6:00 p.m.

Midweek Mashup

  • Getting the Run Game Going FAU is going to have a huge test coming up with the UTEP defense, which ranks 11th in the NCAA in rush defense, with just 94 yards given up per game. FAU averages over 200 yards of rushing in wins and just 93 in losses. "When we run the ball, well, then it opens up everything else," offensive coordinator Michael Johnson said. "It opens up our play-action game, it opens up our quick touch game, it opens up our quicks. It opens up everything about our offense. And when we were able to do that, then we are a pretty good offense, and we're a pretty good football team."

  • Johnson on N'Kosi Perry's Performance Last Week Despite only throwing the ball 11 times, FAU quarterback N'Kosi Perry received high praise from his offensive coordinator. "I thought he played well. Other than the fact he put the ball on the ground on a couple of our spread option plays, he was really effective. As I said, we ran the ball well. He was 9-11 for over 200 yards with three touchdowns which is a very good efficient football game for a quarterback. So I thought he played well. He played at a high level. And he did and executed what we asked him to do last week and it was good to see"

  • C-USA Championship Race Update With a win against Charlotte, FAU currently holds the first seed in the C-USA East with a 2-1 conference record. Their next matchup after this is against Marshall - with who they share first place. However, Head Coach Willie Taggart isn't focused on watching the standings."I promise you, we're not thinking about anything other than UTEP," he said. "We do not play the scoreboard, so we're not worried about that thing up there, we're worried about UTEP and their offense, defense, and special teams. So, that's all we're locked into and that's all we need to be locked into, we can't worry about things that we can't control, we gotta worry about the thing that we can, which is having a great week of practice and going out there and trying to have our best game this week."

  • Stoops on UTEP's Offense While Charlotte doesn't score very often, with 28 points being their most of the season, but they tend to be a team that holds onto possession and runs the ball a lot. "They have a strong defense as well, Stoops said "They like to run the ball they like to manage the clock and, you know, but they're very efficient in what they do they have some, you know, big-play receivers outside and Guy leads the [conference] in yardage. they can push the ball down the field if they want to, so, that's, you know, been kind of our Achilles a little bit he's given up some big plays and certainly, you know, they'll, they'll try to hit some shot plays and we have to, you know, make sure we're in a good position on when they do push the ball downfield."

  • What They Are Saying Here's what UTEP head coach Dana Dimel had to say about the Owls. He specifically had praise for FAU's deep running back room which receives contributions from James Charles [photo 28], Larry McCammon [photo, 3], and Kelvin Dean Jr. [photo 21]: "We're getting ready for Florida Atlantic. They got to play last Thursday, so they have a little extra time and preparation. They had a really good road win at Charlotte. I thought they played really well in all three aspects of their football team. I'm impressed with their athleticism. As you know, they're a very athletic team. They have good speed across the board; they're a typical Florida school, a lot of speed at their skill positions. They have good size and good strength on both sides of the line of scrimmage. They have good ability at the linebacker position. Same thing with the receiver position, a lot of talent there with a lot of speed. They have good speed at the running back spot, they play a couple of guys there. They play different tight ends in their package. They have a transfer quarterback who's obviously a really good athlete. Again, the biggest thing for us is to try and match their athleticism and their speed they present to our football team, and go on the road and get a road win. That's the challenge for us right now as we prepare to have our best week that we've had all year. The challenge is out there for the guys to do that and really prepare themselves to come out and play well in a difficult road test."


Head Coach Willie Taggart, Offensive Coordinator Michael Johnson, offensive lineman Kamaar Bell, Defensive Coordinator Mike Stoops, and linebacker Caliph Brice headline this week's VideoPlay.

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