The Florida Atlantic Owls (2-2) enter C-USA play looking to bounce back from a deflating 31-7 loss to Air Force last week. They open up conference play with a familiar foe in one of the most anticipated games on the 2021 schedule, the Florida International Panthers (1-3) in the 20th Shula Bowl.
"You gotta go back to the fundamentals," offensive coordinator Michael Johnson said on how to recover from the loss last week. "You go back to the fundamentals, you go back to the techniques of what you do and you just reload and regroup."
FAU had just 219 yards of total offense with quarterback N'Kosi Perry [photo] throwing for just 78 yards on the game. With a pass defense that has given up the 13th most passing yards per game in the nation. (291) This presents an opportunity for Perry to get back on the track he was to start the season when he had 871 yards, seven touchdowns, and no interceptions through the first three weeks.
FAU's defense gave up 446 yards of rushing to Air Force, but the game plan is completely different with a non-option team in FIU. "When you play an option team, there's nothing that carries over," defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said. "You go back and re-establish some of the things we do defensively and go back to the things we do."
The Owls will be looking to extend their Shula Bowl winning streak to five, as well as to start the conference schedule undefeated, with a win against Florida International on Saturday, Oct. 2. Kickoff will be at 3:30 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on Stadium.
- Ground 'N Pound After FAU averaged 7.1 yards per carry on the ground last week, Johnson stressed that he wanted his team to stress the ground game in Saturday's game. "We want to run the ball," he said. "We want to be a team that is balanced and all of our stuff comes off the run game. Our play-action passes, our screens, our quick touches, all of those things come off of our run game, and when you don't have the ball that much, then you really have to be effective on third down." The Owls had the ball for just 19 minutes last week, only going 5-14 on third-down conversions.
- The Price is Right? FIU's offense has relied heavily on senior running back D'Vonte Price through the first four weeks of the season. On 60 carries, he has 377 yards and five touchdowns, adding in four receptions for 39 yards for a total of 416 yards from scrimmage. "We know that [Price] is a big part of their game plan," defensive lineman Latrell Jean said. "We want to eliminate him, because, without him, they're not going to do much."
- Posey on His Transition To WR After being in the quarterback battle last year, wide receiver Javion Posey moved to wide receiver during fall camp. He made the transition from quarterback to wide receiver before in his freshman year in 2019 before making the move back to quarterback in 2020. He's been a team player and very willing to do what's best for FAU. "I transition pretty well," Posey said. "I'm just trying to better my team in any way possible. Whatever comes at me, I just gotta be ready to play and roll with it."
- To The Max FIU quarterback Max Bortenschlager had the most passing yards in a regulation game in school history with 395. He finished the game 20-38 with two touchdowns and an interception in the loss. Current Carolina Panthers backup quarterback James Morgan previously held the record with 394 yards against Louisanna Tech in 2019. FAU's highest passing yards mark was reached by Chris Robison against Air Force on Sept. 8, 2018 with a whopping 471. Three different Owls quarterbacks have reached the 400 yard plateau, something FIU has never done: Robison, Rusty Smith (463), and Graham Wilbert (403.)
- Weather Report In Paradise According to weather.com, the temperature around kickoff will be around 85 degrees, with the heat dipping into the low 80s to high 70s as the game goes on. There's a 10% chance of rain during the game, while the wind will be blowing East-Northeast at 18 mph. It still looks to be a bit hot, so anyone coming to the game should be wearing a light color… like red.
Offensive coordinator Michael Johnson, wide receiver Javion Posey Jaden Wheeler, defensive coordinator Mike Stoops, and defensive lineman Latrell Jean headline today's Video Play.