Boca Raton, FL- Searching for their 3rd straight victory, Lane Kiffin’s FAU Owls (3-3; 2-0) will take on North Texas (4-2; 3-0) in a battle of two C-USA division leaders that could be a potential preview of the C-USA championship game.
After a rocky start to the season which saw FAU square off against two difficult opponents in Navy and Wisconsin (who is currently ranked 9th in the country), the Owls have rebounded nicely. Victorious in three out of their last four games, and winning their first two conference games of the season, FAU’s offense has started to click under Lane Kiffin. Last week’s 58-28 victory over ODU saw the Owls score eight rushing touchdowns, including four from quarterback Jason Driskel.
FAU head coach Kiffin still sees areas where his team needs to improve on both sides of the ball. In his post-practice comments, he said, “Guys practiced well. Hopefully, we’re fixing what I believe are our two major issues, which is tackling on the back end on defense and the passing game on offense. Hopefully, we’re improving those, because as I told them today, if you’re going to be a championship team, championship teams eventually get exposed by good teams if you don’t fix your issues.” The Owls have certainly put themselves in a position to make a run at a C-USA title but will need to show these improvements against a tough opponent in North Texas.
After a last-second victory over UTSA, the North Texas Mean Green have also gotten off to a hot start in conference play. Now sitting at 3-0 in the C-USA West division, the Mean Green will look to carry this momentum into FAU Stadium and to play the spoilers on what is the Owls Homecoming game.
Entering the season the expectation was that this FAU squad would throw the ball a ton under Kiffin in his first year with the Owls. However, it has been the running game that has been the most impressive. Including the eight-rushing touchdown game from last week, the Owls now have the 16th ranked rushing offense, and sophomore running back Devin Singletary has already rushed for 686 yards and 11 touchdowns on the season. The success of the running game will allow the Owls to open things up in the passing game, and provide a nice balance for Lane Kiffin to play with.
Defensively, the Owls have succeeded in creating turnovers. Ranked 5th in interceptions, five different players on FAU’s secondary have recorded at least one interception. The Owl’s secondary is ranked 5th nationally and 1st in C-USA. Creating turnovers and limiting them on offense will be another key to this FAU squad as they start the second-half of the season this Saturday.
This game looks to be an exciting, conference shaping game. Both squads are undefeated in the conference and bring winning streaks into this contest (FAU with two wins and North Texas with three in a row), and it will be fun to see how these teams match-up against each other. FAU will need to find that balance offensively that Kiffin is looking for if they are to be successful the rest of the season, and by the sounds of it coach Kiffin is confident in the improvements his squad has made.