Who: Florida Atlantic Owls vs. Wyoming Cowboys
When: Saturday, September 20, 4:00 PM EST
Where: Laramie, Wyoming
Television: Mountain West Sports Network
Series: 2009: 30-28 Wyoming
For Week Four, I wanted to start off things off with a new section; a quick look at what a few Florida Atlantic alumni (and my dad) had to say about FAU football this week.
What They're Saying:
On last week's home opener against Tulsa:
"The crowd. So packed."
Relative to average FAU football attendance, this holds very true. The announced attendance for last week's game was 14,112. For the first time since FAU stadium was opened, I actually believe the number that was released. The students provided the majority of the crowd and it was truly a sight to see for any Owl football fan. Now all the administration needs to do is figure out how to keep them there for the second half of the game.
On this week's opponent, Wyoming:
"Wow, I forgot Wyoming was even a state."
I'm willing to bet that most south Floridians would not be able to locate the cowboy state on a map. The history between the two areas is fairly scarce and I doubt any other teams from South Florida will schedule a matchup with the Pokes. With that said, look for FAU to try and end this series with a bang.
"Jackson Hole is a place where a lot of celebrities go fly fishing."
Fly fishing is pretty tight and I can appreciate a good celebrity sighting.
*looks up ‘celebrities at jackson hole'*
The first Google search comes up with Judge Judy and Adam Sandler. This is not good, Wyoming. Adam Sandler has not had a decent movie since The Longest Yard and Judge Judy wouldn't last a day with our delinquents. In Wyoming's defense, I found this list on 25 sexy vacation destinations and Jackson Hole is on there. Oh wait, South Florida is too. Sorry, Cowboys.
Another week, another winnable game for FAU. This game is winnable in the sense that Wyoming is not competing for a national championship anytime soon and none of their players are Heisman candidates. The Cowboys boast one of the better running back tandems on the Owls' schedule in D.J. May and Shaun Wick. They will line up in a pro-style offense behind last year's fourth-string quarterback, Colby Kirkegaard. Wyoming will throw a tough defense at FAU that is led by defensive end Eddie Yarbrough. The junior leads a defensive unit that matched up well against Air Force and Montana but hit a wall once they faced the speed of Oregon.
Florida Atlantic will attempt to run into Laramie and implement a slew of similar speed schemes. Lucky Whitehead is coming off one of the better performances of his college career and will be crucial to the FAU attack on Saturday. Whitehead briefly exited last week's game with a slight thigh injury, but has already proven in practice that he will be ready to go. Wide receivers William Dukes and Jenson Stoshak will also look to continue their dominant efforts through the air against a Cowboy defense that just let up nearly 300 receiving yards against Oregon.
The Owls will look to mix tempos and show off their hurry-up no huddle offense as well. A quick approach to the line doesn't always signify a quick snap and offensive coordinator Brian Wright will continue to switch up looks until the Cowboys are completely out of their rhythm.
What To Watch For:
Saturday's game should prove to be a tale of two quarterbacks. Colby Kirkegaard will be managing the Wyoming pro-style offense, while Jaquez Johnson will operate the FAU spread attack. Both QBs are performing well for their respective squads this season and will surely cause some issues for their opposing defenses.
Speaking of those defenses, whichever team makes the most stops will win the game. This is a fairly astute prediction for a game of football, but I'm being serious. The team that can knuckle up and stop the other team when it matters most will come out victorious.
The Cowboys throw their lucky number 7,220 at you as soon as you step foot onto War Memorial Stadium. 7,220 represents the amount of feet above sea level the stadium sits. Coming from Boca Raton, where the highest hills are the speed bumps on campus, the Owls will have to be prepared for a tougher physical atmosphere.
When Wyoming faced off against Oregon last week, one aspect of that game was blatantly visible. The Ducks were a lot faster than the Cowboys. This isn't a knock against Wyoming's overall team speed, but FAU can take advantage of these tempo deficiencies with Lucky Whitehead. Whitehead has the ability to line up all over the field and once the ball is in his hands, he should be able to replicate Oregon's success.
Florida Atlantic missed another field goal (apparently due to a new holder) last weekend against Tulsa. It appears to be the same old story again for Florida Atlantic's kicking game. Also adding insult to injury, an FAU punt was tipped in last week's contest. These mistakes can be afforded at the friendly confines of home, but on the road, their kicking woes may be a tad more worrisome.
The pace of this game will be all over the place. I can see Wyoming pounding away for a solid start, but Florida Atlantic will definitely have the time to drive in scores of their own. Jaquez Johnson will continue performing at a high level, while the receiving corps as a whole will take a step back. I anticipate this to be the official coming-out party for running back Jay Warren and the sophomore will find himself atop the depth chart next week. A few key turnovers will help tell the story for FAU and the Owls head back home at 2-2.