Start Time: 12:00 PM EST
Where: FAU Stadium, Boca Raton, Florida.
TV: American Sports Network
Radio: FAU Here.
Series: MTSU leads 9-3
Live Stats: Here.
Beting Line: FAU - 5.5, Over/Under Point Total: 58.5
Forecasting MTSU: Last week Middle Tennessee pulled off the biggest shocker in Conference USA this season by defeating Marshall 27-24 in triple overtime.
Rick Stockstill has a youth movement on offense as the Blue Raiders have relied on freshmen to lead lead the offense this year.
Since Stockstill has been running things in Murfressborough his offense has always revolved around a successful passing offense and that has not been an issue this season as MTSU ranks 20th in passing S&P+, 12th in passing IsoPPP, and 20th in passing down success rate (For a comparison WKU ranks 5th, 9th and 3rd in the same categories).
Instead of choosing veteran Austin Grammer to start at quarterback he went with his son Brent Stockstill and the younger Stockstill has been excellent this season.
As a freshman Stockstill now owns Middle Tennessee's single-season passing yards record with 2,798 yards this season and has tossed 21 touchdowns in the process. His go-to-guy is fellow freshman Richie James. James leads the team in targets (101), catches (73) and yards (839).
Their rushing attack success rate is middle of the road at 68th as the Blue Raiders have employed a time share at the running back position with freshman Desmond Anderson and senior Jordan Parker splitting carries. They both have four touchdowns each.
The offense can be very explosive at times as they rank 36th in IsoPPP but as is the case with most units relying on young players for production, the Blue Raiders can be very inconsistent as they rank 68th in success rate per drive.
Like a bevy of Conference USA teams the defense is atrocious.
MTSU can't stop the run (94th Rushing S&P) and can't stop the pass (114th Passing S&P). They do a decent job in stuffing the run on standard downs as they allow 2.7 yards per carry and will create negative plays here and there as there overall havoc rate ranks 65th.
Forecasting FAU: Last week Florida Atlantic played Western Kentucky tight for a half before eventually running out of steam.
FAU didn't turn over the ball but still failed to finish drives inside the red zone which proved costly against WKU.
Jaquez Johnson and the passing offense has been hit or miss all season and have played against much worse passing defenses than the one they will see this Saturday.
Despite the numbers suggesting FAU can pass to move the ball against MTSU, other than Jenson Stoshak the team has not had a reliable number two receiver all season as only Stoshak, Kalib Woods, and Henry Bussey have more than 20 catches.
Because the offense has had to rely heavily on the rushing attack to move the ball the offense has lacked explosive plays all season as they rank 113th in IsoPPP.
Nine weeks in and the Owls are who they are: A good rushing offense with a sub-par passing attack.
But surprisingly the Owls rushing attack has gotten worse as the season has progressed. They rank 101st in Rushing S&P, and 96th in Rushing IsoPPP.
They have stopped turning over the ball but are still are not making the most of their opportunities with an abysmal rank of 124th in points per trip inside the 40.
Defensively FAU still can't stop the run but is downright good against the pass. They give up explosive passing plays (85th in passing IsoPPP), but ranks 41st and 46th in Passing S&P and Passing Success Rate respectively.
Prediction: Last time here MTSU beat FAU 42-35 in overtime and has won seven straight over the Owls after winning 35-34 last year.
It'll be a battle of strength on strength as Middle Tennessee loves to pass the ball and FAU is a good at defending the pass. The matchup either Ocie Rose and Richie James should be fun to watch as both freshmen players are having phenomenal years.
MTSU needs this game in their quest for six wins, but FAU is downright due for a win will be motivated to send their seniors out with a win. Expect a lot of points Saturday afternoon.
FAU 33 MTSU 30.