Last week FAU allowed 10 straight points as a prelude to all of the familiar narratives surrounding the program's inability to close out games, which are back in the forefront after the Owls 47-44 overtime loss. Meanwhile, Miami overpowered Bethune Cookman for a ho-hum 45-0 victory.
For FAU, an 0-2 start to begin the season would put a lot of pressure on a team that's trying to go to a bowl game for the first time since 2008. If the Hurricanes lose to 'little brother' Al Golden may as well stay in Boca Raton. Oh, and bragging rights of course, as many of these players played high school ball together or against each other.
Start Time: Sept. 11, 8:00 P.M. ET.
Where: FAU Stadium, Boca Raton, Florida.
TV: Fox Sports 1
Radio: FAU here.
Series: Miami leads 1-0
Live Stats: Here.
Betting Line: Miami - 17.5, Over/Under Point Total: 55.5
Forecasting Miami: The Hurricanes are nowhere near as good as their heyday and for Al Golden, that's a bad thing. Golden's record at Miami in five years is 29-22, and to make matters worse he has yet to beat Florida State. The good news is Miami still has a talent advantage against a majority of teams on their schedule, including this week.
Running Golden's pro-style offense will be quarterback Brad Kaaya, who is a star in the making after showing great poise while starting as a true freshman last season. He passed for 173 yards and two touchdowns last week against BCU. The game got out of hand early, so it's hard to assess the 'Canes against such an inferior opponent. The defense held Cookman to 79 total yards for the game and although it was an FCS opponent, that's still a dominate performance.
Miami teams under Golden have struggled to a 9-12 road record. In what will be an electric atmosphere, Miami will not have the luxury to sleepwalk during this game.
Forecasting FAU: Last week FAU's offense showed why they have the potential to be the best offense in school history. The three-headed rushing attack of Jaquez Johnson, Buddy Howell, and Jay Warren totaled 300 rushing yards at 4.9 per carry, running through the huge lanes created by an excellent offensive line.
If Miami stacks the box and challenge FAU's receivers, Jenson Stoshak, Kalib Woods, and Kamrin Solomon, must win their one-on-one battles. The pass protection was glitchy at times against Tulsa, but the Owls were able to use play action to get their receivers open downfield.
Miami's defensive backs will be a lot more disciplined. Neither Woods nor Solomon established themselves as a reliable second option behind Stoshak, and one of those two will have to provide Johnson another outlet. FAU can move the ball against Miami, but their margin of error will be slim if they are to pull the upset. Expect offensive coordinator Brian Wright to call a few trick plays to keep the Hurricanes defense off balance.
Of course, all of this is moot if the defense fails to show up. Last season, the defense couldn't stop the run, last week, the defense couldn't stop anything to the tune of 618 total yards. The fact that the defense came away with four turnovers but still left you wondering whether they would ever stop Tulsa is not a good sign going against Miami.
Prediction: If FAU were 1-0, I might think they could give Miami a game. But they lost a close game - again. The Owls will feed off the electricity of the home crowd initially but that's unlikely to last. Miami will stack the box to contain FAU's rushing attack and force Johnson to beat them through the air, which is not the Owls recipe to succeed. The defense will continue to struggle as Brad Kaaya will pick apart FAU's secondary. Take the over - FAU will be within two scores in the second half, forcing Miami to keep in their starters on offense to put the game away.
Miami 48 FAU 23
Season Record: 0-1 straight up, ATS 1-0, 1-0 over/under