Location: Huntington, West Virginia
Stadium: Joan C. Edwards Stadium
Series Record: 2-2
Last Meeting: FAU defeated Marshall 30-25
Betting Line: FAU - 2.5, Over/Under 62.5
Why FAU could win this game
The Owls enter well rested, as Lane Kiffin and co. have had two weeks to prepare for this weekend’s road game. Last year FAU defeated North Texas 69-31 after having two weeks to prepare for UNT. While this year’s Owls aren’t as explosive, it wouldn’t be a total surprise to see FAU have their game of the season due to having extra time to prepare and gel.
The best player on the field belongs to FAU as Devin Singletary leads Conference USA with 745 yards and 16 touchdowns. Backup RB Kerrith Whyte Jr. has also been effective this season, averaging 6.9 yards per carry. With these two in the backfield coupled with the occasional 30-yard run from Chris Robision, FAU has the best rushing attack in C-USA.
FAU has struggled on defense for much of the season but has improved dramatically during conference play as they are allowing 28 points per game while generating four interceptions. Alex Thomson and Isaiah Green have both shown a tendency to be inconsistent and turnover prone. Points off turnovers could be pivotal.
Why FAU could not win this game
On the road this season, Chris Robison has thrown one touchdown and four interceptions, while completing 57 percent of his passes. He looked rattled on the road against UCF and Oklahoma, and will be asked to play one of the best games in his young career in yet another hostile environment.
Defensively the Owls are allowing 3.8 yards per carry in conference play. Not terrible, but not great either. Marshall has really relied on Tyler King lately and he could have a monster game if the front seven doesn’t read their cues correctly.
Why Marshall could win this game
Marshall has won over 80 percent of their games at home. While this isn’t exactly the feared stadium it was in 2015, it’s still arguably the best venue in C-USA. FAU has also never won at Marshall in their brief all-time series.
Intangibles aside, Marshall is a very talented team and has future NFL WR Tyre Brady. FAU didn’t fare too well against UCF and Oklahoma in pass defense. With Brady’s skill, he could be in store for a huge game and supplant Singletary as the best player on the field. If the defense keys in on Tyre, Tyler King and Anthony Anderson are each capable of making FAU pay. This is one of the more balanced attacks in the conference.
Defensively Marshall is allowing 2.8 yards per carry in conference play which is second best in C-USA behind UAB. Chase Hancock and hard-hitting safety Malik Gant are talented enough to limit FAU’s rushing offense, and if that happens Robison has shown that he’s not quite good enough to win the game with his arm.
Why Marshall could not win this game
Inconsistent QB play could really hurt Marshall. Both Isaiah Green and Alex Thomson are talented, but they have yet to put together a complete game. Marshall is experienced everywhere else except QB, In their losses to North Carolina State and Middle Tennessee, QB play was the culprit. If they are able to get even good QB play, the Herd will be in good shape to win this game. If Green and Thomson can’t get it done, the defense has proven that they will wear down over the course of the game.
Two weeks to prepare for Marshall is the difference here. If FAU doesn’t have the extra week to prepare I think Marshall wins by at least 10 points. Considering that the loser is virtually eliminated from the conference title race, this is a huge game. Whoever gets the best QB play will win this game. My mind says Marshall has the advantage, but I trust FAU’s coaching staff more to come away with the win. FAU 38 Marshall 31