Seven games this week with six on Saturday and one Friday night lights matchup in Murfreesboro. Most eyes throughout the league though will be trained on the state of Florida with Florida International and Florida Atlantic facing off in the Shula Bowl with FIU in the lead of C-USA East. Over in the West, UAB can continue their march towards a divisional title and LA Tech faces a ranked opponent on the road.
Game of the Week
FAU at FIU (FIU -2.5, 7:30 PM ET, Stadium)
The 6-2 Panthers have reached bowl eligibility once again while the 3-5 Owls are in need of wins and quick improvement if they want to reach the same feat. While Devin Singletary leads the league in rushing with 837 yards as he continues an audition for the NFL, the rest of FAU’s offense is struggling. Starting quarterback Chris Robison has thrown just eight interceptions to ten touchdowns and is coming off of a few weeks dealing with small injuries. If his performance remains the way it has, expect to see some of Rafe Peavey under center.
Defensively, the Owls are missing several important pieces of their defense, namely linebacker Azeez Al Shair. That will make it even harder to stop FIU quarterback James Morgan: a transfer from Bowling Green State who has thrown the second-most touchdowns in C-USA this season with 19. The Owls’ defense will also need to worry about keeping running back D’Vonte Price in check after he played his best game of the year last week against WKU.
FIU are by no means indestructible though. At times, they have had issues defending the run giving up an average of 175 rushing yards per game. Against a running back like Singletary, that could be trouble. Ultimately though, this FIU team looks like they can put points at a faster pace than the Owls and that could make all the difference.
FAU 21 FIU 31
The Rest of C-USA...
WKU at MTSU (MTSU -13.5, 8 PM ET on Friday, CBS Sports Network)
Brent Stockstill and the Blue Raiders put up 51 points on Old Dominion last week. Both ODU and WKU are in similar states of severely underperforming. It may not be another 50-spot for MTSU, but it stands to reason they will have this under control.
MTSU 38, WKU 20
Marshall at Southern Mississippi (Marshall -2.5, 3 PM ET, WatchStadium/Facebook)
The Thundering Herd hold a slight favorite coming into this game. We could be in for a shootout with Marshall looking to lock up bowl eligibility while Jack Abraham and USM are fighting for their postseason lives.
Marshall 35, USM 31
UTEP at Rice (Rice -1, 3:30 PM ET, ESPN3)
I can’t describe this game any better than this r/cfb commenter did.
Rice 24, UTEP 17
Charlotte at Tennessee (Tennessee -22, 7 PM ET, SEC Network Alternate)
The 49ers have shown remarkable improvement this season, just not enough to where the Volunteers should be on upset alert.
Charlotte 10, Tennessee 31
UTSA at UAB (UAB -22, 7:30 PM ET, BeIN Sports)
It’s sounding like Tyler Johnston will be under center for UAB, but it should not affect the Blazers too much. Spencer Brown and the rushing game should still get things done and UTSA’s offense, in theory, shouldn’t be too big of an obstacle for UAB’s defense.
UAB 35, UTSA 17
Louisiana Tech @ #18 Mississippi State (Mississippi State -23.5, 7:30 PM ET, SEC Network)
I’m excited to see Jaylon Ferguson get after Nick Ferguson and MSU’s offensive line. That being said, the Bulldogs may have a little bit too steep of a mountain to climb here, especially on the road. Hopefully they just don’t lose 87 yards on one fumble again like they did against MSU last time they played.
Tech 14, MSU 28