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FAU Owls vs Ohio State Buckeyes: Preview & Prediction

Lane Kiffin’s Owls aim to do the impossible.

Navy v Florida Atlantic Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Game Time: 12:00 p.m., Saturday, August 31

Location: Columbus, Ohio

TV: FOX

Series Record: First meeting

Betting Line: Ohio State -27.5, O/U 64.5


Ohio State Outlook

Saturday marks a new day for Ohio State. Literally. First-year head coach Ryan Day takes over for the legendary and controversial man that is Urban Meyer. Day will try his best to continue Ohio State’s legacy of being one of the best football programs in college football.

At quarterback is former five-star and Georgia player Justin Fields. Fields looks the part of a Cam Newton clone. Big frame, strong arm, great speed, good power for a quarterback. Given how anxious the college football world is to see if Fields is worth the hype, expect Day to really open it up for Fields.

Defensively the Buckeyes are coming off of a lackluster season (for their standards). New co-defensive coordinator Greg Mattison has a ton of talent at his disposal. Again, given the angst in Columbus surrounding the new look Buckeyes, expect OSU’s defense to come out with a ton of energy, looking to make a statement.

FAU Outlook

The storylines entering 2019 look all too familiar for FAU fans. Two years ago the Owls were a huge unknown as they had question marks at just about every position, including whether Lane Kiffin would live up to the hype.

Fast forward two years later and those themes are here yet again. After a disappointing 5-7 season in 2018, Lane Kiffin doesn’t look like a great head coach. The roster looks talented, but are they really? What about the new scheme on defense? Will Glenn Spencer really be the difference? Oh, and the best player in school history, Devin Singletary, is now in the NFL.

Unsurprisingly, expectations are low for the Owls as they venture up to the Horseshoe. A year ago folks were picking FAU as a trendy upset pick over Oklahoma. After the first quarter FAU was already down by 28 points, with much of the nation not being able to watch due to FOX televising John McCain’s funeral.

Given that Ohio State is just as talented as the Sooners with a lot more urgency to come out firing on all cylinders, FAU is unlikely to come away with a win.

So what does success look like for FAU?

Solid play from Chris Robison would be a positive sign. Kiffin has yet name him as the starter but I think we all know Robison will start. More diverse play-calls would be great too. FAU fans have lamented all offseason how Kiffin and Charlies Weis Jr. need to be more imaginative. Seeing some trick plays to set the tone early on would be great.

Defensively it’ll be tough. I hate to be so blunt, but don’t get embarrassed by the end of the opening quarter to start the season. Sure tackling is a tough ask from any defense when we’re talking about a season opener (see Miami vs Florida in Week 0) but it would be great if the Owls could accomplish this feat. They are unlikely to see skill players this good the rest of the way. Justin Fields is talented for sure, but he won’t be the most experienced guy on the field. If the defense can be sound in technique and make Fields press, perhaps the Owls will have a chance.

Prediction

I’m optimistic about FAU bouncing back this season but Ohio State is far too talented for the Owls. While I’m hoping to see Lane Kiffin pull out all of the stops, with UCF on the docket in Week 2 I wouldn’t be surprised if Kiffin decided to now show too much on film in hopes for a better chance at a upset over the Knights.

Ohio State 45 FAU 14