Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (7-5, 5-2 C-USA) @ Florida Atlantic Owls (5-6, 4-3 C-USA)
Date/Time: Saturday, November 26, 12:00 PM ET/11:00 AM CT
TV: CBS Sports Network
Location: FAU Stadium - Boca Raton, Florida
Betting Line: WKU -7, O/U 61
All-Time Series Record: FAU leads the all-time series 9-4, but WKU won the 2021 battle 52-17
*Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
Western Kentucky Preview
The Tops have played fairly well through 12 games, but still have things they want to accomplish this season. They lost a head-to-head matchup against North Texas earlier this season, but have the same amount of conference wins as the Mean Green. If the Tops get a win against FAU and North Texas loses to Rice, then Western Kentucky will return to the C-USA title game to face UTSA. If they lose or North Texas beats Rice, they’ll finish the regular season in third place.
”We have to control the things we can control, and I know we’re about to play a highly motivated FAU team coached very well by coach Taggart,” WKU head coach Tyson Helton told the media this week.
“It is a tough place to play, FAU, and I know they will be ready for us, and it should be a really, really good, competitive game. You want these kinds of games in late November, to be playing for something. We have something to play for, as do they. Should be a really good game.”
WKU lead the league in scoring defense and are second to UTSA in scoring offense. They pass the ball far more than any other team in C-USA with quarterback Austin Reed leading the league in passing yardage (3837) and passing touchdowns (33). That yardage total is also the second highest in FBS.
In their most recent outing, WKU lost 41-17 to an Auburn team that has struggled quite a bit this season, but Helton and company seem to be optimistic that they can learn from their mistakes and move forward.
Florida Atlantic Preview
In their final home game and regular season game of the season, the stakes couldn’t be much higher for the 5-6 FAU Owls. Win, and they go to a bowl game for the first time since 2020. That was FAU head coach Willie Taggart’s first season at the helm and the team finished the season 5-4 with a loss in the Montgomery Bowl. Since, expectations have been high for the Owls, but they haven’t exactly been met.
“We have to play like our lives depend on it,” Taggart said this week, fully aware of the pressure on him and his team in a matchup with his alma mater.
A large part of the success FAU has had this year has been due to the rushing success of junior running back Larry McCammon III. McCammon is second in the league with 79.2 yards per game. McCammon’s best game came against FCS foe Southeast Louisiana with 15 carries for 125 yards and a touchdown.
The Owls are coming off of a road loss to Middle Tennessee in which they were outscored 49-21. FAU weren’t able to force a punt against the Blue Raiders until the third quarter in that game. Again, Taggart is aware that his team has to show improvement this week.
“Like I told our guys, ‘It’s test taking time.’ It’s going to test what’s inside all of us. We have to coach better and play better. I do believe in this football team, and I do believe we’ll come out and play better than what we did last weekend. That was an anomaly. We have to play our best. This is a really good football team coming in here. The one thing we’re going to have to do more than anything is we have to do a better job of tackling - tackling in space. We’re going to see a lot of the same things from Western that we saw in the Middle Tennessee game. And then offensively, we have to be consistent when it comes to executing and scoring touchdowns. Against Western, you can’t just get field goals, you have to score touchdowns because of their offense.”
FAU’s defensive secondary will be heavily tested. In the end, Western Kentucky’s pass attack should be ready following a lackluster day against Auburn. Tops win 38-17