Southeastern Louisiana Lions (Southland Conference 0-1, 0-0) vs Florida Atlantic Owls (1-1, 1-0 Conference USA)
Date/Time: Saturday, September 10, 6:00 PM EDT
TV: ESPN Plus (Play-by-Play: Frank Forte/Analyst: Kris Bartels)
Radio: Fox Sports 640 South Florida (Play-by-Play: Ken LaVicka/Analyst: Kris Bartels)
Location: FAU Stadium, Boca Raton, FL
Betting Line: Florida Atlantic -10 O/U 64.5
All-Time Series Record: First ever meeting
*Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
For Willie Taggart’s Florida Atlantic team, last weekend’s 41-38 loss was disappointing on multiple fronts, most notably the fact that the Owls outplayed Ohio for several stretches during the game — but went out of sight after taking control of the game — allowing Ohio to storm back and upset FAU.
Taggart’s club were without several key contributors, especially on defense but they should get defensive end Jaylen Joyner back for this Saturday’s contest. Standout defensive tackle Evan Anderson is not expected to play this week. Junior linebacker Eddie Williams is having an excellent start to the season, totaling eight tackles in FAU’s season-opening win over Charlotte, followed by a 15-tackle performance against Ohio last week. He’ll need to step up in the absence of Anderson.
On the offensive side of the ball, quarterback N’Kosi Perry threw for 364 yards and five touchdowns in the loss to Ohio. While the Miami transfer did struggle in the middle part of last week’s game that saw the FAU offense go cold, Perry is having a strong start to the year with six TD passes and zero interceptions.
Running back Larry McCammon will look to bounce back after somewhat of a disappointing game against Ohio. After rushing for a career-high 118 yards in the win over Charlotte, McCammon rushed for just 60 yards last week. He should be joined by backup Johnny Ford, who missed the last two contests.
Receivers Je’Quan Burton and Jahmal Edrine combined for 14 receptions for 220 yards and three scores in the Ohio game and both along with Tony Johnson make up an excellent receiving core for the Owls.
Southeastern Louisiana Preview
Despite taking a 24-7 loss to an FBS opponent in Louisiana last weekend, Southeastern Louisiana still present a tough opponent for FAU and will look to score the upset in Boca. The Lions have been ranked among the top-25 teams in FCS for 27 consecutive weeks – the fifth-longest current streak in FCS.
South Alabama transfer Cephus Johnson is one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks among the FCS ranks, splitting time as a wide receiver and backup quarterback over the past two seasons before assuming the starting duties this season. He went 22-of-34 for 149 yards with one interception and added 50 yards on the ground in last week’s loss.
His top receiving target is wideout C.J. Turner, who ranks third in program history in receptions and receiving yards with 188 receptions for 2,459 yards. On the ground, the Owls will need to account for running back Taron Jones, who was named to the second-team All-SLC team entering the season.
Defensively, Perry will be tested by defensive back Zy Alexander, who earned second-team FCS All-American honors heading into 2022.
Despite the loss to Ohio, spirits seemed to be high among the Owls, with Taggart noting that previous Owls’ teams started slow but caught their stride entering Conference USA play.
While true that FAU already has a conference victory and the loss to Ohio did nothing in terms of their C-USA goals, they need a resounding victory to show that they won’t resemble last year’s inconsistent play. Expect Perry to continue his strong play and the FAU defense to respond after being missing in action for two quarters against Ohio.
Final Score: Florida Atlantic 35, Southeastern Louisiana 13