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FAU hosts Marshall in a clash of C-USA East giants

FAU Stadium will host the biggest conference game in school history again, as Marshall and FAU will battle for C-USA East supremacy.

NCAA Football: Navy at Florida Atlantic Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

In what will be another huge conference game in FAU Stadium history, FAU will try to clinch bowl eligibility and remain in first place of Conference USA East. Marshall is 6-2 and 3-1 in conference play, a game behind the Owls. Both teams control their own destiny to win Conference USA. It’s a big game folks.


Start time: Friday, November 3rd at 6:00 pm ET

Location: Boca Raton, Florida, FAU Stadium

TV: CBS Sports Network

Series history: Marshall leads the all-time series 4-0, winning last year 27-21

Betting line: FAU -7, O/U 67


FAU Outlook

After notching their first ever road victory over WKU, the Owls will try to break down another barrier in defeating the Marshall Thundering Herd for the first time in school history.

Entering the game FAU has the best scoring offense in C-USA, averaging 39.5 points per game. During conference play FAU is averaging 51.7 points per game. The Owls have been lighting up the scoreboard this season and it’s due in large part to having one of the best running backs in the country, Devin “Motor” Singletary.

Last week Motor willed FAU to a victory in the fourth quarter. This week a similar performance may be needed. Jason Driskel had another poor game throwing the ball against WKU, and will go up against an even better Marshall secondary. Marshall’s Passing Success Rate on defense is 35th in the country.

Led by sophomores Malik Grant and Chris Jackson in the secondary, Marshall had the best scoring defense in C-USA before last week’s loss to FIU, in which they surrendered a season-high 41 points. No one has been able to shut down Singletary other than FAU coaches, but Marshall might have the front seven to limit Motor.

Chase Hancock and Artis Johnson are Marshall’s most disruptive linebackers, and with the talented Juwon Young and Jaquan Yulee in the two-deep, we might not see Marshall’s run defense wear down over the course of the game like the other C-USA defenses we’ve seen the Owls play.

That means this might be the game Jason Driskel will have to win for the Owls. Being that the game is at home we might see Good Driskel. At home this season Driskel has passed for 599 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions, with a completion percentage of 71 percent.

We all know how unstoppable the Owls have been this year when Good Driskel shows up (see North Texas game). Should Marshall’s front seven have success against the run, it’ll be on Driskel to find Willie Wright, DeAndre McNeal, and Harrison Bryant, for huge gains to loosen up the defense.

Marshall Outlook

NCAA Football: Marshall at Cincinnati
Chase Litton signals to a Marshall receiver.
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

This year’s edition of the Thundering Herd is just like every other Marshall team FAU has faced, as all of their explosive players are from Florida. Chase Litton (Tampa native) has had a great season, passing for 1,913 yards and 16 touchdowns with five interceptions. His favorite target is former Miami receiver Tyre Brady, who has 694 yards and seven touchdowns on 47 receptions. Tyler King (Fort Meade native) is Marshall’s most explosive running back, with a team-high 5.3 yards per carry.

While Marshall is extremely talented offensively, they have yet to produce for a full game. S&P+ ranks their offense 120th in the first quarter, 100th in the second quarter, 106th in the third quarter, and 15th in the final quarter.

Marshall starts the game really slow on offense before picking up steam. Against FIU they were flustered from the start. That proved to be costly against an FIU offense that put them in a quick 14-0 hole to start the game and might be their undoing again come tonight.

FAU’s ball-hawking defense is 5th in the country with a +12 turnover margin. Marshall is 65th with a neutral turnover margin, forcing 11 takeaways and turning over the ball 11 times. Chase Litton has stayed away from turnovers but Tyler King has been known to put the ball on the ground a few times.

Prediction

Given how effective WKU’s Cameron Echols-Luper was last week, it’s safe to assume Tyre Brady will be just as good for Marshall. Since Marshall can actually run the ball I think we could see the defense play a lot more on their heels, which may lead to FAU forcing zero turnovers for the first time during conference play. But Marshall hasn’t looked cohesive on offense all season and I don’t think we’ll see them turn it around against FAU.

Marshall’s run defense has been good but they haven’t seen anything like Devin Singletary this year. As long as Driskel stays away from turnovers and is a tad more accurate than last week, FAU will score at least 35 points. If FAU wins the turnover battle by at least two, expect a route.

FAU 47 Marshall 31