Football Preview: FAU vs. Alabama

Mohamed Abdihakim

The Prediction: Alabama 50 FAU 0

Out of the frying pan and into the fire. Although FAU saw some positives last week against Georgia, there will be nothing to take away from the Owls’ next game.

FAU is set to take on top ranked Alabama tomorrow at 5:30 p.m.

Numbers support Alabama’s domination. With three games played, opponents are averaging 4.7 points against the Crimson Tide. Two of those opponents (Arkansas and Western Kentucky) didn’t even register on the scoreboard. Michigan put up 14 points against Alabama, being the lone team (so far) to score on the Crimson Tide.

And even though FAU quarterback Graham Wilbert did have a solid half against a touted Georgia defense (162 yards, 1 TD). The Bulldogs eventually caught on and silenced the Owls’ offense. Alabama rarely lags on the defensive side of things, so it’s hard to expect the Crimson Tide to let Wilbert get comfortable early. Alabama coach Nick Saban told his team last year in the National Championship game: “Don’t let them [LSU] cross the midfield!” Alabama responded by completely shutting down LSU’s offense and allowing just two drives past midfield. In Saban, FAU faces a coach who not only expects perfection, but has his players’ utmost attention.

FAU football player Cory Henry seems to have missed that memo.

The Owls’ defensive end believes that the Crimson Tide can be beat. There is some logic to this statement. Alabama’s offensive line has already looked very vulnerable. In their matchup against the Sun Belt’s Western Kentucky University, Alabama’s quarterback AJ McCarron was sacked a total of six times. If FAU’s linebacking core, led by Randell Johnson (14 tackles on the season) and David Hinds (28 tackles), can collapse the pocket on McCarron, the Owls might make some impact. At the very least, the Crimson Tide offensive line will have to stay alert.

It must be said, though, that a majority of Alabama’s offensive production has come from the passing game (7 passing TD’s), while their running game has shown to be potent as well. The Crimson Tide’s leading rusher, freshman T.J. Yeldon, has racked up 191 yards and two TD’s. With FAU’s performance against Middle Tennessee State (allowing 117 yards to another freshman, Jordan Parker), it can be safely said that the Owls will have their hands full with the talented backfield of Alabama.

This game will not be close. The Alabama offensive line had coach Saban to hear from after letting their quarterback get manhandled. With that said, I imagine that McCarron will see all the protection he needs, and should have a great game. Georgia’s running back Todd Gurley’s — another freshman — game against FAU (111 yards), one TD is another harbinger of what to expect from Alabama. Even with McCarron getting better protection, expect Saban to opt for a conservative offense, run the ball hard, and take advantage of a seemingly porous Owls defensive line.

Kickoff is set for Saturday, Sept. 22, 5 p.m. at Bryant-Denny Stadium.