Football preview: FAU vs. Troy, Homecoming edition

Rolando Rosa

Who: FAU vs Troy
When: Saturday, Oct. 27, 5 p.m.
Where: FAU Football Stadium
Radio: ESPN 760
Prediction: Troy 42-28

Both FAU and Troy were involved in comebacks last week — just on opposite sides of them. The Owls blew a 14-point lead in their 37-34 double overtime loss to South Alabama in their Homecoming game. Meanwhile, the Trojans marched back from a 16-point third quarter deficit to defeat FIU 38-37.

“It’s terrible, it hurt a lot. It hurt real bad,” senior linebacker David Hinds said to the Sun Sentinel  after the blown lead. “We didn’t finish. We been so much better, so much harder, in the fourth quarter. We’re hungry for a win. I’m starving for a win. I want one real bad. It hurts.”

Led by a trio of career-high performances (QB Graham Wilbert 303 passing yards, running back Jonathan Wallace 101 rushing yards, and wide receiver William Dukes 119 receiving yards), the Owls offense got off to a quick start, racking up 31 points before sputtering in the fourth quarter. South Alabama scored the final 14 points of regulation before finishing off the Owls on a 35-yard FG by Michel Chapuseaux in double overtime.

After FAU’s second home game of the season, a 20-14 loss to North Texas, head coach Carl Pelini expressed his frustration in the post-game. “It’s the same old thing: We don’t know how to win. We have to learn how to win as a football team, as a football program. When the game is on the line, we couldn’t get over the hump.” The Owls now sit at 1-6 going into the Homecoming game against Troy. Photo by Michelle Friswell.

“We were trying to keep executing and we weren’t able to do it,” FAU head coach Carl Pelini said to the Sun Sentinel. “We only executed in the third quarter.”

Homecoming alumni should already be familiar with the inconsistent nature of FAU football, the major reason they’ll go home unhappy once again.

However, this time it won’t be because of the offense. Offensive coordinator Brian Wright’s system is finally starting to show dividends, as Wilbert has racked up high career passing yards in his last two games. Dukes (28 catches, 15.7 yards per reception) has also been a standout offensive player for FAU, with multiple catches for over 48 yards so far this season. The Wilbert-to-Dukes tandem should be able to exploit the Trojan secondary.

To beat Troy, the Owls will have to put together 60 minutes of consistent football against a D-1 opponent, something they haven’t done since their Nov. 26 victory against The University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Defensively, the Owls will have their struggles. Even though quarterback Corey Robinson has as many interceptions as touchdowns (7), the Trojans offense (averaging 28 points per game) will be too high powered for the Owls defense to overcome.

The Owls will keep the game close for a half and tease the Homecoming crowd, only to revert to its losing ways in the second half to extend its Sun Belt losing streak to 15.

The loss will be FAU’s seventh straight and officially drop the Owls out of bowl contention.