Preview: FAU football will lose to conference power Marshall


Florida Atlantic lost 24-23 to Marshall last year on a late field goal. Photo by Ralph Landau

Florida Atlantic will face their toughest conference opponent this weekend when they fly out to Huntington, W.Va. to face Marshall’s Thundering Herd, ranked 23rd in the nation.

Marshall (7-0, 3-0 C-USA) has proven to be one of the most dangerous teams in Conference USA, and the nation as well. Led by senior quarterback Rakeem Cato, their offense, ranked 28th in passing yards per game, 10th in rushing yards per game and 2nd in points for per game.

Cato has thrown 19 passing touchdowns and just 6 Interceptions, impressive numbers for this point of the season. Cato has also shown an ability to run — he has 223 rushing yards and five touchdowns on the year.

Marshall’s running game is anchored by junior running back Devon Johnson. Johnson has 934 yards and eleven touchdowns this season. This may be a long game for the FAU defense, which is ranked 104th (out of 126) in pass defense and 96th in rush defense.

FAU (3-4, 2-1 C-USA) will have to score if they have any hope of competing.

Junior quarterback Jaquez Johnson will look to continue his strong offensive performances, contributing big time in last week’s 45-38 win over Western Kentucky University. Johnson had 325 passing yards, 95 rushing yards and 5 total touchdowns (3 pass, 2 rush).

Freshman running back Greg Howell ran for 118 yards and a touchdown in his first game. Howell and running back Tony Moore will split time this Saturday.

FAU will face a stingy Marshall defense that has only given up 16.6 points per game, a mark good enough for 7th in the nation.

The special teams unit has been inconsistent. While no one in the crowd was expecting a fake punt last game against Western Kentucky, no one was expecting sophomore kicker Greg Joseph to miss his first two field goals either. Expect Joseph to bounce back and perform like he did earlier in the season.

FAU’s only chance of winning is if the defense holds Marshall and the offense scores like crazy. But the likely scenario is that Marshall and Rakeem Coto will take advantage of the Owls’ stagnant defence, and give FAU their fifth loss of the season.

Score prediction: Marshall 48, Florida Atlantic 27