Preview: FAU Football kicks off 2015 Season in Tulsa

In a rematch of last year's first ever meeting between the two schools, FAU and the University of Tulsa football will open the 2015 season on September 5.

Head+Coach+Charlie+Partridge+holds+the+team+back+as+they+get+set+to+play+Tulsa+for+the+Owls%E2%80%99+home+opener+last+year.+This+year%27s+matchup+will+be+played+in+Tulsa.+Photo+by+Michelle+Friswell+

Michelle Friswell

Head Coach Charlie Partridge holds the team back as they get set to play Tulsa for the Owls’ home opener last year. This year's matchup will be played in Tulsa. Photo by Michelle Friswell

Brendan Feeney, Contributing Writer

Florida Atlantic Owls football will kick off its season against the University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane on Saturday, Sept. 5 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

This will be a rematch from last season’s game, where the Owls beat Tulsa 50-21 in the first ever matchup between the two schools. FAU finished the 2014 season with a 3-9 record while Tulsa finished 2-10.

Florida Atlantic has been predicted to finish this season anywhere from the middle of the standings to the end of the pack in Conference USA, while Tulsa has been picked by most publications and fan blogs to finish last in their division of the American Athletic Conference.

The Golden Hurricane will enter the game as a seven point favorite, according to Las Vegas betting odds.

Leading the Owls will be senior quarterback Jaquez Johnson and senior defensive back Crevon LeBlanc, who was named to Conference USA’s preseason all-conference-team. Johnson lit up the Golden Hurricane defense last September with 318 passing yards and four touchdowns, including one rushing.

LeBlanc will have his hands full as Tulsa’s biggest strength heading into the season, as will their receiving duo of Keyarris Garrett and Keevan Lucas.

Lucas, who led the Golden Hurricanes in receiving yards and receptions last season, has been named to the Biletnikoff Award preseason watch list. The award is given to the nation’s top college wide receiver. Tulsa is also returning their leading rusher, Zack Langer, and starting quarterback Dane Evans from last season.                  

On the offensive end, look for the Owls to run the ball early as Tulsa allowed 214.7 yards per game via the rush last season, including 177 in their game against FAU. The rushing attack, led by sophomore Greg Howell and junior Jay Warren, gives the Owls a reliable running game with a balance of speed and power.

Paving the way for the running backs and protecting Johnson may be FAU’s strong suit this season as they will have an experienced line led by their redshirt-senior captain, left guard Mikingson Marsaille. Starting next to Marsaille at left tackle will be sophomore Reggie Bain. Bain started 11 games last season and earned a spot on the C-USA All-Freshman Team.

Senior Jenson Stoshak and sophomores Kalib Woods and Kamrin Solomon will look to lock down the wide receiver positions for the Owls after losing Lucky Whitehead to the NFL. Stoshak’s best game of his collegiate career came in last year’s matchup against Tulsa as he recorded 155 receiving yards and one touchdown.

The Owls will be without senior receiver Derek Moise, who suffered a season ending knee injury during last Thursday’s practice. They will also be without senior tight end Michael Harrop and redshirt freshman defensive lineman Devin Santana, as they will be out until conference play later this season.

The game will kick off at 3:30 p.m. and will be aired on the CBS Sports Network.

Brendan Feeney is a contributing writer for for the University Press.  To contact him on this or other stories, he can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter.