Football: Preview versus North Texas

FAU is coming off two wins in a row and are atop Conference USA


FAU redshirt junior quarterback Jason Driskel (16) passes the football off to sophomore running back Devin Singletary (5) during the Owls 39-20 win over Middle Tennessee State on Oct. 7. Joshua Giron | Contributing Photographer

Zach Evans, Contributing Writer

First place. Florida Atlantic Football sits tied in that position of the Conference USA East standings, an unfamiliar spot for a team that was in the midst of a seven game losing streak at the same time last year.

The Owls (3-3, 2-0 Conference USA) will look to hold that spot when they face the North Texas Mean Green (4-2, 3-0 C-USA) on Saturday for homecoming. FAU is looking to be over .500 in a season for the first time since 2013 and could be bowl eligible for the first time since 2008.

FAU football head coach Lane Kiffin wants his team to continue its momentum despite a bye in the past week.

“I thought the guys really followed the theme of last week,” he said Tuesday following practice. “Great energy. Practiced with some confidence. It is the second one of this week. So, will just continue to remind them they have to play every week.” Kiffin told the press on Tuesday.

FAU has been on an offensive roll as of late, blowing out teams by double digits in its last two games. Kiffin said he wanted a game this week instead of the bye, wanting to take advantage of the momentum they had before.

“I would have preferred to keep playing,” he said “We really weren’t that banged up and we had been playing our best football of the year the past couple of weeks. Our offense really the last four weeks. It is what it is. Hopefully we even got better in those areas.”

Sophomore running back Devin Singletary has been the answer for the Owls offense for much of this season. Singletary had back to back strong performances, racking up seven total touchdowns in the past two games.

“I would say a little bit because we see shades of it in practice, but until it is really live, some of those runs and the moves he makes and how he makes guys miss sometimes don’t happen the same way at practice because the guys are breaking down,” Kiffin said. “They are not full tackling. It has been pretty amazing.”

Last year Singletary rushed for 1,016 yards and 12 touchdowns. This year, he already has 686 yards and 11 touchdowns and is on pace to surpass both marks.

The matchup Saturday should be a shootout, as both teams are averaging double digit points (37.2 per game for the Mean Green and 34.2 per game for the Owls.)

The Owls will need to put pressure North Texas quarterback Mason Fine, who has 1,796 passing yards on the season and led the team to a comeback win over UTSA last week 29-26.

His last game was probably Fine’s biggest game so far, as he threw for 354 passing yards and three touchdowns along with an interception. Fine is also healthy and ready to play this coming Saturday after taking a hard shot throwing the game-winning pass last week.

FAU should also pay close attention to running back Jeffery Wilson with 749 yards of rushing and wide receiver Jalen Guyton with 626 receiving yards. Both will provide a challenge to the Owls defense.

Zach Evans is a contributing writer with the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him at @zachevanstweets.