Football: Preview versus UNC Charlotte

With a win, the Owls would finish undefeated in Conference USA play for first time in program history


FAU head coach Lane Kiffin watches the replay after a referee called an incomplete pass against FAU. during their Nov. 18 game against Florida International. Pierce Herrmann | Contributing Photgrapher

Matt Brown, Contributing Writer

After defeating rival Florida International 52-24 last week for the team’s 11th Shula Bowl victory, FAU football travels to UNC Charlotte to finish the regular season.

The Owls (8-3, 7-0 C-USA) are currently undefeated in conference play and riding a seven-game win streak, a program high since joining the FBS. They have already clinched a spot in the conference title game next week against North Texas. With a win in either game. the team could finish with their most overall victories since finishing 9-3 back in 2004.

The 49ers (1-10, 1-6 C-USA) are currently on a three-game losing streak after their lone win of the season, a 25-24 victory over UAB in overtime. With a loss, they would complete their worst overall regular season record in program history and worst since finishing 2-10 back in 2015 in the team’s first season as an FBS program.

The Owls offense averages a conference best 40.5 points per game this season, and they average over 48 points per game during this seven game winning streak.

Sophomore running back Devin Singletary is coming off of his ninth straight game rushing for over 100 yards. He is fourth in the nation in rushing yards (1,524) and first in rushing touchdowns (24). He averages a conference-best 6.6 yards a carry.

Despite not being named a finalist for the Doak Walker Award, given to the nation’s best running back, Singletary is not worried about the hype surrounding.

“It is what it is.” Singletary said. “That is out of my control. All I could do is keep trying to better myself and the team.”

Redshirt junior quarterback Jason Driskel is coming off a game where he was 18-of-25 for 239 yards and a career-high four touchdown passes, including a career long 79 yarder to redshirt senior wide receiver Kalib Woods. He is third in the conference with a 65.2 percent completion rate.

Woods is coming off the best game of his career, in which he had a season high in receptions (seven) and career highs in receiving yards (172) and receiving touchdowns (two).

Junior linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair is coming off a game in which he tied his season high for tackles with 14. He leads Conference USA with 116 total tackles.

Sophomore linebacker Rashad Smith had a season high three sacks last game.

This is just the third game all year in which the defense could not force a turnover and the first time all season in which they have failed to in back-to-back games.

The 49ers offense is led by quarterback Hasaan Klugh, who is coming off a game in which he was 9-of-25 for 96 yards and a season low 36 percent completion percentage.

He is also one of the team’s leading rushers. He is second on the team with 513 rushing yards and first in rushing touchdowns (eight).

The defense allowed a season high 66 points in the loss to Southern Mississippi last week and the most since allowing 70 to Louisville in their first game of last season.

With a win, the Owls would finish the regular season undefeated in conference play for the first time in school history.

Head Coach Lane Kiffin is not doing anything different in anticipation of this being a “trap game”.

“We just focus on this being a huge game,” Kiffin said. “There is something special to say we finished conference play undefeated and beat everybody.”

The game kicks off on Saturday Nov. 25 at 2:00 p.m. at Jerry Richardson Stadium.

Matt Brown is a contributing writer with the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @mattyb407.