Football: Five things to watch in FAU’s matchup with Bethune-Cookman

The Owls look to extend their home winning streak to nine this Saturday

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Football: Five things to watch in FAU’s matchup with Bethune-Cookman

FAU junior running back Devin Singletary (5) runs down field with two defense Air Force players attempting to catch up to score a touchdown for FAU football. Photo by: Alexander Rodriguez

FAU junior running back Devin Singletary (5) runs down field with two defense Air Force players attempting to catch up to score a touchdown for FAU football. Photo by: Alexander Rodriguez

FAU junior running back Devin Singletary (5) runs down field with two defense Air Force players attempting to catch up to score a touchdown for FAU football. Photo by: Alexander Rodriguez

FAU junior running back Devin Singletary (5) runs down field with two defense Air Force players attempting to catch up to score a touchdown for FAU football. Photo by: Alexander Rodriguez

Nathan Shaller, Contributing Writer

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Chris Robison

Redshirt-freshman Chris Robison has cemented himself as the starting quarterback for FAU. He was on the money this past Saturday when he was needed most, as the Owls’ running game couldn’t get it going for a second straight week. After struggling against juggernaut Oklahoma, Robison bounced back to complete 33 of his 40 passes for three touchdowns on a school-record 471 passing yards against Air Force, earning him Conference USA offensive player of the week honors. After picking up his first win of the season, look for Robison to build off that success against Bethune-Cookman, a team FAU throttled 45-0 a year ago.

Special Teams

The punting unit continues to struggle through two games. While it’s certainly not time to panic, the Owls have now allowed touchdowns off of blocked punt returns in consecutive weeks. The game against Air Force was pretty much wrapped up until a blocked punt returned for a Falcons touchdown brought the score closer than it needed to be at the end. The Owls need to clean up their kicking game to avoid giving their opponent free points off of mistakes. Look for Lane Kiffin to emphasize special teams play this week.

Devin Singletary

“Motor” Singletary hasn’t hit his gear yet. After posting 1,920 rushing yards and 32 touchdowns last season, there was buzz around the FAU fanbase that Singletary could be a dark horse Heisman candidate. But his play in 2018 hasn’t lived up to those expectations. Singletary has yet to hit the 100-yard rushing mark through two games, being bottled up by both Oklahoma and Air Force. However, history says he is bound to turn it around. Singletary struggled through the first two games of 2017 before going on a tear and finishing the year as the nation’s leader in rushing scores. The Owls ran all over Bethune-Cookman last season, so look for Singletary to shake his early season rust and explode this Saturday.

Offensive Line

The offensive line has been a big factor of why we haven’t seen the same Singletary from last year. Three out of five starting linemen from last season are gone, and it takes time to gel and build chemistry between the five up front and the running back. Not to mention, teams are stacking the box with eight-man fronts in an attempt to stop Singletary and force Robison to beat them through the air. Robison took advantage of the lightened coverage this past Saturday and his big performance might help open up lanes for Singletary on the ground. Expect the run game to take off against Bethune-Cookman, a game where we should see all facets of the offense clicking simultaneously for the first time this season.

Defense/ Rashad Smith

The defense bounced back. After an understandingly shaky performance against a high-octane offense in Oklahoma, the defense as a whole played much better against Air Force. The Falcons’ triple-option gave the defense some early problems on the ground, but the Owls were able to keep them in check as the game progressed.  Rashad Smith had an excellent game for FAU, posting a career-high 16 tackles and clinching his team’s win with a late interception. His performance was good enough earn C-USA defensive player of the week honors. Look for the defense to keep this momentum going against Bethune-Cookman and for Rashad Smith to be a difference-maker once again.

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