Preview: Keys to the Owls’ matchup at home against Marshall

FAU is looking to extend their winning streak at home to 11 (excluding bowl games and the 2019 C-USA championship game).


Eston Parker III

James Charles (#28) rushes to the endzone for a touchdown against the UTEP Miners on Oct. 30, 2021.

Bryce Totz, Staff Writer

FAU (5-3, 3-1 C-USA) will finish their two-game homestand on Saturday, Nov. 6. They are scheduled to play Marshall University (5-3, 3-1 C-USA). 

The Owls’ only victory against Marshall was during the 2017 C-USA championship season on Nov. 3, 2017.

FAU is scoring 30.5 points per game and allowing 21.5 points per game. Marshall is averaging 37 points and conceding 19.8 per game.

This will be a tough test for the Owls, as these two teams are competing for the top spot in the East Division of C-USA. FAU will also be without senior inside linebacker Caliph Brice indefinitely due to an arm injury.

Here are some keys to the game if FAU wants to get past Marshall on Saturday:


Control the Clock:

The Owls have lost the time of possession battle in four of their eight games so far this season. Luckily for them, they were not all losses, but last week was almost a loss, as they allowed UTEP to keep the ball for longer drives and wear down the defense. 

FAU can control the time of possession if they get the running game going early and often. For the majority of the season, head coach Willie Taggart has said that he wants to run the ball at least 60 times in a game. This would be a way for the Owls to keep the ball in their hands and wear down the Marshall defense.


Contain Grant Wells:

Grant Wells is a talented quarterback for Marshall and has already thrown for 2510 yards and 10 touchdowns in eight games. Passing is not the only thing that the Owls will have to work on to stop Wells though, as he is a dual-threat quarterback. 

In last season’s matchup, Wells torched FAU for 251 yards and two touchdowns on 18 completions.

FAU can look at Wells’ touchdown to interception ratio to be optimistic. Wells threw two interceptions in the 2020 game and is averaging one interception per game this season too.

Taggart usually asks for at least three turnovers in a game, so this may be an opportunity for the defense to capitalize. 


Stay Disciplined:

The Owls struggled with penalties last week. In the victory over UTEP, they were penalized nine times for 84 yards. This included a couple of unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, which could have cost the team the game.

Taggart makes his players understand that selfish penalties, such as unsportsmanlike conduct, are unacceptable.

When playing a talented team like Marshall, it is vital that the team stays disciplined and doesn’t commit unnecessary penalties. 

Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Nov. 6 at FAU Stadium. The game will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network via Facebook. This will be the Owls’ Military Appreciation game. 

Bryce Totz is a staff writer for the University Press. For more information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected], or tweet him @brycetotz.