Staff Predictions: Owls desire bowl eligibility in season finale against Middle Tennessee

FAU has five wins in 17 encounters against the Blue Raiders.


Photo courtesy of FAU Athletics.

The FAU Owls will play their last game of the regular season at home against Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) on Saturday, Nov. 27 at 7 p.m.

Suffering a three-game losing streak, head coach Willie Taggart needs the team to find their rhythm with bowl eligibility still in reach.

The University Press Sports Staff gives their predictions on what will happen after going 4-0 in last week’s picks between FAU and Western Kentucky.


Richard Pereira – Sports Editor (7-4)

To be eligible for a bowl game, this is a must-win match for the Owls.

Despite conceding a season-worst 52 points and scoring less than 20 points for a third consecutive game against Western Kentucky, FAU’s receiving core did have a few bright spots. The Owls made 25 receptions for 276 yards as redshirt sophomore Je’Quan Burton, freshman LaJohntay Wester, redshirt junior Brandon Robinson, and graduate tight end John Mitchell had major involvement in that. FAU has to maintain that against an MTSU defense that allows 230.45 passing yards per game, good for 68th in the nation.

The Owls’ offensive line has to protect graduate quarterback N’Kosi Perry as the Blue Raiders have a great defensive player in redshirt junior defensive end Jordan Ferguson. Ferguson has totaled up to 7.5 sacks this season, showcasing his ability at getting to the opposing quarterback.

FAU’s defense has to pressure MTSU’s freshman quarterback Nicholas Vattiato to make early mistakes to quickly take control. Against the same Western Kentucky defense, Vattiato threw five interceptions, meaning that the Owls have to force his hand to impose their will in the game.

While this is by no means an easy win for the Owls, as long as they execute the plays correctly, they will live for an appearance at a bowl game to end their 2021 season.

Prediction: FAU 35, Middle Tennessee 24


Eston Parker III – Photo Editor (6-5)

This is an absolute must-win game for both teams, as both need one more win to secure bowl eligibility. Both teams are coming into this on a bit of a slump as FAU has lost its last three and MTSU has gone 1-2 in November, its lone win coming in a 50-10 thrashing of FIU.

FAU has looked extremely vulnerable in these past three games, allowing 110 points and have not responded well on the offensive side either. FAU will have to get going early to hold off the onslaught that MTSU will look to impose on the Owls. 

MTSU will likely be aggressive defensively and try to force quarterback N’Kosi Perry to make mistakes, so being able to beat the blitz defense will be crucial.

Saturday is make or break for both teams, and FAU has a slight edge being back in Boca.

Prediction: FAU 21, Middle Tennessee 20


Bryce Totz – Staff Writer (8-3)

This should be an interesting game, as both teams are looking for a crucial sixth win to become bowl eligible. The Owls are coming into the game on a three-game losing skid, and the Blue Raiders have lost two of their last three. 

Look for FAU to score early and often if they want to win this game. Quarterback N’Kosi Perry and sophomore running back Johnny Ford need to lead the team in yards again this week. Turnovers will also be imperative for the Owls’ defense, as Taggart always asks for at least three. 

FAU will also need to play the full 60 minutes as they almost lost the game against UTEP, the team’s last victory, due to slacking off their competitiveness in the final minutes. 

Saturday should be back-and-forth because both teams are looking for bowl eligibility, but the Owls should win. Unlike most of their victories though, this will be a small margin. 

Prediction: FAU 28, Middle Tennessee 24


Trey Avant – Staff Writer (7-4)

FAU and MTSU are two very similar teams. They are both perfectly average on both sides of the ball and their lack of a clear strength is why they are both fighting for bowl eligibility in the last game of the regular season.

They both come into the game with a win-loss record of 5-6 and they both struggle tremendously on the road. Luckily for the Owls, they are 4-1 at home this season and they will need every advantage they can muster to overcome MTSU.

The Owls need to enter this game with a balanced approach. They tend to get running back Johnny Ford involved early and stick with him if he is running well but to keep the defense honest, it would be smart to get quarterback N’Kosi Perry in rhythm. 

FAU’s defense has to step up against an MTSU team that is being led by their backup quarterback. MTSU’s run game is not too productive so they will look to quarterback Nick Vattiato and their receiving corps for explosive plays. 

As long as FAU avoids turnovers and protects Perry, they should come away with the victory.

Prediction: FAU 27, Middle Tennessee 10

For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet the staff:  Richard Pereira (@Rich26Pereira), Eston Parker III (@EstonParker), Bryce Totz (@brycetotz) Trey Avant (@TreyAvant3).