Staff Predictions: FAU hosts Rice in key matchup

The last encounter ended in a 42-25 win for FAU in 2016.


Chardley Zetrenne

Photo of Jayshon Platt during the game against UCF on Sep. 17, 2022.

FAU enters the second half of its season at home against Rice University this Saturday.

The last encounter between these two teams occurred in 2016, which FAU took in a comfortable 42-25 victory. 

According to ESPN, FAU stands as the four-point favorites to win the matchup. 

The University Press Sports Staff takes their picks after going 0-4 in FAU’s last matchup.

Cameron Priester – Sports Editor (3-3)

Though it could be said of anyone FAU will face during the remainder of the season, Rice is particularly an opponent that should not be overlooked.

Not only are they also coming off of a bye week, Rice’s strengths may pose some problems for FAU.

The run game has been one of the few steady aspects of an otherwise inconsistent FAU offense, averaging 202 rushing yards per game. However, Rice’s stellar front seven led by defensive lineman Ikenna Enechukwu, who was named to the C-USA preseason watch list, has the third ranked rushing defense in the conference, allowing only 140 rushing yards per game.

This matchup, however, may be an opportunity for the FAU secondary to bounce back after allowing three passing touchdowns in the first half against North Texas. Rice’s passing attack has been average over five games, with quarterback TJ McMahon averaging 216 passing yards per game earning him a quarterback rating of 54.9, which ranks eighth out of 11 qualifying C-USA quarterbacks.

Establishing the run game and solid pass defense should be enough for FAU to get the win, although they’ve yet to do so for four complete quarters, so do not the rule the possibility of another game going down to the wire.

Prediction: FAU 28, Rice 24

Richard Pereira – News Editor (4-2)

With a bye week under their belt, FAU should have plenty of advantages against Rice.

A key factor for FAU’s offense is sophomore wide receiver LaJohntay Wester. He has 39 receptions for 442 yards and eight touchdowns on the season. His touchdowns are tied for second in the country.

FAU also needs to limit the offensive production of running back Ari Broussard. So far, he has accumulated eight rushing touchdowns on 75 carries.

As long as FAU’s defense can shut down Rice’s rushing attack, the team should come away with the win.

Prediction: FAU 27, Rice 14

Trey Avant – Staff Writer (4-2)

Both teams should be well-rested coming off their respective bye weeks, but Rice matches up too well against FAU.

FAU has been inconsistent in all phases of the game since the start of the season. Fortunately for the Owls, the run game has been a bright spot on an otherwise disappointing team. Rice has a tough run defense so running backs Larry McCammon III and Zuberi Mobley have to be more involved as receivers. 

Ultimately, FAU’s chances to come out of this game with a win rests on quarterback N’Kosi Perry and the defense. Perry has to play mistake-free football and feed wide receiver LaJohntay Wester. The defense has to tighten up defending the pass and get pressure on the quarterback.

Unfortunately, FAU is too inconsistent to trust against a tough team like Rice.

Prediction: Rice 41, FAU 21

Kevin Garcia – Staff Writer (3-2)

A full week of rest and preparation should have FAU ready to take on Rice. FAU is averaging 31.83 points per game, while Rice allows its opponents to score 31 points per game. 

On paper, the matchup favors FAU. However, the Owls have struggled immensely with consistency to start the season. They pieced together two overall solid performances against Charlotte and Southeastern Louisiana but have struggled to get stops in their other contests. 

Defense will need to be the focus for FAU if Willie Taggart and company want to send their fans home happy with a victory. Over their past three games, FAU surrendered 37 points per game to the opposition. 

As far as predicting the outcome, this one is tough because Rice has a better record, but they have played lesser competition. FAU has a ton of talent but have not unlocked that potential just yet. That streak of disappointment will likely continue after this game. 

Prediction: Rice 35, FAU 21

For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet the staff:  Cameron Priester (@PriesterCameron), Richard Pereira (@Rich26Pereira), and Trey Avant (@TreyAvant3), and Kevin Garcia (@Kevingar658)