Staff Predictions: FAU prepares for Western Kentucky in season finale

FAU can clinch bowl eligibility with a win this Saturday.


Jaden Wiston

Carter Boatwright (#47) showing love to Larry McCammon III after his touchdown run.

The FAU football team is seeking bowl eligibility entering their last game of the regular season at home against the Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers this Saturday at noon.

FAU is coming off a disappointing 49-21 defeat to Middle Tennessee, while Western Kentucky already clinched bowl eligibility with a 7-5 record.

According to ESPN, the Hilltoppers are 7.5-point favorites to win the matchup.

The University Press Sports Staff makes their last predictions for the regular season after going 1-3 last week.

Cameron Priester – Sports Editor (5-6)

The Owls’ biggest downfall in last Saturday’s loss was their inability to stop Middle Tennessee through the air. Unfortunately for them, Western Kentucky also boasts a high-powered passing attack which ranks third in the nation in passing offense.

FAU will be depending on its front seven to consistently pressure senior quarterback Austin Reed if they have any chance of slowing down the Hilltoppers’ offense. However, that was another area the Owls struggled in last week as they recorded zero sacks in the loss.

On offense, expect FAU to keep the ball on the ground as much as possible. Despite the Owls only accounting for 35 yards rushing yards last week, running backs Larry McCammon III and Zuberi Mobley have been steady contributors all season.

Running the ball will allow FAU to control the clock and keep their defense off of the field, which has to happen if they’re going to pull off the upset. However, the Owls have not shown enough consistency to be confident heading into the matchup. 

Prediction: WKU 41, FAU 21

Richard Pereira – News Editor (7-4)

FAU has its back against the wall heading into the season finale against Western Kentucky.

Graduate quarterback N’Kosi Perry has to come through with his passing game against the Hilltoppers. Throwing for 325 yards on 19 out of 36 completions last week against the Blue Raiders, he has to maintain that performance for FAU to stand a chance against the opposing defense.

The Owls need to do better in protecting Perry. They allowed four sacks against Middle Tennessee, and with Western Kentucky averaging 2.3 sacks per game, they have to hold their ground to give him the time he needs to make plays.

Limiting the production of Western Kentucky’s quarterback Austin Reed will be key to FAU’s defense. He’s thrown for 33 touchdowns and nine interceptions this season and is averaging 319.75 yards per game, so expect the likes of defensive lineman Evan Anderson and outside linebacker Jaylen Wester to put constant pressure on him.

If the Owls come through on both sides of the field, they are capable of pulling off the upset to secure bowl eligibility. If not, they will enter an offseason of uncertainty before they enter the American Athletic Conference next year.

Prediction: WKU 34, FAU 28

Trey Avant – Staff Writer (8-3)

FAU will have its hands full against one of the nation’s best offenses. Quarterback Austin Reed has torched opposing secondaries for Western Kentucky all seasonUnder Reed, WKU has the nation’s third-ranked passing offense. He is also second in the NCAA in passing yards and fourth in passing touchdowns. 

The Owls have struggled defending against the pass this season, so they must focus on generating enough pressure to force Reed into making mistakes.

FAU’s strength lies in its run game. Running backs Larry McCammon III and Zuberi Mobley are a solid one-two punch out of the backfield, while quarterback N’Kosi Perry has the ability to break off a big run at any time.

While FAU might find success with running the ball, the Hilltoppers’ offense is too explosive to keep up with.

The Owls need to push the ball down the field through the air, and they need Perry to be consistent and make the right reads. He needs to take care of the ball and get the ball in the hands of his playmakers.

FAU is 4-1 at home but WKU is probably the worst possible matchup for the team.

Prediction: WKU 63, FAU 21

Kevin Garcia – Staff Writer (4-6)

Head coach Willie Taggart and FAU will be in desperation mode this Saturday against Western Kentucky. The question at hand is, will this be enough to will FAU to victory?

The Owls have fared well in conference play this season, sitting with a 4-3 record against C-USA opponents. However, WKU has a 5-2 record in C-USA play with impressive victories over Middle Tennessee and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). 

On paper, the Hilltoppers are not a favorable matchup for FAU due to their offensive firepower and astute defense. They allow a conference-low of 22.5 points per game on defense. 

For FAU to become victorious, their offense, led by graduate quarterback N’Kosi Perry, will need to step up. The pressure is riding on Perry to perform in what could be his final game of his collegiate career. 

Prediction: WKU 38, FAU 30

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)