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Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.

UNIVERSITY PRESS

Staff Predictions: Owls look to pick up second straight win against USF Bulls

The University Press Sports staff predict the outcome of the Owls’ first road conference game in Tampa.
FAU+junior+quarterback+Daniel+Richardson+%28%2310%29+scrambles+for+a+first+down+during+the+Owls+20-17+conference+win+against+Tulsa+at+Howard+Schnellenberger+Field.+Oct.+7%2C+2023.
Erika Fletcher
FAU junior quarterback Daniel Richardson (#10) scrambles for a first down during the Owls’ 20-17 conference win against Tulsa at Howard Schnellenberger Field. Oct. 7, 2023.

FAU (2-3, 1-0 AAC) will be making their way to Tampa to face the University of South Florida (USF) Bulls (3-3, 2-1 AAC) in the Bulls’ homecoming game this Saturday.

The Bulls are on a three-game losing streak.

The Bulls’ defensive coordinator, Todd Orlando, and defensive line coach, Kevin Patrick, were both on the Owls’ 2022 staff.

Here are some of the UP Sports staff predictions for the game against USF on Saturday.

Maddox Greenberg – Sports Editor

The Owls are feeling great, coming off of their first win in the AAC.

The defense played well, recording two interceptions by graduate defensive back Jarron Morris and redshirt sophomore cornerback Jayden Williams. FAU’s offense has been able to capitalize on some of the defense’s success and was able to get a 10-point lead over Tulsa late in the game.

However, it seemed like at the end of the game FAU wasn’t able to hold the lead. 

Heading into Tampa, Herman and the Owls have a good shot at defeating the Bulls. USF has the worst passing defense in the conference and the sixth-best rushing defense. Senior running back Larry McCammon III leads the AAC in rushing, averaging 91.8 yards per game, while junior wide receiver LaJohntay Wester is leading in receiving, averaging 99.8 yards. 

USF and FAU both have had their fair share of difficult opponents, with FAU recently losing to the University of Illinois by six points and USF holding one of the top college football programs in the past decade to 17-points.

While both teams respect one another, all over social media, FAU and USF fans have been going back and forth with one another in this new in-state rivalry. What FAU needs to do to come out with a victory is: give junior quarterback Daniel Richardson plenty of time in the pocket to find his two top players, especially when protecting him against a team who have 16 sacks this season, which is tied-32nd in the nation; and they need to rely on their defense to put the Bulls to three and out.

Prediction: FAU 36, USF 24

Cameron Priester – Editor-at-Large

Now that they’re finally back in the win column, Herman and company have the opportunity for a statement win when they roll into Raymond James Stadium at USF. 

But for that to happen the offense has to wake up. Thanks to another stout performance by the defense, FAU was able to get past Tulsa, scoring less than 21 points for the third fourth week in a row. 

They can’t count on the defense to stonewall every opponent they meet though, especially against a USF offense that’s proved they can put up points. 

But the Bulls’ defense hasn’t looked great through five weeks, and could provide the opportunity for FAU’s offense to get things going. 

Their secondary has been getting abused and averages the most passing yards allowed per game in the conference. As a unit, their defense gave up 56 a week ago and is allowing an average 32.8 points per game. 

If McCammon can get going in the same way he was last Saturday — 26 carries for 130 yards and two touchdowns — that should take some of the pressure off Richardson to take advantage of a weak secondary. 

Prediction: FAU 24, USF 21

JD Delcastillo – Staff Writer

FAU was able to secure a bounce back win against Tulsa in what turned out to be a nail-biter. The Owls now look to build a win streak and stay undefeated in the AAC against the USF Bulls.

What makes this matchup extremely unpredictable is the fact that USF is scoring an average of 31 points a game, while giving up an average of 32.8 points a game.

Excluding USF’s game against the University of Alabama, they’ve scored at least three touchdowns in every game. In comparison to FAU’s offense, the Owls have scored at least  two touchdowns in every game this season. USF’s redshirt freshman quarterback Byrum Brown is an extreme dual-threat weapon, having multiple games with a passing and rushing touchdown. 

FAU’s defense is going to have to be at its best for this game. It will be important to contain Brown and stop him from scrambling, and the Owls’ secondary is going to have to be on lockdown so that he doesn’t get into a comfortable rhythm in the passing game. 

However, FAU can’t only rely on their defense to win them this game. The offense is going to have to match USF’s scoring power if they want to win this conference game on the road. The Owls found success in the run game last week, so hopefully they can build on that and beat this Bulls team to win the Battle of South Florida.

Prediction: FAU 31, USF 27

Anthony Brown – Staff Writer

The Owls ended their three-game losing streak when they defeated the Golden Hurricane last Saturday. They will want to maintain their momentum in an effort to win on the road and win their second straight game.

FAU hasn’t been very good offensively, but they should be able to capitalize on some short fields against the Bulls squad that has given up a total of 12 turnovers this season. 

Given how much better they are at ball protection than the Bulls, the Owls won’t do themselves any harm from penalties. Their secondary objective for Saturday is to play a solid and effective defense. 

The Bulls’ offense moves the ball well, but the team’s turnover rate — which is ranked 121st — is a problem. Poor decisions by the Bulls’ offense will allow the Owls’ secondary to take advantage of opportunities presented to them by their passing attack. 

The Owls score 20.6 points per game during the regular season, and 15.5 points per game on the road. They have scored 18 points per game across their last three meetings versus the Bulls. Given that USF allows 23.3 points per game at home, the Owls will look to dominate in this matchup by scoring more points than they average.

Prediction: FAU 24, USF 13

For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or DM the staff: Maddox Greenberg (@MaddoxGreenberg), Cameron Priester (@PriesterCameron), JD Delcastillo (@jd.delcastillo), and Anthony Brown (@popular_vlone).

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About the Contributors
Maddox Greenberg, Sports Editor
Maddox started writing sports for the UP in Summer 2022 with the intention of improving his journalistic writing. He is a sophomore majoring in multimedia journalism and plans on becoming a sports broadcaster. He is a broadcaster for FAU Owl Radio.
Cameron Priester, Editor-at-Large
Cameron Priester is an Editor-at-Large for the University Press. Having served as Sports Editor for the 2022-23 academic year, he is a multimedia journalism major and intends on pursuing a career in sports journalism. He can be found on Twitter @PriesterCameron and you can email him at [email protected].
JD Delcastillo, Sports Editor
JD is a junior multimedia journalism major with a minor in sports studies and digital marketing. Since high school, he knew he wanted to pursue a career in the sports industry. He's published work in magazines, started his own sports newsletter, and currently interns with ESPN West Palm.
Erika Fletcher, Lead Photographer
Erika is a junior majoring in multimedia studies with a minor in photography. She loves shooting sports and street photography and in her free time, she enjoys drawing, skateboarding, playing soccer, listening to music, and being with her friends and family. She joined the UP on a whim to make new friends and to get better at photography. In her time here, while not long, she's made connections and learned so much about herself already and can't wait to continue her journey with such great people.

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