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

UNIVERSITY PRESS

Staff Predictions: Owls try to make Pirates ‘Walk the Plank’ in Boca

Following their upsetting loss on the road to UAB, the University Press sports staff are split on the Owls’ return home to face the East Carolina Pirates.
FAU+freshman+tight+end+%28%2348%29+Zeke+Moore+breaking+a+tackle+for+a+first+down+during+the+Owls+45-42+loss+to+the+University+of+Alabama+at+Birmingham+on+the+road+on+Saturday%2C+Nov.+4%2C+2023.
FAU Athletics
FAU freshman tight end (#48) Zeke Moore breaking a tackle for a first down during the Owls’ 45-42 loss to the University of Alabama at Birmingham on the road on Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023.

On Saturday, the Florida Atlantic Owls (4-5, 3-2 AAC) return home to face the East Carolina University (ECU) Pirates (1-8, 0-5 AAC).

The Owls are coming off a 45-42 loss on the road to the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Blazers (3-6, 2-3 AAC) Saturday, Nov. 4.

The University Press Sports staff predicted the outcome of Saturday’s game.

Maddox Greenberg – Sports Editor

This season, Owl fans have learned to remain hopeful. They have learned not to trust a bad opponent against FAU. While this team seemed promising in the offseason, with the hiring of head coach Tom Herman and the addition of graduate quarterback Casey Thompson, this season has not been what FAU fans and alumni idealized. The team went on a three-game losing streak before entering conference play, where they are up and down, barely beating winnable games and losing to teams that they shouldn’t be losing to.

After falling to beatable opponents at home and on the road (as we’ve seen last week against UAB), the Owls return home to “Defend Paradise” when they host the Pirates.

One positive and negative of this Owls team is that you don’t know which team you’ll get. With a banged-up secondary, the Owls were off to a disastrous start against UAB, only for the offense to rely on junior standout LaJohntay Wester to revive this offense to gain the lead (only for the defense to crumble and give up a wide-open touchdown pass and a field goal).

Despite their record, this 1-8 Pirates team is no joke. Recently, they held No. 22 Tulane to 13 points (with three in the second half) in Greenville, N.C. On paper, this seems to be an easy win for FAU, and it will be. The Pirates average only 14 points per game, last in the AAC. They give up 24.8 points per game, which is fourth in the AAC. Richardson and the Owls need to throw deep in this weakened Pirates secondary to get an early lead (and have to retain and continue that lead going into the second quarter). 

This season, the Owls have outscored opponents 64-22 in the first quarter, only to be outscored 100-69 in the second. After the first half, the Owls outscored 59 to 52 in the third and 59 to 40 in the fourth. The Owls need to score early and continue that momentum throughout the game. The fact that FAU has this rollercoaster of scoring big and then scoring small, the Owls will make the Pirates walk the plank in Boca.

Prediction: FAU 52, ECU 10

Cameron Priester – Editor-at-Large

The great poet Maya Angelou once said, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.”

Last Saturday for FAU, their second loss this season in a game they were favored in, proved yet again just precisely who they are.

The recurring theme of the season has been inconsistency, and again on Saturday, it burned the Owls. The defense, which had been their saving grace amidst early-season struggles on offense, got diced up and picked apart, giving up 614 yards of total offense — not a typo. The offense, in keeping with the same theme, appeared asleep in the first quarter, and after finally waking up in the second quarter, it was too little too late. 

So, my suggestion to FAU fans would be to enjoy the pregame Kodak Black performance as much as you can because the Owls have proved time and time again they won’t give us much to enjoy once the game starts. It’s time we believe them.

Prediction: ECU 21, FAU 17

JD Delcastillo – Staff Writer

I am glad basketball season is here and starting well because FAU football is bleak. If you had told me that the Owls would score 42 points in their game against UAB, I would have told you it was a great win. It was anything but. What hurt most about the loss is that they gave their supporters hope. The Owls mounted a comeback down 35-14 to make the game 42-35 and blew the game in the fourth quarter to lose on a game-winning field goal.

Regardless, we must have a short memory and look forward to a home game against East Carolina University (ECU). ECU has yet to win a game in the conference, holding a 0-5 record in conference play and a 1-8 record overall. They rank as the second worst offense in the conference, averaging almost 18 points per game. However, their defense ranks as the fourth best in the conference, which led to a competitive game in their 13-10 loss against  No. 20 Tulane University last week. 

The AAC is a weird conference because teams that are worse on paper beat teams they shouldn’t, as we saw last week with UAB. FAU is 2-2 at home, which doesn’t provide much faith that this game should be a blowout win just because it’s against an inferior team at home. If the FAU offense that played last week can show up this week, it should be an easy win… but who knows at this point?

Prediction: FAU 28, ECU 17

Anthony Brown – Staff Writer

Regarding scoring offense, Florida Atlantic is ranked 68th in the nation, scoring 27.7 points per game and gaining an average of 364.9 yards per game. In last week’s 45-42 loss to UAB, Richardson threw three touchdowns and one interception. As junior wide receiver LaJohntay Wester had 11 receptions for 219 yards and four touchdowns, expect the duo to have another big game together.

Throughout the season, East Carolina has struggled to score, averaging 17.7 points per game, which ranks 127th in the country. East Carolina gains a total of 272.1 yards through rushing and passing for an average of 113.6 yards rushing and 163.6 yards passing. Despite allowing an average of only 24.8 points per game, the Pirates cannot compensate for poor offensive production.

Florida Atlantic gives up 26.2 points a game on defense and 414 yards per game. Its weakest point is against the pass, allowing 257.2 yards per game, which is 115th. Although Florida Atlantic’s defense isn’t that great, they are good at forcing turnovers. In addition to forcing 15 turnovers, FAU ranks 29th nationally. East Carolina’s offense has been rocky all season, so FAU’s defense will be crucial to this game.  

Prediction: FAU 42, ECU 14

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 (@uno.of.uno).

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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.

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