The Miami Hurricanes hit the road for a rare Friday Night contest Bs the FAU Owls (8PM EST FSN).
In preparation for the match-up and to learn a little more about FAU, we caught up with Cyrus Smith, writer for Underdog Dynasty, and the resident expert on their site for the Owls.
Check out the full Q&A below, and be sure to head over to UD for more information on FAU.
SOTU: FAU put up some impressive numbers, despite losing 47-44 in their opener to Tulsa. Encapsulate this team for us. Are they all offense, no defense? What are the strengths and weaknesses for the Owls?
CS: Entering the year FAU's offense had the potential to be outstanding while the defense, with better depth on the defensive line, projected to be better than last year's unit. After week one, this team has all the makings of one that will either win shootouts, or lose shootouts. The strength of the team starts in the backfield with senior quarterback Jaquez Johnson. Johnson accounted for 360 total yards, and three touchdowns against Tulsa. Add in running backs Greg 'Buddy' Howell and Jay Warren and the Owls have a potent rushing attack. FAU ran for 300 yards against Tulsa. The team's biggest weakness is the secondary. FAU has to replace three starters in the secondary entering this season. Tulsa exploited the secondary's inexperience for 424 yards.
SOTU: The offense seems to be centered around talented QB Jacquez Johnson. Tell us about his game, and who else on the FAU offense can hurt the 'Canes?
CS: Cre'von LeBlanc is FAU's most experienced defensive back. He recorded an interception against Tulsa. Another playmaker on defense is defensive tackle Trevon Coley. Coley recorded a sack and forced fumble against Tulsa. I would also throw in tackle Brandin Bryant for good measure who has the size (6'3' 290 lbs) to disrupt the 'Canes rushing attack.SOTU: Who are the playmakers to watch on defense for the Owls?
CS: FAU fans are primarily worried about the secondary as Jake Stoshak, Sharrod Neasman, and Herb Miller did not inspire a ton of confidence against Tulsa. Tulsa quarterback Dane Evans lit up the Owls when he had a clean pocket to throw from. At times he appeared erratic and would make some risky decisions, but it wasn't enough to deter him from taking chances as Tulsa's receivers had a huge height advantage with 6'4' wideout Keyarris Garrett (163 receiving yards). Brad Kaaya is a much better quarterback than Evans and is a lot more careful with the ball. With Rashawn Scott listed at 6'2', the secondary may be in for another long day against a lengthy receiver.SOTU: What match-ups/players on Miami should FAU fans be worried about?
SOTU: What kind of environment can UM expect for a Friday Night game in Boca?
SOTU: Can the Owls compete this season in C-USA? What's the overall feeling of the conference's members about the UAB situation?
The outreach from schools in C-USA has been phenomenal in support of the Blazers. As a G5 school, the reality is that situation could have happened to any university. Throw in the shadiness from the regents at UAB and it was easy to support the UAB football program. As for the Blazers football program re-joining C-USA, that seems to be a given as the conference currently has 13 teams with Charlotte being this year's new edition, and with commissioner Britton Banowsky on board it seems to be a forgone conclusion.
SOTU: Last but certainly not least, give us your detailed prediction for Friday Night?
CS: If FAU had defeated Tulsa the team's confidence would through the roof entering this game. Alas, they didn't, as they lost in heartbreaking fashion once again in overtime 47-44. The team will still be pretty geeked about the game, but I feel the wind may be already out of their sails after suffering another late-game loss. With Al Golden coaching for his job, I expect Miami's focus to be locked in once the game starts. The first quarter will be exciting as FAU will take an early lead as the team comes out on fire. However, the talent disparity between the two teams will kick-in midway through the 2nd quarter after the Owls can no longer feed off the adrenaline from the crowd. Miami will overcome the early jitters, and take a double digit lead into halftime. Kaaya connects with Scott for a few touchdowns in the third quarter which allows Miami to cruise to a 48-23 victory.
Thanks again to Cyrus for working with us.
Be sure to check out what should be a very interesting game this Friday Night.