The Owls are back home in Boca Raton and will face the UCF Knights this Saturday in their 2019 home opener. This game is a huge opportunity for Coach Kiffin to make a statement after a 21-45 loss to Ohio State last week. The Owls started out slow against Ohio State but led a valiant effort in the second half and were able to outscore the Buckeyes 18-17 in the third and fourth quarters. This has led the Owls to take a positive outlook heading into week 2 and this drive is exactly what they need to overcome the 18th ranked Knights.
The Owls have had several standout players that were seen in their week 1 matchup. Linebacker Leroy Akileis caught everyone’s attention with six tackles and a sack. When asked about Leroy’s performance Kiffin said, “I think he did do well. Especially for his first start, in a hard place versus some really good players.”
When asked about the defense, Akileis said, “I know for sure that we trust each other. Although we had those big busts in the first quarter, we all came together as one and let each other know we have to get better, but at the same time we just have to play ball. We are here for one reason. We love to play football. When things go wrong, we have to go over it, get it corrected and play ball.”
On the other side of the ball, FAU’s quarterback Chris Robison completed 22 passes on 34 attempts for 178 yards and a touchdown. Kiffin complimented Robison’s game saying that “I thought physically, Chris played well. He was very accurate with the ball. He suffered some really crucial drops. Three drops in those first three drives that could have made first downs. I think mentally he could have done some things better, but I thought physically, especially for that environment and against those players, he threw the ball well.” The Owl’s offensive line struggled against a strong OSU defensive line resulting in 4 sacks and only 22 total rushing yards on 33 attempts. BJ Emmons also suffered a what was thought to be a broken ankle and will likely be out for the season.
Heading into their home opener, FAU needs to make sure that UCF does not jump out to an early lead, which they are known to do. UCF scored 48 points in the first half of their game against Florida A&M and had 694 total yards on offense. Kiffin highlighted this saying, “They score a million points. They just had 44 first downs in one game, that is hard to do on air if there was no team out there. And, they are obviously really explosive, 62-nothing. They can get on top of you really fast. You are hanging with them or even ahead of them … then all of the sudden you look up and you are down two or three scores.” The same motive stays true for FAU this week as it did last week…they must be strong on defense out of the gate and if they are able to perform like they did in the second half against OSU, the Owls can make a real statement this weekend.
Tune into CBS Sports Network at 6:00 PM (Central) to watch the FAU Owls take on the UCF Knights.
Written By: Matthew Lewis
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