Football is back and we are only two days away from Florida Atlantic’s season opener. This Saturday Lane Kiffin and the Owls will head to Columbus to take on Ryan Day and the Buckeyes. This will be Kiffin’s third season with the Owls where he’ll look to continue improving his 16-10 record since becoming head coach in 2017. In his first year, Kiffin was able to bring the Owls to their best all-time season that included a Conference USA championship, however in 2018 the Owls only had three conference wins and an overall record of 5-7. With that being said, this is no doubt a defining year for FAU and Coach Kiffin.
The Owl’s will be starting out this season with a tough opponent in the Buckeyes who finished 3rd in the AP Top 25 poll and are ranked 5th in ESPN’s Coaches Poll heading into this season. Coach Kiffin remarked that “These [games] were scheduled before we got here” and that “I don’t think it is the best idea, especially following with UCF, another team that has been a top-10 team the last two years.” There’s no doubting that FAU will face a major challenge this Saturday, but Kiffin also stated he is “excited for our kids to be able to go play at a place like that”. In regard to how the Owl’s need to compete, Kiffin said that they need to get back to playing like they did in his first year at FAU.
FAU’s key players to look for this Saturday are tight end Harrison Bryant who caught 45 passes for 662 yards and 4 touchdowns last season. Look for the 6-5, 240 pounder to find a mismatch with an OSU linebacker and make some key plays in the hurried offense.
On the defensive side of the ball, linebacker Rashad Smith will be key to help pressure OSU’s new, sophomore quarterback Justin Fields. While Smith is undersized at 6-1 and 215 pounds, he is a talented athlete with 86 tackles and four interceptions last year. If Smith and the FAU defense are able to put pressure on Fields and force turnovers, FAU will be able to keep things close and increase their chances of causing an upset.
Tune into the Owl’s season opener this Saturday at 11 Central on FOX. More information is available in the video below. GO OWLS!
Written By: Matthew Lewis
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