gtpdd’s FAU Preview

Friday evening at 5:30 PM Central, the Bulldogs fly south to Boca Raton to face Lane Kiffin and the FAU Owls. But before you watch the game, you need to know a few things. That’s where we come in!

How to Watch

This week’s game is on CBS Sports Network. If you don’t have that channel–or any channels at all because you are a millennial like us–You’ll need a subscription to a service like FuboTV or Playstation Vue. Well, unluckily for us, I’ve already recommended using a free trial of FuboTV earlier this season. So you’ll either have to use a different email and credit card to sign up for that, or try out Playstation Vue. As of me writing this, I’ve never used that service, so no guarantees!

Other People’s Predictions

  • ESPN FPI: Tech has a 51% chance to win.
  • Massey: FAU wins, 35-30
  • Vegas (OddsShark): FAU wins by 3.5
  • S&P+: FAU wins, 32-28
  • BleedTechBlue: Tech wins, 27-24
  • NCAA 14 Simulation: Tech wins 17-13

Previous Records

FAU has won all of their games***! Tech is currently 5-2, although from the state of the various message boards, you’d think otherwise.

***: FAU has won all of its games at home, but lost all of its games on the road.

What to Watch For

Evan: The easiest answer here is that we should watch for Devin Singletary–FAU’s NFL-bound tailback. In the interest of me being lazy, and wanting to talk about Singletary, that’s what I’m going with!

The Junior running back is nicknamed “Motor,” and for good reason: Last season, he led all FBS players with 32 (treinta y dos, for our Spanish speaking readers) touchdowns, and finished with 1920 rushing yards. Last year in Ruston, the Dogs held Singletary to just over 100 yards on the ground. That’s an impressive feat, considering that he was coming off two 200+ yard performances in conference play!

This season, “Motor” is up to his old antics. He’s run for 666 yards on 147 attempts and 14 touchdowns. That’s still good enough to lead Conference USA, but he’s well under the pace of the nearly 2000 yards he put up a season ago.

There are some advanced stats that give me hope that Tech can slow down the Owls’ rushing attack. Let’s set up some scenario based stats using the S&P+ advanced stat profiles. First off, FAU calls running plays on 63% of its “standard downs.” That’s a fancy way of saying “not obvious passing situations.” But hell, even in obvious passing situations, the Owls call runs 40% of the time! What I’m getting at here is that while they’re not truly one-dimensional, if you can take the running game out of the picture, the Owls offense is out of its comfort zone. That’s essentially what Marshall did last week, when they held Singletary to 39 yards and won 31-7. Oh, and Owl QB Chris Robison threw 4 picks. See what happens when you stop the run?

Okay, so they run a lot. Who cares? That doesn’t mean Tech can stop the run! Well, FAU’s offensive line is currently dealing with a lot of injuries, and even before that, they were allowing “run stuffs” (rushes stopped at or behind the line of scrimmage) on 22% of their rushing attempts. That’s 104th in FBS, AKA not great. Meanwhile, Tech’s defense is stuffing 21.4% of rushing attempts they face–good for 45th in FBS. For reference, last week when Marshall shut down Singletary, they only stuffed 18% of FAU’s running attempts.

Oh yeah, and Tech has a guy named Jaylon Ferguson. For all the talk about him needing to shore up his defending against the run, he’s leading the team in run stuffs with 13. Tech’s other defensive end, Jordan Bradford, has 10. I think the Dogs can have some success against the run, even with a stellar running back on the other side.

Random Factoid

Nathan: Before writing the piece I did for BleedTechBlue this week, I googled the phrase “FAU Secret Weapon” to find if somebody did my work for me get some inspiration for the post. What Google responded with (in apparently 0.48 seconds) was something possibly (but hopefully not) more interesting than the game that will take place Friday night.

To recap what was said in the BTB post (because who has time for reading anyway), the acreage that now houses the campus of FAU was once an army base.

braf gate.jpg

But this was not just any military base.

The Boca Raton Air Field looked like any other WWII-era air base, but it housed something secret. Something that was later deemed the “secret weapon that won World War II” (hence my Google search results).

The first thing that probably comes to mind when you think of a secretive weapon in WWII is probably the atomic bomb, but you’d be wrong. (And speaking of being wrong, here’s a link to do the gtpdd Contest).

The real secret weapon of WWII was radar (and this is the technology, not to be confused with Radar, my personal favorite character on the hit TV show MASH).

Before the start of WWII, the concept of radar was being researched by a group of scientists at MIT. As the US started down its path to involvement in the global conflict, the researchers moved to Boca Raton, where they learned how to use the technology, and also taught pilots on how to use it.

Hundreds of pilots descended (get it?) on Boca Raton to have their planes retrofitted with the radar equipment, including the Enola Gay, the first plane to drop an atomic bomb.

Without radar, World War II may have gone a lot differently. But thanks to Boca Raton, we will never have to know just how different history could have been.

Also, if you look at a birds-eye view of campus, you can still see the air base that was once there:

before and now

Hot Taeks

Evan: FAU has only allowed 7 sacks this season. They’ll be in double digits by halftime.

Nathan: Not Tech related, but UAB is losing to (win-less) UTEP.

Josh: J’Mar is going to end the game with more INTs than TDs, but Tech will somehow win.

Final Predictions

Evan: Here’s a tweet that perfectly encapsulates my thoughts about this game:

Okay, seriously though. Does anyone have a real clue as to who will win this game? It could be an absolute blowout either way, and I wouldn’t be surprised. Ultimately, I think Tech will eek this one out by finding some rhythm offensively for the first time in what feels like a long while. FAU’s defense isn’t great; they’re giving up almost 40 points a game. Hell, Bethune-Cookman put up 28 on them. Defensively, Ferguson, Bradford, and the linebackers will have to play solidly against CUSA’s best running back, but I think they can get the job done.

Tech wins, 37-30

Nathan: I was not very high on FAU to begin the year. They lost their QB (unexpectedly) and offensive coordinator. They were due for a step backwards this year.

And they’ve taken one. They aren’t a bad team (even with a 3-4) record, they’ve simply played a tougher schedule. I see FAU in a very similar position to Tech’s. A talented team that doesn’t seem to click. All of the pieces are there, but for one reason or another, it just hasn’t worked.

I was scared of UAB’s run game. I was scared of UTEP’s run game. You can bet I’m terrified of Devin Singletary and the FAU run game. Luckily (for Tech), that’s balanced by boom-or-bust QB Chris Robison (not a typo). If Tech can get ahead on the scoreboard, they’re likely to stay there.

FAU’s defensive backfield is also a little spooky (remember, it’s Halloween-time), but J’Mar’s struggles haven’t been with coverage, but rather the pass rush. And with the 2nd best defensive player in C-USA, Azeez Al-Shaair out for the rest of the season due to injury, I expect J’Mar to have a bounce back game here. And he’ll be the reason Tech wins this game (and I don’t say that only because he follows us on Twitter).

Tech wins, 31-23

Josh: Like Evan stated above, I have no idea what to think of either team at this point. We’re now in week 9 of the college football season and I can’t tell you for certain whether either team is good or bad. Each team has shown flashes of good and bad moments, so I guess it all depends on which team has the most bad moments. Tech does match up well against FAU’s best asset in Singletary and the run game, but will it be enough to give Tech the win? I think that if Tech can manage to slow down FAU’s run game the Dogs will be able to force Robison into some uncomfortable situations and hopefully keep their offense from scoring often. Now, what really worries me is Tech’s offense. All season long it feels like the offense has been dragging and going 3 and out more often than not. It’ll look like nothing has been working on offense at all and that we’re not passing the ball well, but I’ll look at the box score and see that J’Mar has 300+ yards at the end of the game. This all leads me to believe that the key for Tech’s offense to have a good game is for the running game to be excellent. That’s one area Tech has seemed to struggle in for the past few games, so Dancy and McKnight need to have a great game Friday night in order for the Bulldogs to win.

Tech wins, 28-21

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