The Florida Atlantic Owls will host the Florida International Panthers in a C-USA rivalry showdown known as the Shula Bowl Saturday evening from FAU Football Stadium. The Panthers posted a 24-17 home win over Old Dominion last week, and the Owls logged a 35-24 road win over Western Kentucky in their latest action. FAU notched a 49-14 road win over FIU last season.
FIU Targets Bowl Eligibility
The Florida International Panthers are playing with confidence, and they can achieve bowl eligibility with a victory in this game. The Panthers have won four out of their last five games overall to even their conference record to 3-3 after opening C-USA play with two straight losses. The Panthers played great defense in a 24-17 home win over Old Dominion last week in a clash that had FIU labeled as 17.5 point favorites. James Morgan is having an efficient season. The senior QB only has 1660 passing yards, but he only has 10 touchdown passes against only two interceptions, and I expect him to rack up the yards in this one against a poor FAU defense.
The Panthers' biggest strength on offense is their ability to run the football. Anthony Jones leads the way with 638 rushing yards and the senior has rushed for at least 100 yards three times this season. Napoleon Maxwell can also do damage as the senior back has 459 rushing yards on an average of 5.3 yards per attempt.
FIU has three receivers with over 300 yards on the season. Shernar Thornton is coming off a season-high 125 yards and he has collected a season total of 455 yards. The Panthers offense has only scored a combined 41 points in their last two games.
The FIU defense has rebounded after surrendering 50 points to Middle Tennessee State. They held Old Dominion to 17 points led by a pass defense that stands seventh in the entire FBS, while their rush defense is down at 107th. The Panthers are scoring an average of 28.2 points, ranking them 73rd overall. They are conceding an average of 25.4 points, positioning them 51st in the FBS. FIU has yet to win on the road where they are 0-3.
FAU Defeats WKU to Remain in 1st Place in C-USA East
The FAU Owls are hunting for their third consecutive victory. The Owls stand in first place in the C-USA East with a 4-1 conference record with only three games remaining. FAU is playing outstanding defense recently which involved a 35-24 road win against Western Kentucky last week in a game that had the Owls as two-point favorites. The Owls consistently generate big yards in the air. Chris Robison has registered over 300 passing yards four times this season, and he has racked up 2339 passing yards with a 17:4 TD to INT ratio.
FAU will distribute its running game with three running backs. Malcolm Davidson has enjoyed the most success with 364 rushing yards. The Owls have no shortage of talented receivers that can make make a big play. Tight end Harrison Bryant continues to excel, bringing in over 70 yards in three consecutive games, and he is up to 651 yards. Florida Atlantic’s offense has been a force throughout C-USA play.
The Owls defense is locked in, conceding only a combined 27 points in their last two games. They will give up passing yards as they are allowing an average of 261 passing yards per game, but counter with a terrific rush defense. FAU is currently averaging 33.1 points, good for 43rd in the FBS. They are holding opponents to 26 points, placing them 57th overall. FAU is 2-2 at home.
The FIU Panthers are:
- 1-5 ATS in their last 6 conference games.
- 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games following an ATS loss.
- 2-7 ATS in their last 9 games overall.
The top supporting trends for this game found on covers.com are as follows: The FAU Owls are:
- 4-1 ATS in their last 5 conference games.
- 4-1 ATS in their last 5 November games.
- 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games after allowing less than 100 rushing yards in their previous game.