Al Golden has been anything but golden as the head coach of the Miami Hurricanes, but his team has a good chance to move to 2-0 when they take on the Florida Atlantic Owls on Friday night. Will they be able to cover the three-score spread? That remains to be seen. A Friday night lights college football preview and free pick.
Miami (FL) Hurricanes vs. Florida Atlantic Owls
Date/Time: Friday, September 11, 8:00 pm ET
TV: Fox Sports 1
College Football Betting Favorite: Miami -17.5
After a rough non-conference slate the Owls last season, with trips to Lincoln, Tuscaloosa, and Laramie, the Owls will host the first of two non-Conference USA opponents when the mighty Miami Hurricanes come to Boca Raton. Miami, no doubt taxed by their Week 1 blowout win over Bethune-Cookman, may get a stiffer test than they expect from Charlie Partridge’s family.
A 6-7 season should have been grounds for termination given the talent that Al Golden had last season. After four years spent underachieving, Golden’s seat is exceptionally hot this year. Sophomore quarterback Brad Kaaya was about the only right decision Golden made last season. Kaaya threw 26 touchdown passes last season against 12 tosses to the other team and completed 58.5 percent of his passes. Unfortunately, the Hurricanes lost some major skill position talent. Duke Johnson left for greener pastures lined with money in the NFL. Phillip Dorsett and Clive Walford also moved on, leaving the Hurricanes with just one of their top four receivers from last season. The cupboard is never bare for a power five school in Florida, but there’s considerably less to choose from this season.
On defense, Denzel Perryman was the unquestioned leader of the defense with 50 more tackles than anybody else and he was a second-round NFL selection. The ‘Canes improved to 24.3 points per game allowed as the defense improved by nearly 100 yards allowed per game. It was a major stepping stone season for Mark D’Onofrio’s defense and one that should continue with six returning starters.
Oh, yeah, Miami decimated Bethune-Cookman last week. Miami held the Wildcats to 79 total yards, five first downs, and 1.5 yards per carry. The Hurricanes offense averaged 7.5 yards per carry and the Hurricanes emptied the bench throughout the game.
FAU had a rough 2015 debut against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane. Philip Montgomery’s head coaching debut was a winning one for the home team with an overtime victory and FAU began the season 0-1 for the second straight season. The silver lining is that the offense, which averaged 24 points and 363 yards per game last season, racked up 44 points and 563 yards. FAU had big performances from Jaquez Johnson, who was 23-of-34 for 263 yards and two scores, and Greg Howell, who had 22 carries for 138 yards and two touchdowns. Howell is a true sophomore and a building block for this offense. Jenson Stoshak will have to replace the production lost with Lucky Whitehead (76-706-6) now out of the picture. Stoshak had 7-114-1, but it wasn’t enough to overcome 13 penalties for 130 yards.
The Owls defense really regressed from 2013 to 2014 and it looks like more of the same this season. After allowing 22.3 points and 323 yards in 2013, the Owls gave up 34.4 points and 461 yards last season. They allowed 47 points and 618 yards in the season opener. Bobby Relf, arguably the best player on the FAU defense, could miss the rest of the season with a shoulder injury.
This is Partridge’s second year, so there are a lot of freshmen and sophomores on the two-deep. Will that help against a much more polished Miami team?
Miami (FL) Hurricanes vs. Florida Atlantic Owls Free Pick: Miami -17.5
Even though this game means a lot more to the Owls, they haven’t played well against power five teams. Over the last four seasons, FAU has lost by at least 30 to every power five conference team they have played. Miami has a revenge game on deck against Nebraska, but FAU just doesn’t have the talent to compete, even if Miami takes this game at about 75 or 80 percent.
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