Coming off an impressive 45-0 win over Bethune-Cookman, FAU faces an opponent that has played a schedule similar to that of the Owls. Buffalo, like FAU, has played a Big 10 foe, an armed forces foe and a local FCS opponent. The Bulls have also had the same results, going 1-2 so far.
FAU is coming into a game that can be a trap. Buffalo got the best of FAU when they played two years ago. That was back in the Partridge era. This FAU team is not the same team. Instead of the Bulls secondary worrying about Jenson Stoshak, they will worry about DeAndre McNeal, John Franklin and Devin Singletary.
Buffalo is only allowing opponents to score 16 points per game. FAU will need to establish the run this week. So far Buffalo is ranked 114th in rush defense allowing over 219 yards per game. The Owls ran for a school record 439 yards last week and need to keep running it.
The File: FAU Owls (1-2) vs. Buffalo Bulls (1-2)
THE SERIES: Buffalo Leads 1-0
LAST MEETING: Buffalo 33, FAU 15 (2015)
BUFFALO OFFENSE: Buffalo, like FAU, is a run dominant team. The Bulls have averaged 157 rushing yards per game, scoring four touchdowns. The passing offense struggled, averaging only 196 yards per game, but quarterback Tyree Jackson impresses FAU coach Lane Kiffin. “This is not quite a spread and the quarterback doesn’t run the same but he does run,” Kiffin said. “It’s just different. He’s like a [Tim] Tebow or something where you’ve got to tackle this guy like a running back.” The Owls rank 11th nationally in allowed passing yards with 124 yards per game so expect the Bulls, like FAU, to establish the run. This will be the Owls’ second consecutive game against a spread-type offense, but unlike B-CU, Buffalo frequently employs a tight end. Through three games, the Bulls have produced six plays of 45 yards or more. Buffalo had only five plays of 45+ yards all of last season.
Offensive Players to Watch:
- 3 Tyree Jackson, S0., QB: FAU should be worried about Jackson’s arm and legs. The 6-foot-7, 245-pound signal caller is a speedy quarterback who is dangerous in the air and on the ground. He is the leading rusher for the bulls with 189 yards rushing and two scores. He has passed for 588 yards and three touchdowns. “I think this quarterback’s really good,” Kiffin said. “His completion percentage isn’t very good but when yo watch the tape this guy throws some balls all over the place. He looks like [former San Diego St., Seattle Seahawks and Miami Dolphins quarterback] Dan McGwire or something. He’s a giant. We’re going to have to do a good job in coverage and the guy can run too. We’ll have our hands full.”
- 29 Emmanuel Reed, So., RB: He is the other threat on the ground. Reed’s stats are not as impressive as some of the players FAU faced earlier in the season, but the Owls struggled stopping the run the first two weeks. He’s rushed for 133 yards on 29 carries this year and a score. Expect Reed to get many carries this week with the spread option.
- 83 Anthony Johnson, R-Jr., WR: Buffalo’s big-play receiver, Johnson has caught at least one pass covering 46 or more yards in each of the Bulls first three games. He’s caught 16 passes, scoring twice this season.
BUFFALO DEFENSE: The Bulls run a 4-3 defense which allows running holes to be clogged and can create pressure on the QB with big guys. They also like to blitz a linebacker on occasion. The defense has struggled getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks. They have had two sacks on the year, both coming against Colgate, an FCS school. Buffalo ranks fourth in the nation in pass defense, allowing 104 yards per game. The Bulls have only allowed one passing touchdown on the season. “They don’t do a lot of stuff, which isn’t necessarily easy because they’re really good at it,” Kiffin said. These guys are really good upfront. They’re long. They’re strong. They’re a little bit different from what we see.”
Defensive Players to Watch:
- 90 Justin Brandon, JR, DL: Brandon leads the Bulls in tackles for losses with two and a half. Look for him to bring the interior pressure to the Owls run game. He has 14 tackles on the season thus far.
- 39 Cameron Lewis, Jr., CB: Lewis has the potential to stop the passing game for FAU. He has the lone interception for the Bulls this season and also has 14 tackles. Look for him to be a major player against the FAU passing offense.
JUST CHILL: Playing at Buffalo can be dicey weather wise, but Saturday’s game should have some nice weather as it is going to be a clear night where it can get as low as 64 degrees. This will be more like the weather that the Owls played in when they faced the Badgers two weeks ago.
FAMILIAR FACE: Former FAU defensive coordinator Roc Bellantoni is a defensive analyst for the Bulls. “Hopefully I’ll be able to see him after the game,” FAU linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair said.
SEEN HIM BEFORE: Buffalo coach Lance Leipold is in his third season at the helm of the Bulls. In 2015 he led Buffalo to its first non-conference victory since 2009. The opponent that game? Florida Atlantic.