BOCA RATON – Riding its first win streak of the season, FAU welcomes a 4-2 North Texas squad – the toughest C-USA opponent the Owls have faced yet – as its homecoming opponent.
The Mean Green ranks in the Top 30 nationally for total offense and can move the ball through the air and on the ground.
FAU has had a bye week to prepare for what could potentially be a pre C-USA championship game.
The Owls should receive come help in matching the Mean Green’s explosive offense with the reinstatement of wide receiver Kalib Woods, adding size and experience to the receiving unit. The Mean Green have only three interceptions on the season.
FAU has already matched their win total for last year and UNT with a win Saturday will do the same. Both teams who were near the bottom of C-USA last year have made strides to show they are the best teams in C-USA.
THE FILE: FAU (3-3, 2-0) vs. UNT (4-2, 3-0)
The Series: FAU leads the series 6-4
Last Meeting: North Texas 31, FAU 10 (2014)
NORTH TEXAS OFFENSE: FAU will once again goes against another spread offense team. Averaging more than 300 yards per game passing and boasting a Top 15 running back in the nation, The Mean Green own C-USA’s top offense. This could be the Owls toughest offense they face all year in conference play.
Offensive Players to Watch:
- 6, Mason Fine, So., QB: Could be the toughest QB FAU will face all year. Through six games he has 1,976 passing yards and 14 scores. Fine is averaging nearly 300 yards a game passing. He will face a tough task with the improved FAU secondary but he can light up the scoreboard this game.
- 3, Jeffery Wilson, Sr. RB: Currently No. 12 nationally in rushing, Wilson is an explosive player. Racking up 749 rushing yards and nine touchdowns, he is a threat to the FAU defense. Against Southern Mississippi, he scored three touchdowns on 148 rushing yards.
- 9, Jalen Guyton, R-So., WR: Fine’s favorite target, Guyton has 32 receptions for 626 yards and seven scores. He can be a deep threat for the Mean Green.
NORTH TEXAS DEFENSE: North Texas runs a 3-4 defense with rushing linebackers. North Texas will line up three defensive linemen and two linebackers inside the FAU tackles. It’s a scheme similar to what Navy and Wisconsin employed in limiting FAU to its two worst rushing games of the year. They use the linebackers as extra rushers but vary the rushing linebacker from down to down. The UNT weakness is against the pass. They rank No. 106 in the nation in opposing passing yards per game, allowing 262 yards. The corners have not been turnover machines either, only nabbing three interceptions this year.
Defensive Players to Watch:
- 18, Josh Wheeler, Sr. DE/LB: Wheeler plays the “jack” linebacker for the Mean Green. On some plays he’ll function as a linebacker and other he’ll be a defensive end. Wheeler’s stats this season aren’t all that impressive – 14 tackles, 3.5 for loss, two sacks. But part of that stems from him missing one game and not starting another. North Texas also tried him at different spot before moving him back to the “jack” after a few games. Last season he led North Texas with 5.5 sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss.
- 22, E.J. Ejiya, R-JR, LB: Began the season playing the “jack” position before switching to the weak side linebacker – a spot where he’s more comfortable. Ejiya is the second leading tackler on the team with 45. His specialty though is to getting to the passer. He leads the team with four and a half sacks and blitzes often for the Mean Green. He also has six and a half tackles for a loss.
- 4, Khairi Muhammad, So. S: Leads UNT with 52 tackles. Despite playing safety, he has three tackles for a loss and a half of a sack. Look for him to blitz FAU QB Jason Driskel.
A Tale of Two Busseys: Both teams have receivers whose last names are Bussey. Not a common name, both have different impacts on the team. With 13 receptions for 131 yards and two touchdowns, UNT’s Rico Bussey, who hails from Oklahoma, is making the bigger impact this season. While FAU’s Henry Henry Bussey is more of a special teams feature this season as his offensive stats are quiet (which can be said for most of the Owls’ wide receivers as the passing game continues to struggle). He only has seven catches for 38 yards and no touchdowns on the year playing in the slot.
A Real Kick: UNT’s kicker Trevor Moore has become the program’s best kicker and currently holds eight different kicking records for the Mean Green. He has taken over the record for most PAT attempts made with 122 and has an over 60 consecutive extra points made.