Key for FAU: Start fast. The Owls have been fantastic at posting points on their first drives of the season, failing to do so only once since the season-opener at Oklahoma. All but one of those scoring drives ended in touchdowns. In the two wins over North Texas last season the Owls raced to an early lead, rendering the Mean Green offense one dimensional. This year FAU has struggled after that first drive, however. The Owls need a complete first half offensively against North Texas to take the pressure off their defense. “When we get the lead and jump ahead so early, sometimes it forces teams to throw the ball a lot more and that gives our D-Line, which they are all animals, gives them a chance to get to the quarterback,” safety Jalen Young said. “When those guys get hungry and they are going out there trying to eat, it helps us out, too.”
Key for North Texas: Launch an effective rushing attack. Everyone knows about the effectiveness of Mean Green quarterback Mason Fine, but if North Texas can’t at least make FAU respect the run the Owls’ defensive line will tee off on Fine like they did in the C-USA title game last year when they sacked him nine times. An undisclosed injury limited linebacker Andrew Soroh this week in practice, and with Azeez Al-Shaair already out for the season the Owls could be shorthanded at the position. North Texas ranks fifth among C-USA teams in rushing, led by DeAndre Torrey’s 60.3 yards per game. The Mean Green will have to do better on Thursday night.