NCAA Football: Georgia Southern Eagles vs. Florida Atlantic Owls Preview, Prediction & Odds -- Sept. 11, 2021

by Big Al Staff

Game time: 3:30 p.m. ET, Sept. 11, 2021
Venue: FAU Stadium, Boca Raton, FL
Where to watch: N/A

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks


DraftKings: FAU -7; O/U 48; FAU -280, Georgia Southern +225
BetMGM: FAU -7; O/U NA; FAU -270, Georgia Southern +215
Caesars: FAU -7; O/U 48.5; FAU -280, Georgia Southern +230

Season record
Georgia Southern: 1-0
Florida Atlantic: 0-1

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Georgia Southern - Florida Atlantic preview and analysis


Recent form
Georgia Southern: won 30-25 vs. Gardner-Webb on Sept. 4
Florida Atlantic: lost 35-14 at No. 13 Florida on Sept. 4

Let’s put it this way: It could’ve been a lot worse for the Florida Atlantic Owls last week in Gainesville.

Sure, the Owls lost 35-14 to the Florida Gators; a much more prominent, dominant team in front of thousands of people. But FAU not only kept it 14-0 until midway through the third quarter, but clawed out two late touchdowns for the 23.5-point backdoor cover.

So, FAU is a lot better than the score indicated despite starting 0-1. Now with the Georgia Southern Eagles coming to Boca Raton on Saturday night, the Owls should be able to bounce back in their home opener.

Getting the bad out of the way: The Gators gashed the FAU defense for 553 total yards in only 30:18 time of possession. And if that wasn’t enough, 400 of those yards came on the ground. No, that’s not a typo; nearly nine yards per carry from the Florida ground game.

Two Florida backs -- Anthony Richardson and Malik Davis -- both went over 100 yards; Richardson needed just seven to get 160, while Davis had 104 on 14 touches.

The silver lining comes in FAU’s pass defense. No sacks, but FAU held Florida quarterback Emory Jones to just 113 yards and intercepted him twice. Jones made up for the lack of an air attack with 74 yards on the ground, but that may neither be here nor there.

While that transpired, Miami transfer N’Kosi Perry played very well in his FAU debut, throwing for 261 yards and a touchdown. The only blemish was the senior quarterback was sacked six times; you take those out of the statsheet, FAU’s running game averaged 4.1 yards per carry. Johnny Ford and Malcolm Davidson combined for 19 carries for 104 yards and a touchdown. That offense proved to move the football. D’Marcus Adams had a team-high 85 receiving yards.

This offense should be much better than the last time FAU faced Georgia Southern, which came last season and a 20-3 win for the Eagles. Head coach Willie Taggart also has another year with this group. An outlier, that game was. Georgia Southern had a +4 advantage in the turnover department and both offenses had less than 350 total yards.

If this FAU offense comes to play, there will be more than three points and 322 total yards.

The Eagles also rely heavily on the ground game; they had 365 yards, with 178 coming from lead back Logan Wright in the 30-25 win against Gardner-Webb. Quarterback Cam Ransom threw for 90 yards and a touchdown in the run-heavy attack.

Amari Jones, the former running back from Tulane, was the better quarterback. He threw for 45 yards while running for 98. GSU got out to a 20-6 lead but failed to put the game away after Gardner-Webb started zeroing in on the ground attack.

Prediction


This FAU team returned 20 starters this year, and that showed in Week 1. Watch how this spread moves throughout the week. Already since it opened at -4, FAU moving to seven-point favorites says a lot about how much people believe in the Owls. The Eagles were 28-point favorites against Gardner-Webb and only won by five. FAU should handle business and win by two scores.

Betting trends


FAU is 2-10 against the spread in home openers.

Statistical leaders


Georgia Southern:
Passing: Cam Random -- 90 yards, 1 TD
Rushing: Logan Wright -- 178 yards, 1 TD
Receiving: Khaleb Hood -- 39 yards
Defense: Anthony Wilson -- 6 tackles

Florida Atlantic:
Passing: N’Kosi Perry -- 261 yards, 1 TD
Rushing: Malcolm Davidson -- 52 yards
Receiving: D’Marcus Adams -- 85 yards
Defense: Jordan Helm -- 11 tackles

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All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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