UTEP vs. FAU prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins between the Miners and Owls on Saturday in Boca Raton, FL.
UTEP vs. FAU Game Preview
When: Saturday, Nov. 12 – 6:00 p.m. ET
Where: FAU Football Stadium, Boca Raton, FL
TV Broadcast: N/A
The Miners (3-6, 1-4 Conference USA) are coming off of a 42-10 home win over Houston Baptist last week, as Aaron Jones ran for 228 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback Ryan Metz was 16-of-21 passing for 191 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions, as he continued to play well since being inserted into the starting lineup. Jones had 181 yards on the ground at the half, and his second scoring run tied him with Pug Gabriel for second on UTEP’s all-time list at 27.
Meanwhile, the Owls (2-7, 1-4) went on the road and scored a 42-25 win over Rice in Houston behind Devin Singletary’s 252 rushing yards and three touchdowns. The yardage mark set a school single-game rushing record, one that was held by Alfred Morris (198 yards). Singletary’s 283 all-purpose yards also set a record, breaking Anthony Jackson’s mark (231).
When these teams met last season in El Paso, Mack Leftwich threw a career-high three touchdown passes, including a pair to Tyler Batson, to help the Miners claim a 27-17 win. Leftwich threw for 271 yards, while Batson finished with three receptions for a career-high 143 yards. Trey Rodriguez finished with 114 yards and a score on the ground for the Owls.
What To Know About UTEP
The Miners have had a rough 2016 campaign, going through a five-game losing streak and dealing with issues at the quarterback position. But Sean Kugler’s squad has played much better football since he put the team in full pads and had them tackle in the week leading up to the 5-OT win over UTSA, which was a back-to-basics move that ended up paying off. Metz was named the starter at quarterback midway through the year, and he has thrown seven touchdown passes to just one interception over the last three games. Meanwhile, Jones remains the heart and soul of this offense. For the season he has 164 rushes for 1,168 yards and 11 scores. The most ridiculous stat, though, is his 7.1 yards per carry average. If Metz continues to play well, the Miners will continue to be a tough “out” to close the season.
What to Know About FAU
One week after being decimated by Western Kentucky in a 52-3 loss, Jason Driskel threw two scoring passes as FAU set a program mark with 657 total yards in a victory over Rice this past Saturday. The program’s previous total yardage record was 624 set in 2008. Driskel was 15 of 23 through the air for 317 yards, with a 33-yard touchdown pass to John Mitchell and an 84-yarder to Henry Bussey III. Charlie Partridge’s Owls have endured a rough year, so they probably enjoyed taking out their frustrations on a Rice squad that may be the most overmatched in the entire country. Outside of the rushing duo of Singletary and Gregory Howell Jr., fans of the Owls have had little to be excited about this fall, especially because the offensive line has been ravaged by injuries. But to get a win after seven straight losses has to feel good.
Offense: Even. These teams are putting up nearly identical numbers both on the ground and through the air.
Defense: UTEP. FAU is giving up 492.3 yards per contest, and they are very susceptible to the pass.
Special Teams: FAU. The Owls have one of the better special teams efficiency ratings in the nation.
Coaching: Even. This has not been a standout year for either program-builder.
Intangibles: Even. Both teams are coming off of wins against inferior opponents, but the victories should inspire a much-needed small confidence boost.
Matchup To Watch
Metz vs. FAU secondary
Now that UTEP has a clear-cut No. 1 QB, the offense looks much more efficient. Metz is protecting the football, completing 65 percent of throws and averaging 201.3 yards per game since becoming the full-time starter. He’ll be going up against a pass defense this week that is allowing an average of 269.4 yards per game through the air. This is an area that UTEP must exploit if it wants to continue to climb toward the .500 mark.
Spread: FAU -3
UTEP vs. FAU Prediction
Jones and Singletary should put on a ground show. Expect both running backs to get their fair share of carries, so expect this to come down to which quarterback is more efficient. It’s tough to trust Driskel despite his big game last week against Rice because he has not had a strong season. I’m picking the Miners to steal a win on the road behind the arm of Metz.
UTEP vs. FAU Score Prediction: UTEP 27, FAU 24