The Florida Atlantic Owls (2-9, 2-5) will take on the Old Dominion Monarchs (5-6, 3-4) in a Conference USA East Division matchup Saturday afternoon. Old Dominion won the only previous matchup between the teams with a 31-28 road victory as a 3.5 point underdog on November 29, 2014.
Florida Atlantic lost their third straight and sixth in the last seven games as they fell 20-14 in overtime on the road to #8 Florida last Saturday. Old Dominion had their two game win streak snapped with a 56-31 loss to Southern Miss on the road last Saturday. The kickoff from S.B. Ballard Stadium in Norfolk, Virginia is scheduled for 12:00 pm ET and the game will not be nationally televised. Florida Atlantic is currently favored by 4 points in this contest with the over/under set at 54.5 points.
Florida Atlantic kept Florida in check and acquitted themselves well for being a 31 point underdog in the contest. The Owls outgained the Gators 299-252, racked up 18 first downs while limiting Florida to 13 and had a near draw in time of possession: Florida had the edge 30:02 to 29:58 in the contest. Florida Atlantic was hurt a bit in the turnover department as they committed three turnovers while forcing a pair by Florida; the Owls tied the game on a fumble recovery in the end zone with 8:03 to play but couldn’t score again.
The Owls put up 215.4 yards per game through the air (73rd in the nation) and 156.1 yards per contest (90th in the nation) on the ground this season. Florida Atlantic averages 21.6 points per game but they rank 80th in the nation in scoring defense as they allow 28.5 points per contest. Jason Driskel has completed 70 of 137 passes for 865 yards with three touchdowns and four interceptions while Jaquez Johnson has hit 119 of 219 passes for 1,504 yards with nine touchdowns and five picks while adding 242 yards plus a score on the ground. Greg Howell has stepped in as the team’s leading rusher with 130 carries for 592 yards plus three scores; Jay Warren (66 carries, 299 yards, 2 TD) is the normal starter when he’s healthy while Marcus Clark (31 carries, 150 yards) has done his fair share when given an opportunity. Trey Rodriguez has been solid lately with 70 carries for 419 yards and a team high five scores. Jenson Stoshak is the team’s leading receiver with 52 grabs for 733 yards and two touchdowns; Kalib Woods (27 receptions, 330 yards, 3 TD), Taylor Cameron (20 receptions, 253 yards) and Kamrin Solomon (20 catches, 365 yards, 2 TD) are in the mix as well. Greg Joseph is 25 of 25 on extra points and 14 of 22 on field goals on the year with a long of 47 yards.
Old Dominion led 17-14 at the half and 31-21 in the third quarter against Southern Miss but things went sideways after that: the Monarchs were outscored 35-0 the rest of the way. The Monarchs were outgained 612-338, lost the first down battle 33-18 and dropped the time of possession battle 34:20 to 25:40 in the contest. Both teams turned the ball over twice in the contest; the Monarchs cashed in a fumble return for a touchdown in the first quarter but their defense couldn’t hold up in the second half.
The Monarchs are another struggling young FBS program as they are currently tied for 76th (213.4 yards) in passing offense and 81st (162.1 yards) in rushing on the year. Old Dominion is scoring 23.6 points per game, which is tied for 84th in the nation, while they stand 111th in the nation in scoring defense by allowing 36 points per contest. The passing game is anemic as Shuler Bentley has hit 116 of 227 passes for 1,145 yards with nine touchdowns and six picks. David Washington has hit on 94 of 161 passes for 1,155 yards with eight touchdown passes and three interceptions while adding 131 yards on the ground in his work. Ray Lawry is the feature back in the ground game with 190 carries for 1,128 yards and 11 touchdowns; the rest of the team has combined for 187 carries for 655 yards and four scores. Zach Pascal has grabbed a team leading 60 passes for 807 yards and five scores; Johnathan Duhart (41 grabs, 577 yards, 8 TD), Vincent Lowe (15 receptions, 117 yards), Marques Little (23 receptions, 221 yards, 2 TD), Jeremy Cox (17 receptions as a RB) and Lawry (18 grabs out of the backfield) are the only other players with double digit receptions. Three kickers have combined to hit 27 of 29 extra points and 11 of 16 field goal attempts on the year with a long of 45 yards.
Old Dominion is 4-1 ATS in their last five in November. Florida Atlantic is 1-5 ATS in their last six after an ATS win and 0-5 ATS in their last five against teams with a losing record.
The Monarchs need a win in order to become bowl eligible while Florida Atlantic is playing out the string of another disappointing campaign. The Owls put together a decent performance against Florida last week but still ended up losing. It’s hard to see them putting that on again in this one; look for the Monarchs to get the win playing at home, take the points here.