A Quick Glance Ahead at FAU vs MSU
Howard Schnellenberger and Florida Atlantic come to town this week and I am here to tell you, despite getting blown out against Texas, that they are no joke. This will be a very tough game for MSU, especially since the Spartans are struggling with pass defense. If you are wondering why Miami (FL) is struggling just a hair the last few years, the old coach has been recruiting a lot of Miami and local kids with speed. This team can run.
Last week I said that MSU would have to run the ball effectively and stop the run and that was the case, this week they must stop the pass, and be able to pass themselves with balance if they want to win. This is a Quick strike FAU team that can turn around things in a hurry. Consider this, last week they beat UAB but the count of 49-34, but only had the ball for 17:11 the last three quarters, compared to UABâ€™s 28:36 time of possession in that same time frame. If MSU gives up big plays, it could be a frustrating afternoon.
QB Rusty Smith completed 21 of 34 for 325-yards for three touchdowns without a pick.
Favorite targets include Cortez Gent, who also threw a TD pass last week, and Lester Jean, who caught two TD passes against UAB. Charles Pierre is a solid running threat MSU will have to worry about.
Last year the Owls won the Sunbelt Conference and are favored again to take it all. They beat defending Co-Champ Middle Tennessee, then knocked off Minny two weeks later, leading 35-14 at half with almost 400 total yards at intermission. They trailed #6 rated USF just 28-23 late in the game before USF got some late garbage points for a 35-23 final margin. Then, although a 16-point underdog to Troy, pulled off the upset and won the conference title. They are not a team to toy with, or for the Spartans to get caught looking ahead to Notre Dame. If that happens, they can beat MSU.
If MSU can hold them to under 200-yards passing and stuff Pierre in the running game, that will be a good effort, provided none are for big plays or touchdowns. Oklahoma St and Florida last year bottled their running game for 28-yards, and 75-yards respectively and made them one-dimensional which MSU can also do. But can they stop FAU through the air once this happens like these other two schools? That will tell us everything. The three teams that had at least 300-yards passing against FAU last year won those games.
Keys: On offense, MSU will have to run effectively, but pass even better. On defense, stuff the run game, hold them under 200-yards passing, and donâ€™t give them anything easy. This will be a game where we see where Narduzziâ€™s pass defense is really at. So far the pass defense deficits have been camouflaged to a point, and this could be a game where they are exposed, although I expect MSU to win if Hoyer can connect with his receivers.
On offense, MSU will have to run effectively, but pass even better. On defense, stuff the run game, hold them under 200-yards passing, and donâ€™t give them anything easy. This will be a game where we see where Narduzziâ€™s pass defense is really at. So far the pass defense deficits have been camouflaged to a point, and this could be a game where they are exposed, although I expect MSU to win if Hoyer can connect with his receivers.Â