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Air Force Football vs. FAU Preview: Falcons look to top Kiffin and the Owls

Air Force is hoping to improve to 2-0, while Lane Kiffin and his FAU Owls are hoping to bounce back from a bad loss against Oklahoma.

NCAA Football: Stony Brook at Air Force Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Lane Kiffin’s Florida Atlantic Owls were the recipients of a proper tail-kicking last week, falling 63-14 to Oklahoma.

The Owls are back home in Boca Raton and Air Force is set to visit. Troy Calhoun’s side is coming off dishing out a whupping of its own, shutting out Stony Brook 38-0.

Week Two should be much different than Week One for both of these teams. Instead of a lopsided blowout, this could be a fun and tight game down in Florida.

The Basics

Kickoff: 2 p.m. (EST) on Saturday, Sept. 8.

Watch: It’s 2018, so you won’t be able to watch this game on cable. You’ll head to Facebook, where the game is being shown on the Conference USA page (click here for that link). The game is being produced by CBS Sports and will have Rich Waltz on play-by-play duty, Aaron Murray providing color and Amanda Balions reporting from the sidelines.

Where: Howard Schnellenberger Field at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton, Florida.

Rankings: Neither Air Force or FAU are receiving votes in the AP or Coaches poll. In Bill Connelly’s S&P+ rankings, Air Force is 77th and FAU is 84th (for an explainer on S&P+, click here). The Owls fell 57 spots from Week One, while the Falcons moved up 34 spots.

Spread: Most books have FAU favored by seven to 10 points. Connelly likes Air Force to cover 9.5 points and win.

Last Meeting

Air Force and FAU have never met on a football field before. This game will mark the first time since 1968 that the Falcons have played in the Sunshine State. On that day, Sept. 21, 1968, they lost 23-20 to No. 16 Florida.

Air Force is 6-3 all-time against CUSA teams while FAU has never beaten a Service Academy team. The Owls opened at home with Navy last year, and, after a long lightning delay, lost 42-19. Zach Abey totaled 345 yards of total offense and three touchdowns for the Midshipmen.

This may be the first meeting between the Owls and the Falcons, but it won’t be the last. FAU will travel to Colorado Springs on Sept. 11, 2021.

X-Factors

Devin Singletary: Earlier this week, Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun compared Singletary, FAU’s tailback, to NFL hall of fame running back Marshall Faulk. His nickname is “Motor” and he scored 32 touchdowns last year while rushing for 1,920 yards. He’s being hyped up as a Heisman Trophy candidate and a potential high pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. Singletary tallied 82 yards of total offense last week and will looking to bust loose against the Falcons. Generally, FAU’s offense will be built around Singletary.

Air Force Defense: Air Force shut out Stony Brook last week and allowed the Seawolves to rush for just 30 yards. But the Falcons will have their hands a bit more full this week with Kiffin’s high-powered offense, led by Singletary and quarterback Chris Robison. The triple option allows Air Force to control the time of possession, but the Falcons offense will be better off if its defense can do it some favors. Since 2014, Air Force is 16-1 when getting at least two takeaways. A fumble recovery here and an interception there could go a long way for Air Force.

They Said It

FAU head coach Lane Kiffin, via The Palm Beach Post: “It doesn’t make your team better (facing the triple option). It makes you take a whole week to prepare for something you’ll never see again the rest of the year. And we don’t get paid for it, so it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.”

Air Force defensive backs coach John Redzinski, via The Colorado Springs Gazette: “(FAU quarterback Chris Robison has) a lot of traits as a thrower and a runner where you’d say he’s a Johnny Manziel-type of quarterback. He’s a young guy and obviously the staff thinks highly enough of him as a freshman for him to be their guy, because they’ve got other quarterbacks in that system who are very talented as well.”

The Threads

Prediction

Hypothetically speaking, in the wilderness, a falcon would beat an owl in a fight, right? Air Force wins 36-33.