The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 14th, 4:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Lockhart Stadium (20,500) -- Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Television: None. Home Record: Arkansas State 2-2, FAU 0-3. Away Record: Arkansas State 0-4, FAU 2-3. Neutral Record: Arkansas State 0-0, FAU 0-0. Conference Record: Arkansas State 1-3, FAU 2-2. Series Record: Series tied, 2-2.
GAME NOTES: Sun Belt Conference action will take place Saturday afternoon when the Florida Atlantic Owls host the Arkansas State Red Wolves at Lockhart Stadium.
It has been a rough year for the Red Wolves, who have lost six of their eight matchups and head into this contest with a two-game skid. The last time ASU was on the field the team suffered a tough, 21-18 loss to UL-Lafayette. The loss to the Ragin' Cajuns left the Red Wolves with a 1-3 mark in league play. Away from home this season Arkansas State is winless in four tries, and since the start of the start of the 2007 campaign the Red Wolves are 2-15 as the visitor.
As for the Owls, they also come into this matchup with a two-game losing skid. The last time FAU was on the field the team suffered a rough, 56-29 loss to UAB. Surprisingly the Owls have played better away from home and are currently winless in three tries at Lockhart Stadium.
The all-time series between Arkansas State and FAU is currently knotted at two games apiece. The home team has won each matchup and that includes last season when the Red Wolves defeated the Owls, 28-14, in Jonesboro.
The lack of success for Arkansas State is due to inconsistency on offense, with the team averaging a pedestrian 23.2 ppg. The team is averaging a modest 331.4 ppg, and the majority of success has come from the ground game, which is rumbling for 132.2 ypg. Arkansas State has scored 15 of its 22 touchdowns on the ground this year and is being led by Reggie Arnold who has rushed for 492 yards and 10 of those scores. Unfortunately the passing attack has struggled for most of the year, as Corey Leonard has completed just 54.1 percent of his passes for 1,387 yards and seven touchdowns against six interceptions. ASU's problems offensively continued in their recent loss to UL-Lafayette, as the team totaled just 239 yards, including just 57 rushing yards on 28 totes. Arnold was bottled up for just 38 yards, but the tailback still managed to score twice. However, Leonard did not have any success in the loss, throwing for just 35 yards on 3-of-10 passing. Ryan Aplin also saw time under center in the contest, and although he tossed an interception, he was able to finish with 147 yards on 8-of-14 passing.
Although the Red Wolves are 2-6 on the season the defense has still played at a high level for most of the year, holding teams to just 20.0 ppg. Arkansas State has done well against the run, limiting the opposition to just 112.9 ypg on a mere 3.4 yards per attempt. However, the unit has endured some problems stopping the pass, as teams are averaging 233.5 ypg through the air. Forcing game changing plays has also been an issue, as the defense has collected just 13 takeaways , and only 12 sacks. In the loss to ULL, the Red Wolves were not at their best and even had trouble stopping the run. ASU allowed 376 total yards in the setback, and that includes 147 rushing yards and three touchdowns on the ground. The Red Wolves were unable to stop ULL when it mattered most, as the Cajuns converted 10-of-16 third down attempts and 3-of-4 red zone chances.
It is somewhat shocking that the Owls are 2-6 on the year considering the offense has played at such a high level. Florida Atlantic is producing 451.0 total ypg, and that has led to a healthy 27.0 ppg, but despite the success the team has been unable to earn many wins. FAU is rushing for a solid 148.2 ypg on the ground, but the true success of this unit is the passing attack. However, the loss of Rusty Smith for the season could hurt the Owls in that area. Smith, who has thrown for 1,915 yards and 14 touchdowns, was replaced by Jeff VanCamp in the team's recent matchup with UAB. Although the Owls were pounded by the Blazers, VanCamp still put forth a surprising effort, throwing for 254 yards and three touchdowns. Alfred Morris, who is leading the ground attack with 858 rushing yards and six touchdowns on the year, rushed for 60 yards on just 12 carries in the setback.
The FAU offense has done its part on the season for FAU, but unfortunately the defense has been a let-down, as the unit is being embarrassed for 37.0 ppg on 453.8 total ypg. FAU is allowing 215.9 ypg through the air, but the main problem has been its lack of success against the run, as opponents are churning out 237.9 rushing ypg and out of the 39 touchdowns permitted by this unit, 29 have come via the run. Eight games into the season and the Owls have collected just 10 takeaways, and even worse, the team has recorded only eight sacks. In the loss to UAB, the Owls could do nothing to stop the Blazers' offensive onslaught and by the final whistle FAU was tortured for 622 total yards and 56 points. The defense allowed four passing and four rushing touchdowns in the contest, but once again the team's inability to stop the run was evident, as UAB gashed FAU for 330 yards on a whopping 9.4 yards per attempt.
The Owls are going to give up points against any team. However, this weekend Florida Atlantic should score enough to overcome the shortcomings of its defense.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Florida Atlantic 38, Arkansas State 28