North Texas will take on Florida Atlantic in the Conference USA title game on Saturday in Boca Raton in a matchup featuring teams on a roll.
FAU has won eight straight, while UNT has rolled off five straight wins since falling to the Owls 69-31 earlier this season.
Chuck King of FAUOwlAccess joins us today to discuss the matchup. Chuck is the managing editor for the website, which covers the team. One can find his work on the web site or catch up with him on Twitter at @FAUOWLACCESS
Here is what Chuck had to say about tomorrow's game:
1. Is FAU really confident heading into this game after the way the first game played out?
I think they are appropriately confident. The Owls believe they will win, but it's not like they are walking around telling everyone this will be a piece of cake. Coach Lane Kiffin kind of set the tone for this week the Monday following FAU's 69-38 victory over North Texas in October, saying that everything went right for FAU and everything went wrong for North Texas.
FAU respects the accomplishments of North Texas, particularly the Mean Green's current five-game winning streak that began the week after the aforementioned loss. They also believe that winning streak will come to an end on Saturday.
2. Talk about Devin Singletary and what he has accomplished this year.
Singletary, nicknamed Motor, has been unbelievably fun to watch. He starts, he stops, he darts, he bounces, he's patient, he sprints — and then he's in the end zone.
I'm on the field shooting video during FAU games and often he simply emerges from a mess of humanity and races to the goal line. Because he's relatively small — listed at 5-foot-9 — he's easy to lose in a crowd.
I often don't know how he escaped situations until I see the televised 50-yard line angle of the run. Lane Kiffin said he's taken to watching Motor's runs on the video board because it's easier to keep track of what his running back does. Coming into this season Alfred Morris, who played four years at FAU and is now with the Dallas Cowboys, held FAU's career rushing touchdown record with 27. Singletary, a sophomore, has 26 this season alone.
3. How much has Jason Driskel improved?
Driskel is The Phoenix — every time he's counted out he rises from the ashes. The Owls' starter last year, Driskel began the season third on the depth chart, behind starter Daniel Parr and transfer De'Andre Johnson (now injured). He became the starter in the fourth game of the season — a loss to Buffalo. Since that game, FAU hasn't lost.
I'm not certain Driskel is all that much better a quarterback than he was last year. He can still be inaccurate at times and struggles with the deep ball — although he's been much better at that of late. He's a smart guy (engineering major) and I think Kendal Briles' offense truly suits him. The play calls do a good job of taking advantage of Driskel's stregnths.
What the Owls initially liked the most about him was that he manages the game well, getting the Owls out of bad plays and into good ones, then making the right reads once the ball is snapped. During the streak Driskel's displayed a knack for making the right play at the right time. How many quarterbacks have a game with four rushing TDs and another with four passing TDs this season?
4. How solid is FAU's defense?
As well as the Owls have done on offense, their turnaround may be even more spectacular on defense. FAU is tied for third nationally in interceptions with 18. Two of those came off the arm of North Texas quarterback Mason Fine in the first meeting of the year. The Owls are a bit undersized, and the rushing yards allowed per game stat is inflated by having played Navy and Wisconsin to open the season. They are, however, quite fast — arguably the fastest defense in C-USA. They rally to the ball, and when they get there the first thought is "take the ball."
5. How do you see this game playing out?
The score of the first game was an aberration, but the outcome likely wasn't. There's no doubt that North Texas is a good football team, but FAU is the better football team. I expect the Conference USA championship game to be entertaining, with FAU claiming the title by low double-digits.
FEATURED PHOTO: Florida Atlantic coach Lane Kiffin stands on the field during a game at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton earlier this year. (Jim Rassol/South Florida Sun-Sentinel)