Earlier this week, I joined the FAU Owl’s Nest podcast to preview the FAU at Clemson game. They returned the favor by sharing about their Owls in this Q&A. Check out the answers below from JJ Metz to get some inside perspective prior to the Tigers 8:00pm kickoff on ACCN.
Ryan Kantor: Clemson just faced Charleston Southern, an FCS team that went 2-8 last year. With FAU coming to town the competition stiffens somewhat. FAU went 5-7 last year as a Conference USA team and now upgrades to the American Athletic Conference. As Clemson fans watch this game and try to take stock of how well Clemson is playing, how highly should they think of this iteration of the FAU Owls? How dangerous is this squad?
JJ Metz: Clemson should definitely not underestimate this FAU squad. Yes... as you mentioned FAU went 5-7 last year, but the team has significantly improved. FAU has a new Head Coach, Tom Herman, who has significant experience and has won at a high level with the Houston Cougars in the past. He has brought more energy to the football program. FAU has also upgraded its QB play from last year and the defense is improved as well. This is FAU’s biggest game of the season and its possible they could catch Clemson sleeping or looking ahead to the FSU game next week.
Ryan: FAU was held to just 185 yards and 10 points against Ohio. While they may not be world beaters offensively, who is one player to keep an eye on that could present challenges for the Tigers’ defense?
JJ: Look out for FAU WR #1 LaJohntay Wester. WR Je’quan Burton was injured in the Ohio game, and I expect Wester to see a lot of targets. Wester is a 5’11 speedy athletic recever, who also returns punts. In two games this season Wester has 18 Receptions, 156 yards, and 1 TD.
Ryan: Clemson’s offense has been error prone, but also only had two three-and-outs through two games. This is a big opportunity for them to put it all together before facing Florida State next week. What’s one defensive position group that can stress the Tigers and will provide a matchup to keep an eye on?
JJ: The strength of the FAU defense is the linebacker position. Led by Eddie Williams, Jackson Ambush, and Desmond Tisdol, the LB group has come up with numerous big stops and a couple of interceptions. This LB group is one of the best in the AAC.
Ryan: The spread in this game is just 24 points with an over/under of 52.5 points. That implies a score of 38-14. How does that initially strike you? What kind of result would you say is impressive enough to start believing Clemson can beat Florida State? Is there a realistic shot of FAU pulling off an upset win in Death Valley?
JJ: The spread is about right in my opinion. Both teams haven’t played up to their potential yet, so its hard to handicap this game. I think FAU can be competitive and if Clemson is looking ahead to the FSU game and doesn’t show up prepared, then an upset while unlikely is possible. If Clemson can go the entire game with less than three punts, I will jump on the Tiger bandwagon and believe they can beat FSU.