Air Force at Fla Atlantic
Time: 1 PM CT
Spread: FLAT -9
The Air Force Falcons ran through Stony Brook in Week 1, winning 38-0 to start its season off 1-0 before facing Florida Atlantic in Week 2. The Falcons enter the game as 9-point favorites over Florida Atlantic, and the betting total is 65.5 points according to NCAA football oddsmakers at bookmaker 5dimes.
Air Force had scarcely a problem with the Seawolves in Week 1. It limited Stony Brook to just 85 total yards while amassing 333 rushing yards of its own, which resulted in four easy TDs. The Falcons rushed 77 times with no one attempting more than 18 (Cole Fagan) and managed 4.3 yards per attempt. Joseph Saucier led the team in total yardage with 71 yards on 10 attempts, but it was Fagan, Arion Worthman, Isaiah Sanders and Donald Hammond III who scored the four touchdowns.
Saucier held the long-rush with a 31-yard carry, and five backs had rushes for 15-yards or more for the Falcons who simply were able to grind the football down the field at will with its bevy of backfield options. Worthman threw just eight passes in the game, completing two, for a mere 29 yards. This type of play, of course, typifies what the Falcons do season in and out, and it will probably be enough in Week 2 against another fairly weak opponent.
Last season, Air Force finished 5-7 overall with a 4-4 mark in the Mountain West. It began its season just 1-4 before reeling off three straight victories against UNLV, Nevada and Colorado State. Closing the season with a 38-35 win over Utah State was a nice highlight on a fairly mediocre campaign. Under Troy Calhoun, Air Force has missed only two of 11 Bowl appearances, but last year was one of those two. The other was a 2-10 season in which it stood little chance.
The offense is going to need better line protection than what it gave its rushers last year, and the QB protection, of course, was just as bad.
The OL only returns one starter at right guard, so this is a dicey proposition (betting on its improvement), with Griffin Landrum expected to provide both leadership and experience with a unit lacking in both.
Florida Atlantic lost badly in Week 1, though that was pretty expected. The Owls faced No. 7 Oklahoma and were blown out 63-14 in a game that will bring more money to the program than glory, obviously. Week 2 should be kinder to the Owls, though they are again underdogs for the second week straight. Last season, the Owls finished 11-3 with an undefeated 8-0 through the Conference USA schedule. So, if nothing else, that respect is making it tougher for Florida Atlantic to just “sneak up” on opponents this season.
The Owls are hoping to replace starting quarterback last season and thus far that gig is still up in the air. Week 1 saw Florida Atlantic use three QBs, with Chris Robison getting the majority of the action and throwing 15 of 26 for 157 yards. De’Andre Johnson was expected to be the starter in spring, but he was a mere 1 of 3 for 11 yards.
The C-USA MVP is still on the roster too, with running back Devin Singletary suiting up. He was the most successful Owl in Week 1 with 69 yards on 18 attempts (3.8 per carry) and a TD. Johnson saw some snaps in the backfield despite his lack of throws, finishing second in yardage with 39 yards on nine carries.
Johnson is the most talented overall of the quarterbacks, but it is hard to argue that his arm is anywhere near as good as Robisons. It may be for the best that the Owls diversify their offense and look to use Johnson more as a ball carrier and let Robison handle the pass plays. It remains to be seen, though.