The Lane Train looks to keep it rolling in the Boca Raton Bowl against the Akron Zips on Tuesday night. The FAU Owls don’t need to go very far, as they’re staying home for their bowl game. I see this working two different ways. Typically making it to a bowl game is a reward to spend a week someplace else. It’s unusual a team will be playing a home game in a bowl. On the other hand, Florida Atlantic doesn’t need to go anywhere, it’s a home game for them.
That certainly helps, but are FAU players going to be very excited to be playing at home? These are college kids after all, and they may have wanted to take in the bowl experience somewhere else. If anything, though, I am sure this will make them focus on football a little more. It’s a matter of time before Lane Kiffin takes on a bigger job. We’ll see what happens in the offseason, but at the moment, he’s having a good time at FAU.
Akron are 7-6 coming out of the MAC. Reaching a bowl was a nice accomplishment for the Zips. They made it to the MAC Championship thanks to a weak division and had the honor of being a punching bag for the Toledo Rockets. The Zips fell 45-28 so they at least managed to cover the spread. They won their final two games of the regular season to find a way in the championship game.
They upset Ohio and then put it on cruise control against the anemic Kent State Golden Flashes. Their two biggest losses of the year both came against Toledo, a 48-21 loss and 45-28 in the rematch. They were pasted by Penn State in the opener, 52-0, but that was to be expected.
The Zips are not getting much respect in this one. They enter as more than three touchdown underdogs. The only thing that could spring an upset is the fact that no one is giving them any respect. It could very well give them some motivation to come out and play hard against a good FAU team. The Owls enter at 10-3 on a nine-game winning streak. They’re playing some of the best football out of the lower-tier programs. The offense has been blazing a trail through opposing defenses. We’ll see if the Zips can offer any resistance. Head below for our free Akron vs. FAU pick in the Boca Raton Bowl.
Akron vs. FAU Betting Odds:
vs. FAU -23(-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Akron vs. FAU Pick:
The Akron Zips are led by quarterback Kato Nelson. Nelson took over for Thomas Woodson around the mid-way point and hasn’t looked back. Nelson is the far more explosive player and will have a firm hold on the starting job next season. This is only his first-year with playing experience, so it’s been impressive coming off the bench cold to get the offense moving.
He’s thrown for 8 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, along with 177 yards rushing and a touchdown on the ground. He was the MVP against Ohio, throwing for 4 touchdowns and no interceptions. And it was that moment that he was going to be the starter for the rest of the year. He tossed 2 touchdowns and no interceptions against the Rockets, showing off the unusual ability as an inexperienced player to avoid running into mistakes.
Nelson is going to have a tall order keeping up with the FAU offense. The Owls are ripping off massive yardage on the ground, with Devin Singletary running through everyone. Singletary ran for 1,794 yards in the regular season and a combined 30 touchdowns. He is one of the best running backs in the nation that most people have never heard of. The Owls rushed for a whopping 283.2 yards per game on the ground, 6th in the country. During their nine-game winning streak, the Owls averaged 45.4 points per game.
Akron are 100th in the country against the run. They are going to get mauled by the FAU running game. Expect quarterback, Jeff Driskel, the former Gator to get in on the fun as well. He’s thrown for 13 touchdowns and 4 interceptions, not having to do much with Singletary gashing defenses. FAU are going to put up big numbers. Akron’s only hope is to let Nelson let loose and open it up. I can see them doing something similar to what they did against Toledo, around 28 points on the board. FAU should be able to top 45 points, though. The spread could be tight. Don’t discount the possibility of a backdoor like they did against the Rockets. I think the safe play here is on the OVER.
PICK: OVER 65 (-110)