Georgia vs. FAU Preview
The Florida Atlantic Owls are a real hoot. And frankly, I can’t figure them out. After battling Wagner for a 7-3 victory the Owls were then routed by Middle Tennessee by a score of 31-17. Now, these tidbits aren’t that confounding in and of themselves, but when I look at the numbers things start to get weird.
FAU is averaging only 12 points per game, but the Owls seem – at least in these two games – to have a pretty good quarterback. Graham Wilbert, a 6-foot-6, 225 pound senior lines up under center for the owls and he’s putting up a QB rating in excess of 170. Wilbert opened the season not only with a pig’s last name but also with a 10/13 passing performance yielding 126 yards, a TD and no interceptions – as a backup! Why didn’t they toss the ball more if he was connecting on 77% of his attempts and why was another clown starting? The man was hot; let him throw it! The Graham Cracker followed the game with a start in the form of a 25/32 for 260 yards, 2 TDs and 0 INT performance against MTSU. Those numbers are pretty daggum good.
Graham Wilbert is fourth in the nation in completion percentage, 25th in yards per attempt and 14th in QB rating. Thirteen players in the nation can make that claim and he is one of them. To take it a step further Wilbert is one of six players to be in the top 25 in completion percentage, yards per attempt and QB rating without throwing a single interception.
So, the obvious question becomes: Why don’t the Owls throw the football more often? The short answer is: I’m not sure, but they should get on it. The longer answer is: they seem committed to the run. The owls are 45th in the nation in rushing attempts despite only yielding the nation’s 89th best running yardage total. That’s not a good return on effort. It’s math.
Maybe Graham Wilbert is just on a hot streak. Or, maybe he’s the next small school-to-NFL surprise. He’s got the frame for it, and if you’re completing almost 80% of your passes I’m impressed regardless of your competition. But…I’ve never seen him throw a single ball. Bottom line is this: Georgia needs to come to play or he could pick them apart like Kellen Moore (with smaller teeth and longer legs) with accurate, intentional, long drives. And I don’t want the Owls hanging around.
(FYI: My favorite statistical anomaly related to Graham Wilbert is his 2010 season stats. He completed only one of his five passes. But it was for 41 yards! And it wasn’t a TD!!)
Defensively I don’t see much that should slow Aaron Murray down. FAU has recorded only two sacks this season, and even Georgia’s raw offensive line should assert its dominance. I’d like to see a mistake-free game from Murray with three touchdowns. I’d really like to see Todd Gurley let loose. Gurley is fifth in the nation among runners with 15 or more carries with an average of 9.2 yards per attempt. But, he only has 18 touches. I’d like to see him get 20 this week.
I’m not even going to delve into a score prediction her because frankly I’m hoping the game tightens up as backups flood the field in the second half.
That’s all I got/