Fresh off their first-ever American Athletic Conference win (in a 10-7 victory over ECU), coach Biff Poggi and the Charlotte 49ers will now host Florida Atlantic in a Friday night showdown between two former Conference USA foes. The Owls are coming off a 36-10 home loss to UTSA after a pair of wins over Tulsa and South Florida.
While neither of the teams’ offenses have been able to get much done consistently in the first half of the season, the Niners have strengthened on defense comparatively as the 2023 campaign has progressed — Charlotte is allowing 345.1 yards per game as FAU allows 399 yards per game. Friday will mark the ninth meeting between the two schools but the first as newly-inducted AAC members.
Florida Atlantic at Charlotte
Friday, 7:30 p.m., ESPN2
Charlotte: 2-5 (1-2 AAC)
FAU: 3-4 (2-1 AAC)
The Owls lead series 6-2; they defeated the Niners 43-13 in Boca Raton, FL, last season.
Players to Watch
Charlotte quarterback Jalon Jones — It hasn’t always been pretty, but the Niners’ dual-threat QB has developed his rushing load over his past few performances to the point where he ran for 127 yards on 26 carries last week. If Jones can start finding more connections with open wide receivers and hone in his passing accuracy too, he will continue to be a player that every opponent defense will need to plan for.
FAU wide receiver LaJohntay Wester — With 636 receiving yards, the junior wideout is already closing in on his yardage totals from the past two seasons. The UTSA Roadrunners were able to hold Wester to just 14 yards so it’s possible that he is due for a bounce-back game against a Charlotte defense that has repeatedly allowed deep shots down the field in late-game situations.
Betonline.ag: FAU -4.0, over/under 43