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Florida Atlantic (2-5) at (11) Auburn (6-1)



Saturday, October 26, 7:30 p.m. (et)

The Sports Network

By Nicholas DeLorenzo, Associate College Football Editor

GAME NOTES: After an upset victory last weekend gave them a huge boost in the latest national rankings, the 11th-ranked Auburn Tigers step out of conference to play host to the Florida Atlantic Owls on Saturday night.

FAU is playing its first season in Conference USA after coming over from the Sun Belt, and it has been a rocky transition. The Owls are 2-5 overall and have gone just 1-4 in league play. They most recently hosted Marshall on Oct. 12 and lost 24-23 on a last-second field goal.

The Owls also challenged themselves with a non-conference matchup with Miami- Florida on opening day, losing 34-6, and head coach Carl Pelini knows what his team has in store.

"(Auburn is) getting better every week," Pelini said. "Good offensive team, balanced. It's a big challenge. They are the best team we have faced this year."

Many expected Auburn to take a step forward in 2012 under a new regime after an embarrassing 3-9 record last season, but few could have predicted its return to prominence in the SEC so quickly. The Tigers made their debut in the polls last week at No. 24, and during last weekend's improbable run of upsets, they pulled off arguably the most impressive by taking down seventh-ranked Texas A&M on the road, 45-41. They are now ranked 11th in both the AP poll and the BCS standings.

"This is a statement game, and the statement we wanted to put across was that we're coming," Auburn running back Tre Mason said following the upset of A&M. "It's just getting better from here on out."

Head coach Gus Malzahn, on the other hand, has more tempered expectations for the rest of the season.

"We've not arrived yet," Malzahn said. "We'll look back at the end of the year and we'll figure everything out."

These two programs have met just once before, with Auburn winning in September of 2011, 30-14.

FAU has not found much success offensively this season, ranking in the bottom half of C-USA in both scoring (22.3 ppg) and yardage (376.9 ypg), while committing 15 turnovers.

Much of the blame for the Owls' poor season can be assigned to inconsistent play at the quarterback position. Jaquez Johnson has failed to impress, completing less than 61 percent of his passes for 1,060 yards with six touchdowns and five interceptions, while Greg Hankerson (.494 completions, 422 yards, three TDs, three INTs) has been even worse. Johnson has a decisive edge in terms of rushing with 346 yards and five scores.

Jonathan Wallace brings a steady, reliable presence to the backfield, turning 102 carries into 508 yards and three touchdowns.

Daniel McKinney (32 receptions, 338 yards) and William Dukes (25 receptions, 337 yards) are a solid receiving duo. Dukes is targeted most in the red zone, cashing in with four touchdowns.

The poor play of the offense has masked an impressive year defensively, as the Owls allow just 26.0 ppg and 360.4 ypg.

Adarius Glanton has team-highs in both total tackles (49) and TFL (6.5) while adding 2.0 sacks. D'Joun Smith is one of C-USA's best defensive backs with four interceptions, two forced fumbles and 13 passes defended. Brandin Bryant and Cory Henry have tallied four sacks apiece.

Auburn's offense has been nothing short of outstanding this season, scoring 35.9 ppg behind the nation's eighth-ranked rushing attack (300.1 ypg). The Tigers managed to keep pace with the high-octane Texas A&M offense a week ago by amassing 615 total yards.

After missing the previous game with a knee injury, quarterback Nick Marshall returned against the Aggies to pile up 336 total yards and four touchdowns, giving him 1,138 passing yards, 388 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns on the season.

"My knee felt good all week," Marshall said. "The trainers worked on it all week ... On the last drive we went out there and executed. We knew we were going to be the more conditioned team in the second half, and it showed."

The leader in the backfield is the junior Mason, who has 693 rushing yards, 107 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. He had his best game of the season in last week's upset with 178 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries. Cameron Artis-Payne (417 yards, four TDs) and Corey Grant (376 yards, three TDs) have played well in limited action.

Sammie Coates leads the receiving corps with just 18 catches, but many of those have gone for big plays as he sits with 423 yards and two touchdowns.

The Tigers defense took a bit of a hit in allowing 41 points to the Aggies last week, but they are still one of the most impressive units in the SEC (22.0 ppg, 428.1 ypg). They've been rock solid on third down, holding opponents to a 34 percent conversion rate.

Robenson Therezie has a team-high 33 tackles and also has three of the team's nine interceptions. Dee Ford, Carl Lawson, Gabe Wright and LaDarius Owens have created a strong pass-rush with a combined 23.0 TFL and 11.0 sacks. Ryan Smith has been active in the turnover battle with two picks and a forced fumble.

After stepping up to the challenge in recent weeks against top-notch competition, don't expect Auburn to lay down in this one, as the Tigers' rushers will have little problem finding holes to run through on their way to an easy win.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Auburn 45, Florida Atlantic 16

10/23 10:36:53 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
WAS
 
7:30pm Tonight
BOS
CHA
 
Final
CLE 110
GSW 99
Final
PHO 117
OKC 113
7:00pm Tonight
IND
CLE
 
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PHI
WAS
 
7:30pm Tonight
BOS
CHA
 
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TOR
GSW
 
7:30pm Tonight
DET
NYK
 
7:30pm Tonight
ATL
ORL
 
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
BRK
 
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
LAC
 
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NOP
MIA
 
8:00pm Tonight
CHI
MIN
 
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
UTA
 
10:00pm Tonight
SAC
SAN
 
10:30pm Tonight
LAL
MIL
 
10:30pm Tonight
POR
OKC
 
Final
KNST 53
NKENTUCKY 78
 
Final
CITA 74
ETST 73
 
Final
GWEBB 91
CSOU 81
 
Final
VMI 82
CHAT 86
 
Final
BRY 77
CCST 69
 
Final
PBY 80
CCAR 69
 
Final
DREX 44
DEL 58
 
Final
UNCA 71
HIGH 75
 
Final
TEMPL 66
HOU 54
Final
EKENT 63
JVST 57
 
Final
WRST 58
UWMIL 61
 
Final
MSU 90
MINN 96
Final
RFLSH 63
MNTER 60
 
Final
OSU 81
NEB 57
Final
MAST 67
NEOM 73
 
Final
ELON 72
NE 65
 
Final
LIB 80
RAD 69
 
Final
FD 85
SHU 90
 
Final
UNCG 81
SAMF 67
 
Final
LIU 69
Terriers 74
 
Final
TENN 65
VANDY 73
Final
RMU 91
WAGN 59
 
Final
FUR 53
WCU 49
 
Final
IUPUI 71
WILL 66
 
Final
CAMP 65
WINT 50
 
Final
MERC 72
WOFF 76
 
Final
APP 58
GSOUT 77
 
Final
UNT 81
CHAR 65
Final
MURST 65
EILL 57
 
Final
MARS 87
FIU 69
Final
WKENT 71
FATL 68
Final
ILLCH 67
UWGB 72
 
Final
ORU 74
NDST 58
 
Final
NDAK 75
NARZ 85
 
Final
RICE 54
ODU 63
Final
MON 60
RIDE 63
 
Final
PEAY 64
SIUE 61
 
Final
LATU 77
UTEP 60
Final
SMISS 70
TXSA 66
Final
TENST 52
TENNM 69
 
Final
CHIST 74
GRCN 70
 
Final
UMKC 69
WLVRN 50
 
Final
SALA 57
LAMON 75
 
Final
ARKST 81
TXARL 80
 
Final
ARKLR 92
UGST 83
 
Final
TXST 67
TROY 61
 
Final
COL 54
ARZ 82
Final
PURD 92
RUTG 85
Final
MEM 57
SMU 66
Final
NCOL 77
SUTAH 67
 
Final
MORE 86
TENT 73
 
Final
EWASH 92
MNTST 68
 
Final
PORT 69
BYU 82
 
Final
CSNO 82
CSFU 72
 
Final
IDAHO 92
MONT 87
 
Final
SCU 57
PAC 64
 
Final
UCSB 74
UCD 60
 
Final
CPSL 56
UCI 63
 
Final
UTAH 83
ARST 41
Final
STAN 75
ORST 48
Final
GONZ 59
SDU 39
Final
USF 53
GAELS 84
 
Final
HAW 78
LBSU 59
 
6:00pm Tonight
QUIN
SIENA
 
6:30pm Tonight
CORN
HARV
 
7:00pm Tonight
CAN
FAIR
 
7:00pm Tonight
IONA
MAN
 
7:00pm Tonight
BRO
PENN
 
7:00pm Tonight
YALE
PRIN
 
7:00pm Tonight
MAR
PETE
 
8:00pm Tonight
CLMB
DART
 
8:00pm Tonight
AKR
OHIO
 
10:00pm Tonight
CLST
VALPO
 
Final
NYR 4
ARI 3
Final
CLB 2
MON 5
Final
BUF 6
VAN 3
Final
FLA 0
CHI 3
Final
TOR 3
PHI 2
Final
WIN 1
STL 2
Final
NAS 2
MIN 4
Final
SJS 2
DET 3
Final
LOS 0
OTT 1
7:00pm Tonight
NJD
BOS
 
7:00pm Tonight
NYI
CAL
 
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
WAS
 
7:30pm Tonight
TAM
CHI
 
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
COL
 
10:00pm Tonight
ANA
LOS