COLLEGE FOOTBALL LOOK AHEAD

FAU to try to turn tables on No. 18 UCF

Field Level Media

September 04, 2019 at 1:21 am.

Florida Atlantic’s difficult start continues, as the Owls play host to No. 18 UCF on Saturday after absorbing a 45-21 loss at No. 5 Ohio State in their opener.

FAU coach Lane Kiffin remembers having a conversation last year with Knights coach Josh Heupel.

“I was like, ‘Wow, you guys look like an SEC team,'” Kiffin said he told Heupel.

“(UCF) scores a million points. They can get on top of you real fast. You can be hanging with them and then, all of a sudden, you’re behind two or three scores.”

UCF won this matchup 56-36 last season in Orlando, with the venue switching to Boca Raton this season.

The Knights opened 2019 with a 62-0 whipping of Florida A&M on Saturday. Three UCF quarterbacks combined to complete 23 of 38 passes for 356 yards and six touchdowns with no interceptions.

“All three of our quarterbacks did a ton of positive things,” Heupel said.

The starter was Brandon Wimbush, the former Notre Dame quarterback who won the job, replacing injured McKenzie Milton, who is out for the year.

Wimbush, who was 13-2 as a starter at Notre Dame, completed 12 of 23 passes for 168 yards and two touchdowns, both to wide receiver Gabriel Davis.

Adrian Killins led the UCF ground game with 106 yards and one touchdown on 14 carries as the Knights scored at least 30 points for the 27th consecutive game, the longest such streak for an FBS team since 1936.

It will be a tough task for the Owls to stop a UCF team that is 26-1 since the start of the 2017 season.

On Saturday, FAU fell behind 28-0 in the first quarter to Ohio State before making the score at least appear respectable.

Redshirt sophomore Chris Robison, in his second year as FAU’s starting quarterback, completed 22 of 34 passes for 178 yards and one touchdown against the Buckeyes. He did not turn the ball over, which is big for him after ranking last in Conference USA last year with 12 interceptions.

“Physically, Chris played well,” Kiffin said.

“He was very accurate. He suffered three drops in those first three drives that could’ve been first downs. Mentally, he could’ve done some things better. But — in that environment and against those players — he threw the ball well.”

Robison, a former four-star recruit from Texas, already has had his share of collegiate turmoil. He enrolled at the University of Oklahoma in January 2017 before being dismissed from the team in August of that year and landing at FAU. Then, after making the C-USA All-Freshman team with his up-and-down 12-TD, 12-pick season, he was suspended by the Owls this spring

In fall camp, however, he beat out Indiana transfer Nick Tronti and former Kent State passer Justin Agner for the starting job. Now, he hopes to do to UCF what he did to Air Force last year, when he set the Owls’ single-game record with 471 passing yards.

Robison, though, will be without running back BJ Emmons, an Alabama transfer who broke his foot after just one carry for one yard against Ohio State. Prior to that, he hadn’t played in an FBS game since 2016, when he rushed for 173 yards for the Crimson Tide.

“It’s very discouraging,” Kiffin said of the Emmons injury. “He had battled for so long to get back to this level. … I feel really bad for him.”