Boca Raton Bowl 2017: Preview, prediction for FAU vs. Akron

(Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images) /

The Lane Train keeps rolling, as the C-USA champion Florida Atlantic Owls face the Akron Zips in the 2017 Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl. Here is our preview of the matchup.

Florida Atlantic began the year 1-3. Many went ahead and wrote Lane Kiffin and his team off, but this team responded. FAU won their final eight games of the regular season, then capped it off with a win over North Texas in the C-USA Championship.

The Owls became a strong team, not to mention their presence in the college football landscape was sealed by the twitter actions of Kiffin — which are hilarious by the way. He proved to be the shot in the arm FAU needed. He helped turned the program around into a conference champion in just one season. Not to mention that this is the Owls first bowl since 2013.

Akron finds itself back in the bowl season after missing 2016. The Zips had a decent year in the MAC at 7-6, including a trip to the conference championship. Akron lost that game to Toledo in a blowout, 45-28. Akron has a decent offense, but their defense has been the true trouble maker in 2017, which does not bode well for their chances against the offensive attack of Florida Atlantic. Nevertheless, the Zips will be looking to end 2017 on a high note with an upset over the Owls.

Here is how you can watch the 2017 Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl:

Date: Tuesday, Dec. 19
Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
Location: Boca Raton, Fla.
Venue: FAU Football Stadium
Live Stream: WatchESPN 

Keys to Victory

Since Akron comes into this game with a porous defense, Florida Atlantic can concentrate on bringing the offense. FAU averages almost 40 points per game. While Akron does allow a lot of yards, they tend to not allow over 24 points in a game. Regardless, FAU has a good passing attack behind Jason Driskel, and a great run game on the legs of Devin Singletary, who has almost 1,800 rushing yards on the season. The key to victory here for Lane Kiffin’s Owls is to bring the offense and don’t let up. They can easily outscore Akron.

Much like how I said offense is key for FAU, that also rings true for Akron. The Zips defense may very well show up and do well in this game but the entirety of the 2017 season says otherwise. Akron quarterback Kato Nelson replaced starter Thomas Woodson who went down with injury earlier in the season. Nelson has to be steady in making plays and limiting turnovers.

The ground game isn’t the best for Akron, so the passing game will be counted on. Wide Receiver Kwadarrius Smith is the true playmaker and he has to make plenty of plays in this game.

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While i’d like to think that we will see another good bowl matchup, this one just might be a blowout. Florida Atlantic is all but playing an official home game and they have too much offensive firepower for the Akron defense to stop. I think it’ll be close for the first quarter or so but then the Owls will open it up and never look back.

Final Score: Florida Atlantic 45, Akron 24