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FAU article on North Texas

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FAU article on North Texas

Owls wondering which North Texas team they'll face on Saturday

By Ted Hutton
Staff Writer
Posted September 9 2004

BOCA RATON ? Before the season, Florida Atlantic figured Saturday's game at North Texas would be the toughest of the season.

But then the Mean Green opened their season by being humiliated at Texas 65-0, a drubbing that has left FAU wondering what it will face when it travels to Denton.
"If the result of that game had been anything else, there wouldn't be such a dilemma as to what to expect," FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger said. "Up until the Texas game you would expect them to be the best team we have played in our four years of competition, and that still has to be the position we take."

North Texas has won the Sun Belt Conference championship the last three seasons and was a preseason pick to win its fourth.

"We played against an outstanding team that was at the top of their game, and we weren't," North Texas coach Darrell Dickey said about the loss. "They took it to us pretty good. We have to improve a lot in a short period of time."

While FAU is unsure of what to expect, Dickey said his team is ready for FAU, which upset Hawaii to start the season.

"It wasn't a fluke," Dickey said about FAU's win. "They ran the ball on them and threw the ball on them. We're going to have our hands full."

FAU has to adjust its defense in a hurry, since they go from facing pass-happy Hawaii to run-first North Texas.

The Mean Green uses running back Patrick Cobbs to establish the run. Cobbs, a 5-foot-9, 198-pound senior, led the nation with 152.7 yards per game last season, but had minus-1 yard on eight carries against the Longhorns.

"Cobbs was frustrated the other night," Dickey said. "He's not 100 percent and didn't get a lot of help, so when it got out of hand we decided to try some new players and get them experience."

Cobbs is playing with a cast on his right hand after hurting his thumb late in the preseason.

The Mean Green has led the conference in total defense in all three of its championship seasons while winning 18 straight conference games.

Transition year

With FAU in the first year of its two-year transition to Division I from I-AA, the Owls are in statistical limbo.

FAU is listed at the bottom of the I-A teams, in a special category of transition teams, and will be joined by Florida International when they play their first game.

FAU and FIU are the only teams moving up this year.

Based on the first game, FAU's 445 yards of total offense would put the Owls at No. 32 of the 96 I-A teams that have played a game, behind UCLA. The Owls would be No. 44 in total defense, behind Texas Tech.

North Texas is No. 95 in total offense and total defense, having gained 130 yards and given up 673 in the 65-0 loss to Texas.

Hawaii tumbles

FAU's upset win over Hawaii has landed the Warriors in ESPN's "Bottom 10" ranking of the worst teams.

Hawaii is No. 5 after ESPN said it failed "to win a home opener against a probationary Division I member whose team didn't even exist five years ago, that traveled 4,848 miles for the game."

"Stuff like that actually makes us play better," said FAU tight end Anthony Crissinger-Hill.

"That's what we play for, is to prove to the whole country we're legit."

Copyright ? 2004, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
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