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UL-Monroe (2-4) at Florida Atlantic (5-0)

The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 23rd, 4:00 p.m. (et)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Lockhart Stadium (20,450) – Boca Raton, Florida. Television: None. Home Record: ULM 1-2, FAU 0-0. Away Record: ULM 1-2, FAU 5-0. Neutral Record: ULM 0-0, FAU 0-0. Conference Record: ULM 0-2, FAU 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.

GAME NOTES: The UL-Monroe Indians will step out of conference play and travel to Boca Raton to clash with the undefeated Florida Atlantic Owls at Lockhart Stadium this Saturday. After starting the season off with four straight losses the Indians have been able to tally two victories in a row, including last week's 28-20 win over Florida International. The team was able to overcome a 17-point deficit en route to the victory. This week's tilt against the Owls, along with next week's contest against North Texas, both take place away from Monroe, which should prove difficult for the Indians considering they are just 3-20 in their last 23 road games dating back to the 2001 season. As for the Owls, they continue to fly high, posting a perfect 5-0 mark which is even more impressive when you take into consideration that all five victories have come on the road, including last week's 39-24 victory over Northern Colorado. The team opened the season with wins at Hawaii (35-28), North Texas (20-13) and Middle Tennessee State (27-20). FAU's first home game of the season was cancelled due to severe weather conditions, so this will be the Owls' season- opener at Lockhart Stadium. Saturday's contest between the Owls and Indians is the first-ever between the two.

The Indians have had more than their share of struggles on offense this season, and they are averaging a meager 15.8 ppg as a result. The team has managed 131.6 rushing ypg and 193.8 passing ypg. In the 28-20 victory over Florida International last week, ULM's offense had one of its best performances of the season, racking up just 392 total yards. The team was only able to gain 89 rushing yards on 36 carries. However, the Indians were able to pick the Golden Panthers apart through the air, collecting 303 passing yards in the contest. Signal caller Steven Jyles was practically the entire offense for the Indians, rushing for 45 yards and a score on 13 carries and throwing for the aforementioned 303 yards and two scores. It was Jyles' best performance of the season and for his efforts he was awarded the Sun Belt's Offensive Player of the Week award. Despite his fine performance, Jyles has struggled a bit under center this season, as he is completing 54.3 percent of his tosses with six touchdowns against five interceptions. Due to Jyles' efforts, Drouzo Quillen had a huge a game, grabbing three passes for 104 yards and one touchdown. Quillen leads the team with 19 receptions for 384 yards and four scores on the year.

Although the defense has been horrendous the entire season, the Indians came to play last week against Florida International, holding the Golden Panthers to just 258 total yards in the victory. The Indians allowed a mere 41 rushing yards on 22 carries in the contest, marking their best effort against the rush by far this season,especially when you consider they give up an average of 180.2 rushing ypg. Due to their inability to run the ball, the Golden Panthers only converted 4-of-15 third-down attempts. Despite playing a tenacious game on the defensive side of the ball, the Indians continue to give up points, allowing opponents an average 28.8 ppg. Johnathan Winchester had an extremely impressive game last week, collecting a game-high 11 tackles, five TFLs, one interception and a half a sack. So far this season, Winchester has been the most consistent player for the Indians on defense, totaling 62 tackles and 12 TFLs.

The FAU offense has been an incredible surprise thus far in 2004, averaging 28.2 points and an outstanding 422.6 yards per game. Last week against Northern Colorado, the team totaled 458 yards, which included 307 yards through the air. The Owls had no trouble making big plays, as the team converted 9-of-17 third-down attempts while also scoring on all four red-zone appearances. Jared Allen had another effective game under center, completing 16-of-26 passes for 255 yards and one score. On the season, Allen has been extremely accurate, completing 63 percent of his passes, while throwing six touchdowns compared to only three INT's. The main reason for the play of Allen has been the abilities of his tight end Anthony Crissinger-Hill and wide out Roosevelt Bynes. Last week Crissinger-Hill caught seven balls for 95 yards, while Bynes tallied four receptions for 116 yards and one score. Crissinger- Hill currently leads the team with 33 receptions for 479 yards and three touchdowns. Along with the FAU's passing attack the team also has a strong ground game thanks to RB Doug Parker. Against Northern Colorado, Parker rushed for 82 yards and one score on just 14 attempts. All season Parker has been the main man out of the backfield, racking up 458 yards and four scores.

Defensively, the Owls have been extremely tough against the opposition's rushing attack, holding teams to just 99.2 yards per game. Last week, the Owls limited Northern Colorado to just 33 yards on 38 rushing attempts, which would explain why the Bears only converted 4-of-15 third-down attempts on the day. Overall, FAU's defensive unit allowed 331 total yards in the victory, including 298 yards trough the air. And although the unit allowed UNC to pass for close to 300 yards, the Owls did record four sacks along with one interception. Shomari Earls had an outstanding performance in the victory, collecting 14 tackles, 1.5 TFLs and a half a sack, while Tyrone Higgins contributed seven stops, 1.5 TFLs and one sack. On the season, Earls leads the club with 39 tackles, eight TFLs and three sacks.

Although UL-Monroe has won two straight contests, including one on the road, it must now prove it can win again away from Monroe, and considering the team has struggled mightily in enemy territory in recent years, do not expect the Indians to make it three straight, especially since this will be the first game for the Owls in their home stadium.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Florida Atlantic 34, UL-Monroe 25

10/20 11:43:05 ET

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Thats still to close for comfort.... :-X
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