Life on the Road
Life on the Road
Enjoying life on the road
After suffering its first loss of the season in its home opener, FAU, which has won 10 straight road games, travels to FAMU.
BY BOB EMANUEL JR.
After defeating three Division I-A teams on the road to open the season, the notion of a perfect season was bandied around Florida Atlantic's Boca Raton campus.
The prognostications ended quickly, however, as the Owls suffered their first loss last weekend, a 17-13 home setback against Louisiana-Monroe.
''We're still disappointed by that loss,'' defensive end Teddy Strachan said.
FAU returns to the road 4 p.m. today at Florida A&M.
PRIDE ON THE LINE
''We have a whole lot to play for. It's pride,'' Strachan said.
The Owls still remain in contention for what coach Howard Schnellenberger calls the ''Mythical Sun Belt championship.'' FAU, in the transition from I-AA to I-A, will not officially join the conference until next year. Last week's conference loss hurt the Owls' chances. FAU must correct its mistakes from a week ago before resuming Sun Belt competition Nov. 13 against New Mexico State.
But first, the Owls cannot overlook FAMU. The Rattlers (3-5) employ a wide-open offensive attack, one dominated by three- and four-receiver sets.
''They have a quarterback [Ben Dougherty] very similar to the guy we just played against,'' said Schnellenberger, whose team is seeking its 11th consecutive victory on the road. ``He's a big, big guy. He's got such a strong arm, but he still hits those 6- or 7-yard passes over and over again, trying to lure you up to break the pass up.''
The scheme is not unusual to FAU. Several opponents used similar schemes this year, including Hawaii and then-Heisman Trophy candidate Timmy Chang in the season opener.
''It's nothing we haven't seen before,'' Strachan said. ``We've faced wide-open offenses all season. We're prepared for it already.''
FAU's offense also will see something it has seen in the past – a constant blitz. When teams tried earlier in the season, the Owls hit big plays to their receivers on the outside. Last week, however, FAU struggled against Louisiana-Monroe's attack. The Owls surrendered four sacks, and quarterback Jared Allen was intercepted three times.
''Usually, you can expect that if you have a hard time picking the blitz, teams are going to come back and blitz you,'' left tackle Kevin Fischer said.
FAU also had 11 penalties for 86 yards, with many of the miscues coming on offense.
''We're killing ourselves with all the penalties,'' Fischer said. ``We have to go 100 yards to score a touchdown, instead of 50, 60 or 80.''
Despite what looks to be a struggling FAU team, Rattlers coach Billy Joe is impressed.
''We would need to play an unbelievably great football game in order to beat them,'' Joe said.