FAU lost their second straight game this year as they were outscored 21-0 in the first quarter of the game. FAU is now 0-2 and faces a must-win game for their bowl hopes as they welcome new American Athletic Conference member Tulsa Golden Hurricanes to for the home opener. Offensively FAU totaled 145 yards on the day.
Here are my notes from the press box…
Finding The Positives
Jay Warren busted onto the scene last year as a freshman in his career day vs Southern Mississippi as he rushed the ball 18 times for 105 yards. He has showcased his speed and versatility multiple times out of the backfield as a receiving threat with screen plays. This year Warren has been one of the few bright spots on the Owl offense so far this year.
Warren had 9 carries for 56 yards vs Alabama averaging six yards a carry. His longest gain went for 31 yards in which he trucked a potential tackler, displaying his toughness between the tackles. Against Nebraska and Alabama, Warren has averaged 5.8 yards per carry.
If Warren is able to put up these yards versus stronger competition, he should have continues success as the Owls edge closer to conference play. As long as he holds on to the ball - fumbled for the second consecutive game - he will lead the team in rushing yards for the season.
Greg Hankerson's Improvement
Coming into last season Greg Hankerson (pictured above) was the new hot shot that could potentially win a starting job that was up for grabs. When Jaquez Johnson got injured and forced Hankerson into action he appeared overwhelmed transitioning from high school to colege. The lasting impression Owl fans had of Hankerson last year was his lone start vs Rice, as two late interceptions in the fourth quarter ended up in a 18-14 loss.
Throughout spring and fall camp there was talk about Hankerson's improvement and how he was constantly pushing Johnson for the starting job.
In the first game against Nebraska Hankerson looked hesitant displaying happy feet in the pocket, throwing behind receivers and trying to play off of his athleticism. The same type of play that plagued his game last year.
In his second career start against Alabama Hankerson presented a lot more poise and trust in the system as he completed 63% of his passes against the second ranked team in the nation.
Not bad for someone who completed 47% of his passes in his first career start against Rice.
If Johnson is unable to play next week against Tulsa, look for Hankerson to show continued improvement.
Coming into the season many fans marked the games between Alabama and Nebraska as loses on the schedule. After two straight blowout loses, the fans were right.
However, excitement surrounding the football team has yet to temper.
That is unless they lose next week's home opener.
FAU's upcoming game versus Tulsa will be the turning point of the season and has the potential to springboard the Owls to ending their bowl drought. The players and the coaching staff may not admit it but this game is a must-win.
In the eyes of the fan base, losing to Alabama and Nebraska is understandable. A home opener loss to Tulsa would not be and thus would effectively end Partridge's honeymoon.
- The offense has compiled 217 yards of total offense with sophomore quarterback Greg Hankerson under center this year.
- Lucky Whitehead has 11 catches for 82 yards with one touchdown this season. Last season he had nine catches for 190 yards with two touchdowns.
- Since Nick Saban has been named the head coach of Alabama, they have recorded 14 shutouts.
- FAU punted the ball seven times with Dalton Schomp recording six punts in the game with one going for 60 yards, a career best. The sophomore averaged 46 yards per punt but failed to have a punt downed inside the 20. Junior Ryan Rickel recorded the other punt.
- This was the first time that FAU has had a football game called due to weather.