Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Look out Owls, Panthers are prowling

With only one year in existence, the FAU Fighting Owls already have a team in their own backyard to hate.

The FIU Panthers began their inaugural football season on the same day that FAU was in Tampa facing Division I-A USF. The Owls and Panthers don’t meet until November 30, but what better time to start talking about this imminent rivalry than now?

Both teams have their first game under their belts. FIU played St. Peters, a team FAU played in their first season. 17,314 people packed into renovated (and on-campus) high school stadium with a capacity of 16,759.

(FAU had 25,632 fans for their inaugural game, but Pro Player stadium, which can seat 42,000, was still only half full. The crowd got lost in the massive size of the stadium.)

FIU stormed out to a 27-0 half-time lead, en-route to a 27-3 victory. The Panthers looked good in their first game –very good.

Last year, St. Peters grounded the Owls 19-0 in the seventh game of the season. FIU made St. Peters look like the first year team.

The Panther defense hounded St. Peters quarterback Andre Harris most of the night, recording one sack and two interceptions.

The Panthers’ offense picked apart last year’s I-AA top-ranked defense. St. Peters allowed 8.2 points and 157.7 yards per game last season. FIU had 27 points and 234 yards by halftime. FIU looked ready to take on the world, and I was actually scared to think that FAU has to play them in three months.

On the other coast, FAU was not having as much luck against USF in Raymond James Stadium. The Bulls trounced the Owls 51-10. FAU was supposed to lose this game, and they lost it big.

FAU was overmatched. USF was bigger, faster, and much more talented. But the Fighting Owls never gave up.If it were not for key mistakes at the absolute worst times, FAU could have made a game out it.

Down 10-0 in the second quarter, USF snapped the ball over their punter’s head, and FAU took over at the Bulls’ five. FAU was unable to shift the momentum, and the series ended fourth and goal on the 21 yard-line. The Owls had to settle for a field goal.

The biggest mismatch took place on special teams. The Owls’ strong point from a year ago looked slow, and players were often tackling air as USF return men raced across the field for 150 yards in punt returns and 86 in kickoff returns.

To be fair, Florida Atlantic’s season officially kicks off against Bethune-Cookman. Then we can get a more definitive idea of how good, or bad, the Owls really are. The atmosphere was even better for the Panthers first game.

FIU is 1-0 and FAU is 0-1. If these two teams played tomorrow, I would pick FIU to dominate. The Owls have eight more games with which to improve. The Panthers have nine more games to start playing like a first year team. But you can count on FAU being ready for this game.

All 42,000 seats in Pro Player will be filled in order to watch this new South Florida rivalry.

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