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.


Banged up Owls have questions to answer before toughest part of season

When the season started, the FAU Owls could not play offense. Now they are unable to play defense.

After starting the season 0-4, Florida Atlantic used their bye week to work on their anemic running game. The Owls were 124th in the nation in rushing with a 19-yards per game average. Inexperience and academic problems have hampered this year’s running game.

The week off helped more than anyone could have imagined.

The Owls ran for a season high of 128 yards last Saturday against Nicholls St. This is astounding, especially since they had managed only 79 yards in their first four games.

“The offensive line just did what they had to do, and the receivers blocked and the running backs hit the holes,” tailback Anthony Jackson told the Sun-Sentinel.

Quarterback Jared Allen, playing his second complete game of the season, said that the running game really helped him. With an effective running game, Allen used the play-action pass to freeze the opposing linebackers. He finished with 227 yards passing.

Unfortunately, this newfound offense had no support on the other side of the ball.

Florida Atlantic’s defense, which had held opposing offenses in check and kept FAU competitive in all of their previous games this season, fell apart Saturday.

The defense went into the game knowing that Nicholls St. could run the ball.

The Colonels have been able to do this all season, averaging 252 yards rushing and 67 yards passing through their first four games.

Against the Owls, their game plan changed.

FAU held Nicholls to 224 rushing yards, which was the good part, but FAU’s secondary, arguably the strongest aspect of this team, allowed Nicholls’ quarterbacks to throw for 149 yards and two touchdowns.

On the third play of the game, Josh Son hit a wide-open receiver for a 46-yard touchdown pass. Ten minutes later, on Nicholls’ very next pass attempt, Yale Vannoy hit another open receiver for a 36-yard touchdown.

They were two touchdowns in two pass attempts from a team that had only thrown one touchdown pass in its previous 5 games.

“If you read pass, play pass,” Taurian Osborne said, following the game. “If that’s your man, cover your man. That’s where we failed tonight.”

Nicholls State coach Daryl Daye said, “Basically we took what they gave us. They crowded the line of scrimmage, and we were able to expose that.”

This last outing was very disappointing because the secondary should play better than they did. Osbourne and teammate Mauratae Johnson had been superb throughout the year, but they let their team down.

But one could even argue that the coaching staff concentrated too much on stopping the run. Either way, there’s heat on the Owls to perform and win.

We have been waiting all season for the offense to step up and play like they should. Now that they have, the defensive game has become a question mark.

The Owls will soon hit the road to face Troy St. and Connecticut, two division I-A programs. If they hope to win either of these games, which would be a difficult task, even if they play their best football given their short history, those questions on both sides of the ball still need to be answered.

The offense must maintain their rhythm from the Nicholls State game, and the defense must leave that game behind them.

FAU should have better second halves the rest of the season, but everything needs to be working together.

Coach Schnellenberger admits that there’s room for improvement, saying “Of course, there is plenty and plenty to correct.”

Tell us about it.

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