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.


The Owls visit Davie

The college football season is a good five months away, but don’t tell that to the FAU football players. They’re ready to play right now.

Just three years into their existence and coming off a memorable 11-3 season that took them all the way to the Division I-AA National Semifinals, the Owls embark on their first season in Division I, where they will join the Sun Belt Conference beginning in 2004. To show their appreciation to the fans, the Owls traveled to all six FAU campuses on March 17.

Head Coach Howard Schnellenberger came to the Davie campus along with football players Nick Harper, B.J. Manley, Christian Amaya, Craig Roundtree, Brian Clancy, Quincy Skinner and Josh Pinnick to greet the students and autograph football memorabilia, including a poster showing a field-wide view of the FAU-Colgate Semifinal game.

Schnellenberger gave a roaring speech, setting the bar of expectations high for his football team by saying that they were ready to compete for a National Championship. “Anything less,” explained Schnellenberger in his speech, “would be cheating these guys [the players], cheating our coaches, and cheating all of you.”

Fans going to an FAU game at Lockhart Stadium likely didn’t feel cheated this past year, rather rewarded by the opportunity to watch their team roar through the regular season in a year highlighted by FAU’s first win over a Division I opponent.

According to Schnellenberger, it took FAU only 22 games to beat a Division I opponent, the fastest such occurrence for a non-Division I school in NCAA history. FAU pulled the feat off in the first game of the year by beating Middle Tennessee State 20-19 on a last-second 62-yard pass from Jared Allen to Roosevelt Byrnes to cap an improbable comeback.

Through his speech, Schnellenberger kept reminding the fans that “the dream lives on,” to quote the memorable Owl slogan. The hope is to get more campuses involved and to make them feel more a part of this dream.

If FAU manages to draw 15,000 fans to a game in the next two years, they will maintain their status as a Division I school, a fact not lost on Schnellenberger, who implored people to attend the games and support the team. FAU will open a new stadium in Boca Raton in 2005, so next year the games will be played in Lockhart Stadium down on Commercial Drive.

As the team continues to grow and accomplish new feats, the students and supporters of FAU football will grow in numbers. And tickets will still be free for students provided they show their Owl Card.

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