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.


Lack of attack

If the strength of the FAU football team is its offense, then it is no surprise as to why the team is 0-4.

The Owls offense played a large role in the team’s most recent loss, a 30-28 defeat on Saturday, Oct. 3, at Lockhart Stadium, to the Wyoming Cowboys in what is quickly turning into an abysmal season.
“I didn’t expect this [0-4 start] to happen,” said quarterback Rusty Smith. “We’ve got to score more points.”

Smith was the focal point of the offensive troubles, and he has been all season long, looking like a shell of his former self. Smith, who went 17-28 for 235 yards and a touchdown, did not have a bad day, but those are not the type of numbers FAU fans have come to expect from the fifth-year senior.

Smith probably knows it, too, and that might explain his post-game press conference. The lanky quarterback wore a blank expression in front of reporters after the game and answered just five questions before saying, “That’s enough.”

Still, on most days, 28 points would suffice. But seven of those came because of a Tavious Polo interception that was returned 16 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter, further magnifying the Owls’ offensive dilemmas.

Yes, that’s correct; FAU’s highly coveted offense mustered only three touchdowns against a team that, entering Saturday’s game, was ranked 106th in the nation in total defense (out of 120 teams).
“It was a very difficult game to sit on the sidelines and watch because there was so much ineptitude on our football team, particularly on defense,” said Head Coach Howard Schnellenberger.

The defense does carry some blame for the loss, but in no way should Schnellenberger be pointing the finger in their direction. The defensive unit is a relatively young and inexperienced group, and their inconsistencies and growing pains are to be expected. And despite that, the defense still managed to force two turnovers and record three sacks versus the Cowboys.

The offense, on the other hand, entered the season as a potent and experienced group ready to take the Sun Belt Conference by storm. They have yet to look explosive, and have not hit a play of 40 yards or more.

Not even the return of top wide receiver Cortez Gent, who was suspended two games for misconduct, was enough to help the Owls find a big play.
“It’s very frustrating,” said Gent, who broke the Owls’ all-time receiving record with a catch in the first quarter. “I guess we’ve got to go back to the drawing board. We definitely should of came away with this win today.”

The offense needs more than just the drawing board; they need discipline. Trailing in the fourth quarter and needing only a field goal to take the lead, the Owls made the exact mistakes that cost them last week’s conference bout versus ULM: They committed two drive-killing penalties on their final possession.

Those déjà vu-like penalties, a nine-yard holding call and a false start, pushed FAU back and contributed to leaving the team winless through a third of the season.
“I’m not going to cuss my team, I’m not going to cut my throat; I’m not going to do anything but go back to the practice field and practice,” said Schnellenberger. “And [like last season], we will get better, and we’ll be better again at the end of the year than the beginning of the year.”

Last season, however, the Owls had the luxury of a relatively easy second-half schedule. This year, the Owls cannot exactly brim with confidence when looking at their remaining eight opponents, opponents which include Troy and Middle Tennessee.

The only way for FAU to salvage this season and end those games with a winning record is for Smith and the offense to start clicking and finally play up to their full potential.

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