Floundering away

Punter Mickey Groody lets loose one of his nine punts on the day. Photo by Ralph Notaro.

Punter Mickey Groody lets loose one of his nine punts on the day. Photo by Ralph Notaro.

Ryan Cortes

Punter Mickey Groody lets loose one of his nine punts on the day. Photo by Ralph Notaro.

Sometimes, it has nothing to do with want and desire and effort. Sometimes, it’s just really simple. Small and inexperienced FAU (the Owl’s were outweighed by an average of 30 pounds on their offensive and defensive lines) — meet big, fast, and strong Michigan State. Result? Pain.After losing 41-3 in its opening game of the season versus Florida, FAU followed it up, somehow, with a worse performance, falling 44-0 to Michigan St.

The stat sheet reads more like a police report explaining a brutal beating than it does a record of plays from a football game. Michigan St. had 27 first downs in the game. FAU? One.

The Spartans finished with 434 total yards. FAU? 48. There’s no missing number there, by the way. Michigan St. also held the ball for 43 minutes of the game to FAU’s 17.

And so, as head coach Howard Schnellenberger continues along in his final season, a season that should have been spent celebrating his legacy, instead sees it blemished and stained.

There’s a price to pay for everything, and apparently that legacy has an exact worth — 1.64 million, according to CNBC’s Darren Rovell.

Willie Floyd takes a kickoff return for 53 yards against Michigan St., a career high for the senior running back. Photo by Ralph Notaro.

During the game, Rovell reported that FAU would make a combined $1.64 million from playing UF, MSU, and the University of Auburn in its next game. FAU’s been outscored 85-3 in its first two games of the season, with the (likely) possibility of a similar beating in two weeks when the Owls face Auburn.

The scariest part about the loss, about the embarrassing performance (again) is that there are no easy fixes. This didn’t happen because FAU players were lazy and didn’t care about this game. It happened because FAU players aren’t as big, fast, and strong as Michigan State’s.

The game felt helpless for the Owl’s and maybe that’s the biggest concern going forward. How does this get fixed? Sports Illustrated predicted a 1-11 finish for FAU, and although it angered players on the team, that prediction doesn’t look so crazy any more.

Schnellenberger, in his 51st and final season coaching, has to look at this team and feel frustration and anger. After 5 decades of success it must badger him to watch a team simply unable to compete.

Before the season, Jarvis Givens told me how confident he was.

Howard Schnellenberger shakes hands with Michigan St. head coach Mark Dantonio after being presented with a game ball. Photo by Ralph Notaro.

“Anybody we play, I feel we can beat,” Givens had said. “If we can’t beat em, I guarantee it’ll be a dog fight. We feel we can play with anybody, I don’t care who you line us up with. Hell, line us up against the Dolphins. The Dolphins are nothing but a college team, anyway.”Which begs the question:

After two games and two losses (being outscored 85-3), what exactly is FAU?

A high-school team?