Football preview: Owls look to redeem themselves against Ball State

FAU suffered its worst loss in program history a week ago.


Owls linebacker Nate Ozdemir (50) intercepts a pass intended for Hurricanes wide receiver Stacy Coley (3) at Miami’s 48-yard line in FAU’s loss on Sept. 10. Max Jackson | Staff Photographer

Jordon Edwards, Contributing Writer

Following their opening day victory, the Florida Atlantic Owls lost to both the University of Miami and Kansas State University and find themselves with a 1-2 record.

After recording the worst loss in school history a week ago against the Wildcats, the Owls will look to get back to the .500 mark against Ball State (2-1) on Saturday. To accomplish that, FAU must regroup and get back to the basics.

Protect the football.

The Owls committed five turnovers in their two losses — all by redshirt sophomore quarterback Jason Driskel. In order for them to succeed, they need their signal caller to limit the turnovers.

Offense must generate points.

During the last two weeks, the Owls have scored a total of 17 points in comparison to 38 points in the season opener. In the two away games, they only salvaged 425 total yards of offense.

To keep themselves in games, FAU has to start putting points on the scoreboard.

Where is the defense?

As dismal as the offense has looked as of late, the defense has not performed any better. After giving up four touchdowns to Miami running back Mark Walton, the Owls followed suit by giving up the same amount to Winston Dimel of Kansas State.

Allowing nearly 1,000 yards of total offense in two games is not a recipe for victory. The defensive line must create pressure up front, linebackers must tackle and the secondary has to rise to the occasion.

This week’s challenge:

Ball State is coming off of a 41-14 victory over the Eastern Kentucky Colonels.

The Cardinals are led by sophomore quarterback Riley Neal. Over three games, Neal has thrown for 599 yards and three touchdowns with a completion rate of 59.2 percent.

The other side of the ball garners the most attention as the defense limited the Colonels to 14 points this past Saturday.

According to Ball State Sports, head coach Mike Neu is proud of his defense.

He said, “Our defense has been very consistent through three games.”

In a postgame interview with the Sun Sentinel, FAU head coach Charlie Partridge called the loss to Kansas State unacceptable, and also took responsibility for the performance.

Throughout the two losses, there were still bright spots.

Both redshirt junior wide receiver Kalib Woods and junior running back Gregory Howell continued to produce for the team.

Woods caught 16 passes for 203 yards in the two defeats and Howell accumulated 104 yards and two touchdowns.

In order for this team to be successful these two must continue to excel on the field.

It is too early in the season to panic, but if the Owls play like they did this past Saturday it will be a very long season. The game will kick off at FAU Stadium this Saturday, Sept. 24, at 6 p.m.

Jordon Edwards is a contributing writer with the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him at @koolkidklassic.