FAU receiver William Dukes hauls in a pass in last week's game at Louisiana-Monroe. (Photo Courtesy of Ralph Notaro/Owl Pix)
When Florida Atlantic faces South Alabama on Saturday, the Owls will have one of their best shots of getting the elusive second victory of the 2012 season.
Originally published on
BOCA RATON – Florida Atlantic's goal is to prepare the same for each game, regardless of the opponent.
That's not so easy this week when the Owls are going against struggling South Alabama in a game that could provide FAU with its best chance at a victory out of any of the contests remaining on the schedule.
“It's a big opportunity to start our season heading in the right direction,” said defensive back Winfred Strickland. “If we could get a win, it could jump-start us for the rest of the season. ...If we continue to get better, sooner or later everything will start clicking.”
Playing the Jaguars, who are transitioning into the FBS level after playing their first football game just three years ago, could be just what the Owls need. Like FAU, South Alabama is 1-5 this season and its only victory came against a FCS team.
While South Alabama is still looking for its first victory over a FBS team, it did put a scare into Arkansas State last week in a 36-29 loss to the Red Wolves.
“They’ve certainly been toughened up through this experience,” said South Alabama coach Joey Jones. “Our kids continue to fight, their heads are not down, they understand we’re in a growth process. I think in some ways they were down about losing, they’re all competitors, they also realized we got better. We made a big improvement, especially on the offensive side of the ball, that makes everyone have some hope for the future.”
However, FAU is wary of South Alabama because the Jaguars have plenty of motivation heading into Saturday's game.
“I think they are a talented group and they are hungry,” FAU offensive coordinator Brian Wright said of the Jaguars. “They have one win and I know our group is hungry, but we're playing at their place and they are hungry.”
Keys To The Game: FAU @ South Alabama
Key For Owls
Running it out: In last week's 35-14 loss at Louisiana-Monroe, the Owls couldn't get anything going from its running game. FAU needs to improve on the 46 yards on 37 carries it ran for last week or South Alabama will be able to key on the Owls' passing game.
Key For Jaguars
Make their points: South Alabama's offense took a big step forward in a 36-29 loss at Arkansas State. The Owls can't win a shootout so the Jags can put pressure on FAU with some early scores.
FAU RB Jonathan Wallace vs. South Alabama LB Jake Johnson: Wallace will find it difficult to get yards after contact if he runs into Johnson, who leads the Jaguars and Sun Belt with 10 tackles per game.
- 14: Sacks by South Alabama this season.
- 96: Receiving yards by FAU WR William Dukes last week vs. ULM finishing just four yards short of becoming the first Owl with 100 receiving yards since Lestar Jean had 164 yards vs. UAB on Sept. 2, 2010.
- 17: Number of games South Alabama won from 2009-10 before losing for the first time in program history in 2011.