The FAU defense rose to the occasion in Saturday’s 28-21 victory over Florida International in the Shula Bowl. (Photo by Ralph Notaro)
Making the grade
In the last installment of our Sunday Review, we give grades for each unit and hand out the last game balls of the season.
Originally published on
> Photo Gallery: Photos from the Shula Bowl
Florida Atlantic closed the season with a 28-21 victory over Florida International in the Shula Bowl on Saturday.
It was the fourth consecutive Shula Bowl victory for the Owls and the seventh time FAU has beaten the Golden Panthers.
But it wasn’t easy. FAU players said they could tell early the Panthers were tired of losing.
“On the second play of the game I got my clock cleaned,” said senior linebacker Edward Bradwell. “I could tell they came to play.”
FIU had 445 yards in total offense compared to FAU’s 406, but the Owls never trailed.
FAU finished the season with a 5-7 overall record and a 5-3 record in the Sun Belt Conference and tied for third with Louisiana-Monroe.
After the game Owls coach Howard Schnellenberger said the game not only sends FAU into the off-season on a high note, but also allows the coaching staff to walk tall when they go to talk to high school prospects.
“We’ll head to the recruiting board and start the second phase of the 2009 season,” Schnellenberger said. “I’m looking forward to that.”
Handing out the grades
Offensive line: David Matlock and Ryan Wischnefski each started despite missing practices this week with injuries and showed character by playing through their pain. The line deserves a large share of credit for Alfred Morris’ Sun Belt rushing title and probably gets too much blame for the sacks picked up by Jeff Van Camp, who tries to make a lot of plays happen with his feet. Grade: B
Wide receivers-tight ends: More than any game since Van Camp took over, the Owls took shots down the field with Chris Bonner and Cortez Gent making some nice long plays. Also tight end Jason Harmon caught most anything thrown his way. Grade: B+
Quarterback: Jeff Van Camp was 15-of-27 for 220 yards and two touchdowns. Not his best day, but no mistakes either as Van Camp showed he can win by just managing the game. Grade: A-
Running backs: Alfred Morris had 158 yards on 25 carries, two touchdowns and clinched the Sun Belt rushing title. Morris has enabled the offense to be more balanced than any other time at FAU and the results are impressive. Grade: A
Defensive line: The Golden Panthers O-Line came to play and kept the line pretty quiet. Defensive end Daniel Joseph had one of his better games – a good sign for next season. Grade C+
Linebackers: A very nice improvement with Edward Bradwell, Michael Lockley and Malik Eugene all having good games. Lockley in particular was more aggressive than he has been in recent games and all the linebackers seemed to enjoy playing one of the more physical games in some time. Grade B-
Defensive backs: Marcus Bartels had 13 tackles and Tavious Polo added nine tackles as the secondary was tested by FIU quarterback Paul McCall. Grade: B-
Special teams: Not a great day as a field goal was blocked and the onside kicks closely resembled something from the Football Follies videos. Grade C-
RB Alfred Morris
Morris rushed for 158 yards on 25 carries and had two touchdowns. Morris finished with 1,392 yards to lead the Sun Belt Conference in rushing – the first Owl to do so.
LB Edward Bradwell
In his last game as an Owl, Bradwell set career-highs in total tackles with 14 and 11 solo tackles.
TE Jason Harmon
We’ll miss Harmon’s athleticism and he certainly went out on a high note with three catches for 47 yards and a 9-yard TD catch.