FAU students, Owls were no-shows early
FAU didn't give out those rally towels after all. Appropriate, because the Owls didn't rally after falling behind early and lost to North Texas 20-14 on Saturday night.
It was a familiar script for the Owls. Start slow and then show signs of life late in the game. Again, it was too little, too late as the Owls fell to 1-4 and 0-2 in the Sun Belt Conference.
FAU was to hand out free rally towels if 4,000 students were in their seats before the game started. There probably were around 1,000 at kickoff. Like their team, FAU students just didn't show up early enough.
Here are a few observations from the game...
- The Mean Green were able to get to Owls quarterback Graham Wilbert (pictured) early, forcing two picks and a fumble on one of his five sacks. Wilbert has shown he can be a formidable quarterback, but after a few mistakes he isn't the same confident, poised quarterback he is when things are going well.
- Speaking of the North Texas defensive front seven, the Mean Green had nine tackles for a loss – a very high number of negative plays. FAU's offense is obviously still a work in progress and is not going to have much success when it consistently faces long yardage.
- If there was a positive, it would have to be how FAU's defensive front appeared to match-up with North Texas' offensive line. The Owls' did not get to Mean Green quarterback Derek Thompson very often (he wasn't sacked all night) but the Owls did keep the Mean Green's running game, which averaged 191 yards a game, in check by holding them to 56 yards on 30 carries.
- FAU's loss to Middle Tennessee State in the second week of the season doesn't look quite as bad after the Blue Raiders defeated Georgia Tech 49-28 on Saturday afternoon, but FAU has already lost to two of the Sun Belt teams that were predicted to struggle this season and has yet to play teams expected to contend for the conference championship.
We don't want to be accused of sugar-coating, so the only way to look at this season is that it is going to be tougher than many had thought. Perhaps things will turn around by the end of the season and winning a certain game against FIU late in the season could take some of the sting out of the losses, but it's clear FAU is in the early stages of a massive rebuilding project.