Winning consecutive games, it seems, is a good start when it comes to building a fan base, but it’s only that – a start.
“We’ve got to do some more to earn some more respect and get everybody to buy in, keep the streak alive,” running back Buddy Howell said. “That’s how you get your fan base up. That’s how you get people more interested – when you’ve got a streak and they actually want to see you and stuff like that. Some people are actually paying attention and congratulating us and stuff like that. It’s a great vibe. We’ve just got to keep working harder because we want everybody on board – community, people in school, people around, West Palm Beach, Boca all that. We want all that to come and watch us.”
FAU dominated Old Dominion and soundly thrashed Middle Tennessee in its last two outings. Toss in a 45-0 drubbing of Bethune-Cookman on Sept. 16, and the Owls have won three of their last four games, placing them in a tie for first atop Confernce USA’s East Division.
A win over North Texas in Saturday’s homecoming game will give FAU its first three-game winning streak since 2013 – the last time the Owls were bowl eligible.
The Owls are playing as well as they have since that 2013 streak and are detecting ripples of added energy on campus.
“Just being around the (cafeteria) and stuff like that you just can tell it’s a different energy,” linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair said. “Everybody’s excited, happy to be a part of FAU.”
Neither Al-Shaair nor Howell believes this past weekend’s bye did anything to drain the momentum FAU is building.
What it did do, however, was let Al-Shaair get healthier.
“I feel better than I did last Monday, definitely,” said Al-Shaair, who’s been battling an arm injury that forced him to miss FAU’s game at Buffalo – the Owls’ most recent loss. “It was funny because I was talking about it with some of the guys even coming in. Obviously, if we would have had a game last week it would have been way different.”
While Al-Shaair was given some time this past week to let his arm recover, overall the Owls focused on being physical.
Lane Kiffin wanted to see an improved tackling team heading before facing North Texas.
“We got after it those few days that we were in contact,” Al-Shaair said. “We definitely got out there.”
Leaders of Conference USA’s West Division, North Texas (4-2, 3-0) comes to Boca Raton winners of their past three, all Conference USA games.
In a Monday tweet, FAU predicted a full student section for the game.
“Every week is going to be a fight,” Al-Shaair said. “This conference is kind of up for grabs. Every week you are competing for a conference championship per se, but you always want to stay focused on who’s in front of you and not try to get too far down the road.”