Now in the second week of our FAU Number of the Beast series, we’re currently probing the trenches. When with the Seattle Seahawks, running back Marshawn Lynch brought to sports the term “Beast Mode,” using it to describe a state of play in which his inner beast takes over performance, leading to super-human feats on the field. To help get FAU fans through the summer doldrums while also offering a trip down memory lane, we’ve undertaken our Number of the Beast series aimed at determining the best football player to wear each number for FAU. The Beast at some numbers is easy to define. Taming the Beasts at others is more difficult than FAU fans might think. Here are numbers 71-80.
71. John Rizzo, OL, 2005-08. The former walk-on started on the offensive line for both of FAU’s bowl teams. Rizzo played tackle and guard during his career, earning second-team All-Sun Belt honors in 2007 and 2008. FAU named Rizzo its Non-scholarship MVP in 2005. Chris Chappell is a distant second here.
72. David Matlock, G, 2005-09. Like Rizzo, Matlock was a starter on both bowl winning teams. Played guard and center for the Owls. Presented with the Team Above Self award after starting 50 consecutive games despite several knee injuries. Matlock was a second-team All-Sun Belt selection in 2009. And he helped his father build one of the coolest tailgating rigs ever created.
73. Mike Marsaille, G, 2011-15. One of the most physically gifted linemen ever to play at FAU, Marsaille was the named the Owls’ Offensive MVP following the 2015 season. Also won the Hammer Award, presented to the best offensive linemen. Injuries kept Marsaille from being a three-year starter. Current Owl Brandon Walton could supplant Marsaille here. Kevin Miller in the conversation, too.
74. Carl Spitale, T, 2008-10. The transfer from Temple was one of the largest offensive linemen in FAU history. Spitale started at tackle in the 2008 Motor City Bowl. The following year Spitale held his own against then-Nebraska defensive lineman Ndomukong Suh. Spitale is the second Owl on our list attempting to make a living off comedy. He does the stand-up variety in California. Robert Hunnicutt also gets consideration here, as does Stern Vile – if only for having one of the best names in program history.
75. Braden Lyons, OL, 2013-14. A JUCO transfer, Lyons came to FAU as a tackle but also played some center. He even caught a pass in 2014 on a play that lost eight yards, which could mean that Lyons has the least receiving yards in FAU history – which is not among the criteria for making this list but still says something. Maybe. In any event, the team named Lyons its Student Athlete MVP in 2014. Jamere Johnson, who recorded 66 tackles along the defensive line, is a close second. Ryan Moran’s football career won’t land him the hall of fame, but he is the man behind all those FAU football marketing videos, so he is still helping the program.
76. Kevin Fischer, OL, 2001-04. One of the program’s founders, Fischer earned a game ball following FAU’s FCS quarterfinal victory over Northern Arizona in 2003. He didn’t allow a sack that season. Fischer received an invitation to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers camp. The Fischer family business, a local moving and storage company, transports FAU gear to games. Ryan Wischnefski and Kelly Parfitt also wore 76 – making it a pretty strong number for FAU linemen.
77. Dave Richards, OL, 2001-04. Another member of those early offensive lines, Richards came to FAU as a defensive player but switched to offense. He was a quiet leader on the offensive line that reached the FCS semifinals in 2003. Current Owl Roman Fernandez will try to unseat Richards this season.
78. Jarrid Smith, OL, 2003-07. Smith played guard and center for FAU and was named second team All-Sun Belt in 2007. Part of an offensive line that allowed only 13 sacks during the 2007 regular season, Smith was a quiet leader on that first bowl team. Derek Butcher gets some consideration here too.
79. Kevin Ketchum, OL, 2001-03. This was a choice between two players who battled injuries much of their careers. Ketchum missed games in all three years that he played, but was part of that 2003 NCAA playoff run. Jordan Sessa missed all of the 2010 season before becoming a starting center in 2011 – his final season. Sessa interned the summer before his senior season with the company that built FAU’s football stadium – making a lasting impact on the program. Still, Ketchum played more and is the choice.
80. Nate Terry, TE/WR, 2014-current. Surprisingly few choices at what would, at first glance, appear to be a popular number. Terry began his career as a tight end before moving to wide receiver. During his first three years at FAU Terry caught 36 passes for 482 yards and seven touchdowns. His first career catch was a touchdown with 20 seconds remaining to beat Texas-San Antonio in 2014. Also caught a fall-down-get-back-up TD vs. Miami in 2015. Would have given this spot to Lestar Jean, but he’s already received a number in this list.
FAU Number of the Beast: 1-10
FAU Number of the Beast: 11-20
FAU Number of the Beast: 21-30
FAU Number of the Beast: 31-40
FAU Number of the Beast: 41-50
FAU Number of the Beast: 51-60
FAU Number of the Beast: 61-70
FAU Number of the Beast: 71-80
FAU Number of the Beast: 81-90
FAU Number of the Beast: 91-99