Each Sunday during the football season OwlAccess.com writers Chuck King and Jake Elman dissect the previous day’s FAU football game in a feature we call “Four Down Territory.” Here’s our analysis of FAU’s 52-3 loss to Western Kentucky.
King: Apparently FAU bought a time machine. Why the Owls would want to return to the 2011 game against Western Kentucky is anyone’s guess. That’s the game that opened Howard Schnellenberger Field. FAU lost to a 1-4 WKU team 20-0. The Owls managed only 121 yards of total offense that day. The Owls posted 202 yards on Saturday, with the defense allowing 661. And that was after having two weeks to prepare for WKU. Yes, the Owls’ offensive line is decimated, but that effort on both sides of the ball was humiliating.
Elman: Not even a bye week and the ‘allure’ of homecoming could fix the broken mentality of the Florida Atlantic Owls. From the time this game started, the Owls played lazily and broken, almost like they just wanted to get things over with so they could enjoy the rest of their Saturday. At 1-6, FAU still had a chance to win out, finish .500, and build some momentum going into next year, but the Owls instead played like they were more concerned about which homecoming party was going to be the best that night.
Wilson: How did the FAU running game become non-existent. It had been the best part of the FAU offense and they were not able to run against WKU. Buddy Howell and Devin Singletary were both held to under 40 yards with no scores.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
King: How about the job former FAU assistant Jeff Brohm is doing at WKU? The Hilltoppers not only cemented the fact that FAU won’t go bowling, they became bowl eligible themselves. Could they return to Boca in December? And Dale Williams’ offensive line looked pretty strong, too. As for FAU, it’s not often a gunner on the punt team appears here, but Jake Stoshak downed a punt at the 1-yard line, then recovered a muff at the 6, leading to the only FAU points.
Elman: Take your pick from Western Kentucky (probably quarterback Mike White), but for FAU…maybe Dalton Schomp should get it for setting a program record with 466 punt yards? FAU’s failures can’t be blamed on a punter who consistently buried WKU deep in their own territory. If Schomp isn’t the guy, it’s probably the fan asked to kick a 40-yard field goal in rain and wind during a timeout promotion. Get this guy a spot on the team when Greg Joseph and Dalton Schomp graduate!
Wilson: Hunter Snyder was the player of the game for sure. He was able to get a sack against the dominant Western Kentucky offense. The rest of the FAU team was not able to perform both offensively and defensively. Snyder recorded three tackles in what was maybe a worse loss than the one earlier this season to Kansas St.
King: Basically, any defensive call FAU made on third down. It started on the opening drive of the game, when WKU turned a third-and-11 into a 76-yard touchdown and continued throughout the afternoon. During the bye week FAU placed an emphasis on third down defense. The result? WKU converted on 10 of 16 attempts, often for touchdowns. Inexplicable.
Elman: The lack of touches given to Howell in a must-win game. Kalib Woods and Howell have been the Owls’ best offensive players and two of the few consistent pieces on this team despite starting eight different offensive line combinations in eight games. Asked about this in the post game, Charlie Partridge didn’t really give a clear answer and almost seemed to attribute it to the offensive line…but Howell has had a career season and one of the best campaigns in the conference regardless of who is blocking for him.
Wilson: A controversial call was when FAU didn’t elect to give quarterback Daniel Parr more time at the end of the game. With the season now basically over, the Owls should have been looking more at Parr, especially towards the end of the game.
King: Not sure what FAU offensive coaches are saying to players at halftime, but they may want to consider another option: silence. The Owls failed to score a point in the second half for the second consecutive game. FAU has scored only 19 points in the fourth quarter all season and 54 points in the second half. To put that in perspective, FAU has allowed a total of 64 points to its opponents in third quarters this year – it’s best defensive quarter.
Elman: You never like to speculate about job security, but with this team 1-7 and in a total free fall, players almost certainly have to be worried about the futures of some men they look to as father figures and mentors – as they should. What is bothersome is that if players are indeed worried or anxious, they’re not playing with the expected intensity that would allow their mentors to keep their spots. These kids are still college kids, yes, and they’re angry that they’re 1-7, but what’s the point of rolling over and just taking each blow they get?
Wilson: FAU’s postseason hopes are now officially extinguished. The Owls will not be making a bowl and have three losses in C-USA. FAU needs to look and see what they can do for next year. They Owls can’t get much younger, but maybe it is time to look at some of the younger players.