The MTSU loss was a wake-up call. The Owls let their foot off the gas against the Blue Raiders. There’s a renewed sense of urgency this week. They have to do the little things right.
All good proclamations. However, the Owls have said them, or something like them, before.
The loss to Oklahoma was a wake-up call because, entering the season, the Owls believed the magic from last season would carry over into 2018.
FAU let its foot off the gas against Bethune-Cookman, opening a huge first quarter lead before being outscored by their FCS opponent over the three quarters that followed.
The loss to UCF renewed players’ focus heading into Conference USA play.
After Saturday’s loss at MTSU in their C-USA opener, a game where players said they took their foot off the gas and once again didn’t do the little things right, well, that left little room for mistakes if they want to fulfill their quest to repeat as conference champions.
“We’ve got to find a way,” said running back Devin Singletary, whose 12 rushing touchdowns leads the nation. “The sense of urgency is, any means necessary. Literally, whatever it takes. We’ve got to get this win.”
The loss to MTSU put FAU in a position it didn’t face all of last season. The Owls are coming off a Conference USA loss as they prepare for another C-USA foe. FAU won all nine C-USA games last season, their first under Lane Kiffin.
The Owls understood that Conference USA teams would be out for revenge this season. At MTSU, they experienced for the first time what they had only talked about all season.
“We’re going to get every opponent’s best shot, so we’ve just got to continue to push and work,” running back Kerrith Whyte said.
Early in the season Saturday’s game against ODU appeared as though it would be a cake walk, leading the Owls into their bye week feeling good.
After looking bad while losing their first three games, ODU shocked Virginia Tech and would have upset East Carolina last week were it not for a late blown call by the officials.
“As a whole team we have to have the killer instinct, especially as a defense and special teams,” quarterback Chris Robison said. “Offense, we have to have it but it’s more of a, you know, execute our plays, get to the ball, get lined up and have good tempo, run our plays and execute them well.”
The Owls’ efforts to record third first C-USA win of the season should receive a boost from playing at home, where they’ve won nine consecutive games. A second C-USA loss would almost certainly doom FAU’s chances of reaching the C-USA title game.
“We obviously don’t have any margin for error now,” Kiffin said. “For the first time since being here we don’t control our own destiny to win the conference. All we can do is move forward from that disaster [against MTSU] and play better this week versus a team that has played really well and obviously beat Virginia Tech.”
That means, according to the Owls, doing the little things right. Answering the wake-up calls. Keeping their foot on the gas. Playing with a sense of urgency.
“We’re more hungry going into this week,” wide receiver Jovon Durante said. “We’ve got the winning mindset in our heads.”