- FAU will be without MLB Jacob Douglas today. OLB Rashad Smith also isn’t dressed. Owls will likely play a base nickel defense today.
- MTSU gets the ball first. Joseph’s kickoff is a touchback. FAU and MTSU are underway in Murfreesboro.
- FAU begins the game in its nickel package. Stephen Leggett sniffs out a WR screen, breaks up pass. Kittle PB, too. MTSU goes 3-and-out.
- Another first-drive TD for FAU. Nate Terry become first FAU player with 2 TD catches on the season. FAU 7, MTSU 0 1Q
- A 50 yard Devin Singletary run set up that scoring pass. Motor has 60 rushing yards already for FAU.
- FAU started the game with a touchdown. Anyone who followed FAU this season knows that means that MTSU will answer right back. MTSU did.
- 49-yard MTSU TD pass to Richie James ties the game at 7. On the play, MLB Khantrell Burden injured. LB is the new OL for FAU.
- FAU RT Matt Weiner beaten badly for a sack. Owls can’t convert 3rd and 31. Three-and-out for FAU. MTSU has the ball back. Tied at 7 1Q
- MTSU wildcats FAU to death. Richie James a 16-yd TD run. FAU can’t stop running QBs. James on way to C-USA POW honors. MTSU 14, FAU 7
- Daniel Parr not in the game at QB on third series. It’s still Driskel for FAU. Another sack for MTSU. Owls punting.
- FAU DE Trey Hendrickson injured on a run play. He walks off. MTSU immediately with a big play.
- Annnnddd… Touchdown MTSU. 44 yard TD run by Mathers. If FAU is trying to save Charlie Partridge’s job, this is an odd way to do it.
- With about 1 minute remaining in 1st Q, MTSU is on pace for 1,000 yards of total offense. Already rushed for 136. MTSU 21, FAU 7
- Still a long way to go, but this pattern feels awfully familiar. Emphasis on AWFUL. MTSU 21, FAU 7, end 1Q.
- MTSU running all over FAU. Owls look like a high school defense ready for Christmas break. Maybe the worst they’ve looked all year. MTSU 28, FAU 7
- FAU doesn’t practice live tackling during the week to avoid injuries. In this game, FAU is injured and can’t tackle.
- Motor is a bright spot for FAU. He’s over 100 yards and scores the Owls’ second TD with a 9-yd run. MTSU 28, FAU 14 2Q
- MTSU is down to its third string QB, but the Blue Raiders’ ball carriers are making FAU tacklers look absolutely silly. Another TD. MTSU 35, FAU 14.
- Motor pass to Terry (PI called in the end zone) sets up Buddy Howell’s record 13th rushing TD of the season. MTSU 35, FAU 21 near half.
- MTSU successfully runs the 2 minute drill using the wildcat package, scoring in about 1 minute. Let that sink in. MTSU 42, FAU 21.
- MTSU ends half with a pick of Driskel. Blue Raiders score 42 first half points using WRs and RBs at quarterback, lead FAU by 21 at the half.
- Blue Raiders roll up 467 yards of total offense against FAU in the first half – 270 on the ground.
- Second half underway in Murfreesboro. FAU goes 3-and-out – exactly the kind of adjustment they’ve become known for. MTSU 42, FAU 21.
- MTSU ballcarriers must think Christmas has arrived. Another rushing TD for the Blue Raiders. It’s now 48-21 in the 3rd.
- Motor looks like he’s all that FAU has. A 30-yd TD run trims the MTSU lead to 49-28. 3Q
- Give the FAU offense some credit. A Driskel TD run has the Owls within two scores. MTSU 49, FAU 35. 3Q
- FAU finally seems clued in to the fact that MTSU doesn’t have a QB. Owls stop 4th down run, take over the ball.
- Heading to the final quarter. FAU trails MTSU 49-35.
- FAU RB Devin Singletary enters 4th Q needing 52 yards for 1,000 on the season.
- Henry Bussey with a leaping catch for a touchdown – his second of the year. The Owls are back within 7 points. MTSU 49, FAU 42 4Q
- Another walk-in TD for MTSU. What the Blue Raiders are doing to FAU without the help of a QB is actually amazing. MTSU 56, FAU 42 4Q
- With 4 completions, MTSU WR Richie James actually leads the Blue Raiders in that category. As a team, MTSU only completed 10 passes – yet 56 pts.
- Driskel picked. First play after James with 3rd TD run. And just like that, it’s a blowout again. MTSU 63, FAU 42 4Q
- It may prove difficult for MTSU to put together a clock-killing drive because the Blue Raiders keep finding the end zone so quickly.
- Trick play pass to Motor where the O-line didn’t actually move sets up 1-yd Motor TD run. MTSU 63, FAU 49. 4Q
- Another MTSU TD. FAU has now allowed at least 70 pts to an opponent for 2nd time this season. MTSU 70, FAU 49.
- MTSU now has a program record 750 yards of total offense – doing most of the damage after losing 2nd string QB to injury.
- MTSU scoring too quickly for tweets to keep up. Pick 6 for Blue Raiders. 77 points most FAU has ever allowed. 77-49. Game won’t end.
- Parr into the game. First pass is picked. Only 5 minutes to go. MTSU might get to 100. MTSU 77, FAU 49.
- In five games this season, FAU’s basketball team has only surrendered 77 points once.
- With 236 yards (and counting) today, FAU RB Devin Singletary has eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark for the season.
- Nice touch at the end of the game. FAU Sr. RB Jay Warren slips into the end zone for 1st (and last) TD of the season. MTSU 77, FAU 56 3sec
- FAU’s 56 points are the most of the Charlie Partridge era.
- It’s over. MTSU 77, FAU 56. Another 3-9 year for Charlie Partridge. His last? We’ll have more shortly.
FAU (3-8, 2-5 C-USA)
vs. MTSU (7-4, 4-3 C-USA)
- When: Saturday, 5:30 p.m.
- Where: Floyd Stadium, Murfreesboro, Tenn.
- Radio: ESPN West Palm (106.3 FM)
- Video Broadcast: BeIN TV
- Scouting the MTSU Blue Raiders: GoBlueRaiders.com
Key for FAU: Maintain focus. Any real chance FAU had to build momentum toward the offseason disappeared in last week’s loss to ODU. FAU may find motivation in the possibility that they are trying to save coach Charlie Partridge’s job. Of course, that could also provide a major distraction. And even if the Owls are mentally ready to play, will they be physically ready, or will they once again run out of gas at halftime in the same manner they did against the Monarchs.
Key for MTSU: Quarterback play. Brent Stockstill makes the Blue Raiders go. He threw for more than 2,800 yards and 27 TDs this season, but hasn’t started a game since breaking his collar bone on Nov. 5 and won’t return on Saturday. John Urzua hasn’t been bad as a replacement – his seven TDs in four games match what FAU quarterbacks have done in the entire season – but he’s not Stockstill. The Raiders also employ Richie Jones as their wildcat quarterback. He’s averaging 8.5 yards per carry this season – and FAU struggles with mobile QBs.
Key Match-up: For one last time this season, it’s the FAU offensive line vs. the opponent’s defensive line. FAU has found some continuity along the front five, and the benefit has been the ability to run the football. The Owls’ pass protection is still suspect and the Blue Raiders have the horses to exploit that. If the MTSU can dominate what is still a patchwork FAU O-line, the Blue Raiders will cruise to victory.
Uneven but Entertaining: FAU has lost its last eight meetings with MTSU, but the series does carry some positive memories for the Owls. FAU beat MTSU in 2003 for the program’s first victory over an FBS school. There have also been some forgettable moments. Middle Tennessee won the 2008 game on a Hail Mary touchdown catch. Last season wide receiver Jenson Stoshak appeared to have scored the game-tying touchdown in the fourth quarter only to have it negated by a taunting penalty prior to crossing the goal line. The Owls eventually turned the ball over on downs. FAU lost that game 24-17.
Iron Man: Where would the Owls be without center Dillon DeBoer? With all the games the Owls missed to injury, DeBoer hasn’t even missed one play. The senior will be playing his final game on Saturday. “He was having to, at times, to make the call for any given side and get it down to the other side,” Partridge said. “Without the stability of Dillon I don’t know that what we’ve been able to pull off here would be possible. He deserves a ton of credit.”
Gaining Ground: Offensive coordinator Travis Trickett’s offense hasn’t exactly been the #NoHuddleNoMercy scorefest that was promised – the decimated offensive line being a major obstacle – but the Owls’ first-year coordinator says there is “no question” there’s been improvement over the course of 11 games. “It is in the sense of the kids understand it – the little intricacies – and that allows you to be good at some things. You’re not thinking and you’re reacting.”
Ailing at Linebacker: With middle linebacker Jacob Douglas considered questionable for Saturday’s game, Khantrell Burden is preparing for his first ever start at the Mike. Starting a game isn’t foreign to Burden, a sophomore. He began the season as a starting outside linebacker before losing the position to true freshman Rashad Smith. “(Burden’s) trying to find a way to make a permanent roll for himself on our defense.” defensive coordinator Roc Bellantoni said.
Such is Mango: In the week leading up to the FAU victory over Rice, Owls players found mango flavored Powerade in their coolers during and after practice for the first time all season. The Mango Powerade stuck around for the following week, which ended in a win over UTEP. But the Mango flavor was absent the following week, and FAU lost to Old Dominion. This week the Owls are drinking to win. “The mango Powerade is out there so, hopefully.” linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair said.
BOCA RATON – He’s the last link, and he’s about to play his final game.
Shalom Ogbonda’s roots with the FAU football program date back to when Howard Schnellenberger was still the Owls’ coach.
During the summer of 2011, Obonda, then about to become a high school senior in Sugarland, Tex., contacted FAU about potentially playing for the Owls.
The email made its way to Jared Allen, then the Owls’ quarterbacks coach, who liked what he saw in the 6-foot-3, 240-pound Ogbonda’s highlight video.
Born in England to a family of Nigerian decent before moving to the United States, Ogbonda wasn’t the typical South Florida recruit the Owls generally pursued. That didn’t sway Allen, who eventually visited the Ogbonda family in Texas.
“I remember his mom sent me home with this Nigerian snack – these little cookies,” Allen said. “It was fun.”
Obonda and Allen formed an immediate bond, giving Ogbonda reason believe in Schnellenberger, too.
“It was really the type of guy Jared Allen was and still is,” Ogbonda said. “Just some of the principles that he lives by is stuff that I saw in coach. If I can see that in a coach that’s exactly who I want to be surrounded with.”
At a time when early commits to FAU were rare, Ogbonda became the first member of the 2012 recruiting class by pledging his services to the Owls that summer, choosing FAU in large part because of its South Florida location and because FAU was starting a medical school.
“I like how it’s a new program trying to be great,” Ogbonda told OwlAccess.com shortly after committing. “(FAU has) an excellent head coach and they are playing some of the best teams in the country with an aspiration to beat them.”
Ogbonda never did get to play for that excellent head coach.
A couple months after Ogbonda committed, Schnellenberger announced he would retire following that 2011 season.
Even as new offers came, Ogbonda still wanted to keep his commitment to FAU and Jared Allen, and new Florida Atlantic head coach Carl Pelini honored that commitment.
“When Schnellenberger announced that he was resigning I stayed with FAU because coach Allen was still there – and that was even before I took the visit to campus,” Ogbonda said. “That speaks volumes for the type of guy coach Allen is.”
Five years later, Ogbonda is sure he made the right choice.
“It’s been a blessing,” Ogbonda said. “Football is a great sport. It’s given me a great opportunity on the field and academically. I’m forever thankful to FAU for this opportunity.”
He’s also kept that bond with Allen, now the Owls’ running backs coach.
“Shalom, he can come talk to me about anything,” Allen said.
FAU life hasn’t always been smooth. Counting the commitment to Schnellenberger’s Owls, Ogbonda has ties to all four head coaches in program history.
He’s seen Pelini, the coach who ultimately signed him, leave mid-season amid drug allegations. Brian Wright stepped in and led FAU to four wins in as many games, but Wright didn’t get the permanent job. That went to current head coach Charlie Partridge, who has led the Owls to only nine wins in three years and may not see a fourth.
He’s also played for four different position coaches, crediting current defensive line coach Terrance Jamison with teaching the importance of proper footwork and the right pre-snap stance.
“He’s always made sure I was paying attention to the little things,” said Ogbonda, who is now working toward his Master’s degree in health administration.
Never much more than a role player for the Owls during his first four years in Boca Raton, Ogbonda has come into his own during his redshirt senior season.
Though more of a defensive end out of high school, Ogbonda moved to the interior of the defensive line early in his FAU career. The 45 tackles he’s recorded this season nearly match his total from the previous three years on the field combined.
Heading into his final game he’s playing the best football of his career, coming off a career-high 10 tackles on Saturday against Old Dominion.
“He’s really learned this year how to become a top notch practice player,” Partridge said. “He’s really upped his level play in and play out of playing at a high level in practice. Pushing through challenging times on the practice field is going to make a huge difference for you on game day. To Shalom’s credit he’s really stepped up in that regard.”
Both Partridge and Allen noted that Ogbonda’s surge over the second half of the season is prompting inquiries from NFL scouts who visit Boca Raton.
“I just want to get my foot in the door and see how that opportunity goes,” Ogbonda said.
Welcome to the Thanksgiving Day edition of OwlTalk, the first and still finest FAU football podcast.
The final FAU football game of the season has arrives this week. While this season has held its share of exciting moments, the Owls once again failed to show significant improvement when it comes to wins and losses.
FAU closes its season with a trip to Middle Tennessee. Will the Owls finish another season with a 3-9 record? Does Florida Atlantic coach Charlie Partridge need to lead the Owls to a victory over the Blue Raiders to save his job? Or have FAU’s administrators already made up their minds?
It’s a touchy subject, one which our Chuck King addresses at length in this week’s OwlTalk.
Host Brian Rowitz of ESPN West Palm also guides the conversation to what may turn out to be a more pleasant topic for Owl fans – FAU basketball.
Fresh off their 78-62 blowout of USF, FAU heads into Thanksgiving with a 2-3 record and a team that is bringing excitement back to The Burrow.
So enjoy this week’s edition of OwlTalk. And don’t forget to follow all the action from this week’s FAU game at Middle Tennessee on our LIVE! page. Kickoff from Murfreesboro is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.
BOCA RATON – Entering the final game of the season, FAU’s quarterback controversy has faded into the twilight that is another disappearing, disappointing season.
For the first time in a month, Saturday’s game at MTSU may be Jason Driskel’s and only Jason Driskel’s.
In recent weeks comments from FAU coach Charlie Partridge’s and offensive coordinator Travis Trickett’s pertained to which quarterback the Owls would choose to start.
This week the question seems to be whether Daniel Parr will play at all.
“We’ll take a look at practice this week and see if that merits Daniel getting that time again there in the third series,” Partridge said. “We intend to do it.”
A win at MTSU would allow the Owls to complete the season with a 4-8 record, which after consecutive 3-9 seasons would be the high-water mark in Partridge’s three years.
“We need to do whatever we can to put ourselves in the best position to win a game,” Partridge said.
FAU began putting Daniel Parr behind center for the third offensive series back on Oct. 9 against Charlotte.
Against Rice, three weeks later and one week after Western Kentucky limited the Owls to 77 passing yards, FAU gave Parr the first start of his career.
Rather than launching the beginning of the Parr Era, that actually signaled a decline in Parr’s playing time.
Including that start against Rice, Parr has only seen 13 snaps over the past three games, completing one of his six passes for four yards along with throwing his first career interception.
Driskel relieved Parr on the third series of that Rice game and has since taken firm hold of the starting role. In those same three games Driskel has thrown for 769, three touchdowns and one interception.
“Daniel has to continue, and he’s done a great job Monday through Friday of developing and getting better,” Trickett said. “On Saturday, sometimes he’s a victim of circumstance.”
While it still seems likely that Parr will receive a series on Saturday, Driskel has clearly widened the gap between himself a Parr over the final month.
Even if Parr doesn’t get a series against the Blue Raiders, both Partridge and Parr remain high on him for the coming years.
“If we didn’t think Daniel Parr couldn’t be a great player we wouldn’t give him a series,” Trickett said.
BOCA RATON – FAU is on the verge of having a player lead the nation in a statistical category for the second consecutive year.
Once again, it’s a special teams category.
A review of Old Dominion’s field goal attempt in the closing seconds of the first half on Saturday showed that Trey Hendrickson managed to get a finger or two on Brad Davis’ 38-yard field goal attempt, which ultimately clanked off the left upright.
FAU sent the statistical change to Conference USA and the NCAA earlier this week.
The block is Hendrickson’s fourth of the season, tying him with Oklahoma St.’s Vincent Taylor, who, too, was credited with a block on Saturday.
It also allowed Hendrickson to tie the single season program record, set by Michael Lockley in 2010.
Hendrickson will have one more game to attempt to pull ahead of Taylor, that coming when the Owls end their season on Saturday at Middle Tennessee.
Taylor will likely have two chances to break the tie. Oklahoma St. concludes its season on Dec. 3 against Oklahoma. The Cowboys are also bowl eligible, and the NCAA includes postseason football stats in its year-end totals.
The preseason Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year, Hendrickson is currently second in C-USA with 9.5 sacks. He may not claim the Defensive Player of the Year honor, but Hendrickson will likely get consideration for the C-USA Special Teams Player of the Year award.
If Hendrickson takes home that award he would be the second-consecutive FAU player to do so. Dalton Schomp was the NCAA’s leading punter a year ago, propelling him to the 2015 C-USA Special Teams Player of the Year and the preseason pick for the award this season.
Schomp averaged 48.0 yards per punt last season. This year that average has dropped to 42.5 in part because he’s now handling shorter pooch punt duties. That’s still good enough for the No. 2 spot among C-USA punters.
The senior is coming off one the best punting efforts of his career, having boomed punts of 68, 63 and 62 yards.
BOCA RATON – When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When your opponent plays physical, play physical back.
It’s that type of simple formula that will keep Florida Atlantic in games all year.
After going on a 36-0 run on Sunday in a 98-64 blowout win over Edward Waters, the Owls began their first winning streak of the year with a 78-62 takedown of the University of South Florida Bulls.
Despite the Bulls trying to bully the Owls into the ground in a game that produced 45 fouls, the Owls used their killing brand of basketball to stay upright and fight back.
South Florida was responsible for 27 of the 45 fouls, with four Bulls players having four or more fouls in the loss.
“We practice for teams like that, and obviously we got Middle Tennessee who plays like that,” center Ronald Delph said. “In practice, we don’t call as many fouls – we just try to do everything that we need to do.”
Delph had his second double-double of the year with 14 points – four of those by way of free throws – and 11 boards. Even after playing a game-high 32 minutes, Delph never seemed to falter, finishing with his first turnover-free game of the season.
In a night where the Owls outscored the Bulls 40-28 in the second half, Delph was one of seven players to score nine or more points.
“Ronald Delph is going to morph into a dominant player inside,” coach Michael Curry said. “Most of our guys on the perimeter are catch-and-shoot guys – except Jailyn Ingram, who’s really good at putting the ball down on the floor. Having guys that can play inside on the zone is really big. “
In front of a Burrow arena that totaled nearly 1,500 people, the Owls made a statement on Tuesday night: this isn’t the team that lost three games in Hawaii.
“It is important to get the win and it is important to show some progress in what we want and the things we’ve talked about; the type of team that we want to have,” Curry said. “Our guys are getting used to it, we’ve heard from some fans, they like to see it and they like the tempo.”
Ingram led all scorers with 16 points. Gerdarius Troutman also chimed in with 15 in the win.
GameBrowser: FAU (2-3, 0-0) 78, USF (2-2, 0-0) 62
Moving Forward: For the second straight game, the Owls took a lead into halftime…William Pfister avoided foul trouble and grabbed six rebounds in 17 minutes…FAU held USF to 20% shooting from behind the three-point arc.
Moving Backward: USF went on a 14-0 run for six minutes in the first half…While they did combine for 17 points, Adonis Filer and Frank Booker made only six of their fifteen shots.
Key Stat: 12 – Defensive kills for the Owls. FAU defines a kill as three consecutive scoreless opponent possessions in which the Owls don’t commit a foul. FAU’s goal is to get at least seven in a game.
Instant Message: “He shot the ball well on Sunday. His mom came down for the game and I asked him, ‘did she bring his game with him?’” – Curry on the improvements from Jailyn Ingram, who scored a career high 19 points on Tuesday.
Up Next: The Owls will have almost a full week off before their next game – a showdown with the University of Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks next Tuesday. Tip-off is slated for 8:30 p.m.
BOCA RATON – There was a time earlier this season that defensive coordinator Roc Bellantoni considered radically overhauling FAU’s struggling defense.
To be specific, he considered changing the Owls base 4-3 defense, which employs four defensive linemen and three linebackers, to a 3-4 scheme.
“I thought about it during the year, would that be better for us to get certain guys on the field?” Bellantoni said. “But it’s not something you can do here in the middle of a year. It’s an offseason project. It’s a spring ball thing. It’s a summer conditioning. It’s a preseason practice. It’s got to be all or nothing.”
The way FAU’s defense has played this season, almost any change deserves consideration.
Only six teams in the nation allow more yards than FAU after the Owls surrendered 623 yards of total offense to ODU on Saturday. The Owls are allowing 36.4 points per game, No. 113 nationally out of 128 teams.
Bellantoni, however, decided that even adding a 3-4 package to give the Owls a different look would be more detrimental than beneficial.
“If you are dabbling in it, you’re not going to get good at anything,” Bellantoni said. “Our guys are young and they need a lot of reps at what we’re doing to know where to go. I’ve thought a lot about it because some of the guys that we have coming back, we’ve got some pretty athletic guys in the back seven, we’ve got to find a way to get them on the field. That’s something we need to talk about and think about here over the next month or so.”
The loss of Trey Hendrickson to graduation following Saturday’s game Middle Tennessee is one reason Bellantoni says he is going to consider making the switch to a three down linemen, four linebacker set for next season.
With Hendrickson gone, there is no clear-cut answer regarding which players will carry FAU’s pass rush in 2017.
“You hope (defensive end Hunter Snyder) steps up and becomes that, and [defensive end] Nick Internicola, guys like that, but if not we’ve got to generate a way to get (sacks), so maybe it’s with more speed on the field,” Bellantoni said.
In Azeez Al-Shaair, Jacob Douglas and Rashad Smith, FAU will return three young linebackers who played key roles this season. Another, sophomore Khantrell Burden, is coming off his best game as an Owl. With Douglas termed “questionable” for Saturday’s game by coach Charlie Partridge, Burden may get his first career start at middle linebacker. He began the year as a starting outside linebacker.
The Owls also expect to have Nate Ozdemir back next season. Ozdemir began the season as the starting middle linebacker but suffered a season-ending foot injury against Western Kentucky.
Along with Hendrickson, FAU loses starting defensive tackle Shalom Ogbonda and sometimes defensive tackle starter Denzel Whitfield to graduation.
Moving to a 3-4 scheme would also allow FAU more flexibility when looking to get nickel Ocie Rose more playing time.
The 4-3 has been FAU’s base defense for almost all of the program’s 15-year history.
After deciding that the fertile South Florida recruiting grounds offered more linebackers than defensive linemen, then defensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator Kurt Van Valkenburgh switched the Owls to a 3-4 for the 2011 season – the final year of the Howard Schnellenberger era.
FAU went 1-11 that season, ranked No. 121 nationally in total defense and allowed 36.4 points per game – exactly what the Owls are surrendering through 11 games this season.
The following season newly hired head coach Carl Pelini switched back to a 4-3.
BOCA RATON – Charlie Partridge intends to take it easy on the Owls during the season’s final week of practice in an effort to to avoid the fatigue that set in during the second half of FAU’s loss to Old Dominion on Saturday.
“We’ve just got to really back off this week in terms of the physical stuff we do but that’s the challenge, finding that balance to do what you need to do to be ready to play the game and find a way to win but also back off and do everything we can to get their legs back,” said Partridge.
The Owls are 3-8 heading to Middle Tennessee on Saturday for what will be their final game of the season.
An FAU win would keep the Owls from posting a 3-9 record for the third time in Partridge’s three-year tenure.
To get that win, FAU will rely heavily on the work put in thus far this season.
“You do have to bank all the reps you’ve invested at getting guys ready with fundamentals – looks that we’ve seen a lot of that Middle Tennessee also shows,” Partridge said. “You’ve got to bank some of those previous reps and back it down to walk through and try to get on and off the field as quick as you can this week in practice.”
Two players, wide receiver Kalib Woods and linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair, both mentioned feeling fatigued during the second half of FAU’s 42-24 loss on Saturday.
FAU managed only 158 yards of offense and three points during the final 30 minutes of that game. The defense, meanwhile, surrendered 359 yards and 29 points to the Monarchs during that period, turning a 21-13 Owls lead into an 18-point Florida Atlantic loss.
“I felt it at halftime,” Partridge said. “I was concerned about their fatigue level. It was probably part of the factor there in the third and fourth quarter, quite honestly.”
Part of that fatigue might have been mental – the student part of the student athlete life withdrawing energy during the week.
“I backed off a little bit last week because all the papers and tests and things – and that’s part of being college student-athletes – but as a collective team we were loaded up last week,” Partridge said. “A lot of professors want to get those in before Thanksgiving week and we backed off a little last week and we’ll need to back off some more against this week from how long we’re out on the field.”
This week’s practices will also have a different tone from previous weeks.
Throughout the week Partridge will give seniors the option of addressing their teammates about topics of their choose.
“I’m not going to require it, but I’m going open that opportunity to those guys to give any advice they have, to talk about their experience here, to share what they’ll miss and what they won’t,” Partridge said.
There will be changes on the practice field, too.
During part of Wednesday’s practice, to keep things light, Partridge intends to allow players to switch positions.
On Friday, before leaving for MTSU, FAU will move practice to FAU stadium. At the end of practice he plans to have the players form a tunnel through which the seniors will run through before drilling a tackling dummy – a ceremonial final hit at Howard Schnellenberger Field.
“We honored (the seniors) this last week for their last game in Boca but this is their last game together, so I know guys will be motivated to do everything they can to send these seniors out with a win,” Partridge said. “It will be an emotional week.”