But there are times when individual stats don’t tell the entire story.
FAU entered fall camp looking to rebuild an offensive line that saw its middle three players graduate.
Two newcomers, center Junior Diaz and guard Antonio Riles, didn’t transfer into FAU in time to participate in spring practice. Both were expected to start for the Owls, but they – like the line itself – would have plenty to prove once the season began.
What began as a potential position of concern blossomed into one of the Owls’ biggest strengths.
As a unit FAU’s offensive line surrendered 14 sacks through the 12-game season. During the regular season, only 14 teams nationally allowed fewer.
Diaz, the center, made the calls for that offensive line. He also helped pave the way for an FAU rushing attack that averaged 241.8 yards per game – best in Conference USA and No. 15 nationally.
The three players who lined up at the two spots next to Diaz also deserve credit. Riles blended seamlessly with redshirt freshman B. J. Etienne as the starting guards, and redshirt freshman walk-on Nick Weber made the guard spots a three-way rotation late in the season.
Diaz wins the Offensive Newcomer of the Year award, beating out wide receiver Jovon Durante. Durant led all FAU players with 65 catches and 873 receiving yards. Both of those totals placed the West Virginia transfer among Conference USA’s Top 7.
But Durante disappeared in some games and dropped some costly passes down the stretch.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Chris Robison also qualified in this category, and at times the Oklahoma transfer played brilliantly. But his inconsistency was at the root of the all-too-frequent struggles of the offense. Robison, basically, performed like what would be expected of a freshman, but he did show enough flashes for the Owls to be excited about the kind of player he could become.
None of the wide receivers FAU signed during the offseason made enough of an impact for consideration.