Atlantic quarterback Rusty Smith sees a lot riding on Saturday’s
game against MTSU, and he thinks an FAU win would be the first
step toward a New Orleans Bowl berth at season’s end.
Smith leads an experienced squad that returns 17 starters and
won five of its final eight games last season. Some have picked
FAU as a darkhorse candidate to make a run at the Sun Belt
title. Count Smith among those.
“I think we could possibly go to the New Orleans Bowl,” said
Smith in a phone interview with the DNJ. “We feel like this
could be our year. We have a lot of experience coming back on
this team, and we have a whole lot of talent. Every team needs
things to fall right, but we think a lot depends on this game
(against MTSU). We’re playing the (Sun Belt) co-champs, and we
feel pretty good about our chances. We’re confident that we pull
out a victory.
"If we do that, it turns into a snowball effect. We win, and
then we can snowball to New Orleans.”
Smith’s receiving corps has been trimmed a bit, as leading
receiver Frantz Simeon was lost for the season due to
ineligibility. Two other FAU wideouts have also been limited by
nagging injuries, but Smith said the Owls’ depth should carry
the offense on Saturday.
“We may not have a couple of guys ready to be full go, but I’m
not worried about it,” Smith said. “It’s not a big deal for us
because we know we have other guys that can step right in. Plus,
we feel like we can run it and still move the ball, too.”
MTSU and FAU kick off at 3 p.m. (central time) in Fort
Lauderdale, Fla. on Saturday. It is the season opener and
conference opener for both teams.
For more MTSU football coverage, see Friday’s Daily News
— Adam Sparks, (615) 278-5167