Published September 4, 2005
They were coming to watch the Owls of Florida Atlantic University get embarrassed ... to watch their Big 12 Jayhawks humiliate "that little team from
By evening's end, however, this crowd filed back up Campanile Hill with a newfound respect for the Owls.
Despite being decimated by the loss of 28 seniors, playing their first full Division I-A schedule and plugging starting positions with redshirt freshmen and first-time starters, the Owls hung surprisingly tough for a three touchdown underdog for more than three quarters before falling victim to
Yes, the Owls lost. They couldn't build on a 13-12 lead late in the third quarter that sent a scare through this crowd. And, yes, it's unclear whether
In a town where basketball is king, where the Allen Fieldhouse is regarded as sacred ground, there is excitement about the Jayhawks. Students and fans gathered Saturday afternoon at popular restaurants and bars like The Hawk and Wagon Wheel awaiting a new era. Alumni returned to stroll
And the Owls almost spoiled the party. Nothing new for a Howard Schnellenberger-coached team. His longevity only seems to be matched by his creativity and Saturday night was no different.
Consider DiIvory Edgecomb. Playing in his first game and not listed on the depth chart, Edgecomb caught a 66-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter to give FAU a 13-12 lead.
How about quarterback Danny Embick, making just his second start but completing 20 passes for 299 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions, often throwing on the run.
"I was impressed with him," said Jayhawks coach Mark Mangino. "He's a competitive, scrappy guy. They have some really talented, good-looking athletes from
Mangino wasn't the only one impressed.
"We're extremely pleased," said FAU Athletic Director Craig Angelos. "Every year, our first game has been something special. We beat Middle Tennessee, and won at
"We had hoped we might be able to pull off some magic here ... and we did for three quarters."
This isn't say the Owls don't have a lot of work to do. They rushed 37 times for only 70 yards and converted only 4-of-15 third downs.
Senior cornerback Quincy Skinner turned in a few big plays and receivers DiIvory and Thomas Parker both had 66-yard touchdown receptions. But Embick, who started only one previous game and that came against NAIA Edward Waters, played a huge game.
While he did fumble inside the Jayhawks' 10-yard line in the third quarter, he was a revelation, especially when compared to
"If we play this good against a Big 12 team," Angelos said. "Hopefully, we can get a few wins in the Sun Belt."
So maybe things don't get any easier with
But the Owls left this town Saturday evening with more confidence than they arrived and, with Schnellenberger at the controls, the future is looking bright.