MIAMI GARDENS · Florida Atlantic's young defense played
like veterans in Thursday night's 23-3 loss to Oklahoma State,
and if it hadn't, the outcome would have been much worse.
The Owls' defense, faced with defending four turnovers, gave up two
touchdowns and neither came on a sustained drive. Oklahoma State's
longest drive was 54 yards in the fourth quarter, and it resulted in a
28-yard field goal.
Oklahoma State drove a total
of 95 yards for its 23 points, and the Cowboys, who beat Montana State
15-10 in their opener, were forced to settle for three Bruce Redden field
The Cowboys converted three turnovers into 17 points and three more points
were surrendered on an onside kick.
Freshman linebacker Andre Clark led the Owls' defense with 11 tackles and
strong safety Kris Bartels had nine.
"I'm going to sleep pretty easy," defensive end Josh Pinnick said. "We are a real young defense, and we
played almost the entire game in our red zone. The offense and special teams
had a tough time, and we had our backs against the wall."
Each time the Owls' defense needed to come up with a big play to stop the
Cowboys, it was able to do it, and the game remained close until quarterback
Danny Embrick's second fumble. OSU took it 21 yards
for a 20-3 with 6:28 left in the third quarter.
"I'm ecstatic with the way our defense played," FAU cornerback
Willie Hughley said. "They are a big-time
Division I team, and I feel our defense could play with them."
OSU, with all its chances, couldn't manage 300 total yards, finishing with
292, and the Owls finished with 220.
"Defenses can develop quite rapidly," coach Howard Schnellenberger said, "but it takes offenses a
little more time. Our offense didn't gobble up a lot of yards and run a lot
of clock, and we gave them the ball too many times in good position.
"Our defense grew up a lot considering how young it is."
After FAU gave up the ball on its initial possession on a punt, OSU had a 6-0
lead, before the Owls got it again, thanks to a fumbled punt and a recovered
"It was probably the best defensive game that I've been a part of in my
three years in the program," Pinnick said.
"I don't how we could have played much better considering the
circumstances of the game."
"They had one good drive but only got a field goal," Pinnick said. "That isn't much to hang your hat
Craig Barnes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.