FAU faces conference schedule looking for a win

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Monday, October 03, 2005

BOCA RATON The non-conference portion of Florida Atlantic's season came to a disappointing end for the Owls with a 61-10 defeat at Louisville on Saturday.

On Sunday, the Owls returned to the practice field to make sure the players realize their season isn't over and the most important games are the ones still to be played.

FAU (0-5) will play Sun Belt Conference opponents from here on out, beginning with Thursday's game at Louisiana-Lafayette (1-3).

"We've learned a lot in the school of hard knocks and we technically will be better now," coach Howard Schnellenberger said. "We have to keep our head on straight and remember where we are, where we've been and how far we have to go."

While the losses are wearing on the players, they know they could erase much of the pain with a strong showing the rest of the way in games that count in the conference standings.

"That's what I am excited about," said senior quarterback Danny Embick. "Yeah, we are 0-5, but we lost to four really good teams. Right now I'm thinking we are 0-1 on the season and we need to rededicate ourselves for the remainder of the season and try to win out."

But to be competitive in the Sun Belt, the Owls will need to play better than they did in Saturday's game against the Cardinals, who moved up a spot in The Associated Press poll to No. 23 this week.

While the Owls kept the game close in the first half trailing 20-10, Louisville scored 41 points after halftime.

"Even though they gained a lot of yardage in the first half, it wasn't out of reach at halftime," Schnellenberger said. "They had gained a lot of yardage but we had stopped a couple of big plays. We had hoped we could have finished up strong in the second half, but they put a quick end to that."

Noteworthy: The Owls practiced Sunday in a rainstorm and Schnellenberger said they might practice twice today because of the short week of preparation.