Tough early schedule paying off for Owls

By Ted Hutton
Staff Writer
Posted October 8 2005


Florida Atlantic players were rewarded with an extra day off for beating Louisiana-Lafayette 28-10 Thursday for the Owls' first win of the season.

Coach Howard Schnellenberger gave himself a couple extra hours off, too, not coming to the office until 2 p.m. Friday after the team buses arrived on the Boca Raton campus around 4 a.m.

"It was a really good outing for us," Schnellenberger said of the win, which kept alive FAU's hopes in the Sun Belt Conference, as the Owls (1-5) are 1-1 with five conference games remaining.

"It lifts the spirits of everyone around the program to get this win," Schnellenberger said.

"It validates the idea that after playing four top-of-the-line, out-of-conference teams beginning the year, we can now come to the Sun Belt and play well."

FAU, which trailed 10-7 early in the fourth quarter, scored the most points of the season (28) and had the most total yards (430), while scoring 21 points in the final period for the comeback win.

The defense shut down the Ragin' Cajuns (1-4, 0-1) after spotting them to a 10-0 lead midway through the first quarter.

After giving up 109 yards on the Cajuns' first two drives, the Owls limited Louisiana-Lafayette to 112 total yards the rest of the game.

On the 11 possessions after the first two, the Cajuns had nine drives of three plays or less. Their most productive drive netted 56 yards, and the next best was 13 yards.

FAU held the Cajuns to 15 yards in the second quarter, 54 in the third and 43 in the fourth.

The defense gave up the least amount of points, rushing yards (170), passing yards (47) and total yards (217) this season.

After gaining 142 yards in the first half, the Owls gained 147 in the third quarter and 141 in the fourth.

"That's the way you want to win, taking command as the game progresses," Schnellenberger said.

Quarterback Danny Embick, who threw for three touchdowns and ran for another, said the way FAU won gave the team a big boost heading into the Oct. 15 game against Middle Tennessee. The Blue Raiders (1-3) handed Vanderbilt its first loss last Saturday.

"We have plenty to build on," Embick said. "Now we have a run game going, a pass game going. Everything just worked out good."