FORT LAUDERDALE · After FAU's
27-0 win over Arkansas State, coach Howard Schnellenberger talked about moving
defensive back Kris Bartels to fullback.
And he was only half kidding.
In addition to playing every down on defense, Bartels returned two kickoffs
for 89 yards and returned an interception for 50 more.
"He has found the light, the spirit and the way," Schnellenberger said. "Get the ball, find a hole, get through the hole as fast as you can, and hurl your body at the shoulders of those who are trying to impede your progress."
Bartels, a junior who walked on at FAU after not starting his senior year at Chaminade-Madonna High, had a much simpler explanation.
"I just find a little seam and hit it," Bartels said.
"He looks like a speedboat going through a school of tuna and leaving them in the wake," said Schnellenberger. "He has been an inspiration to the team. When you get a couple kids who are playing with that intensity and that much production, it inspires those that aren't playing quite at that level."
After being shut out by Louisiana-Lafayette 6-0 in its last game, FAU's offensive line was criticized.
Saturday, the line came out with a different attitude.
"We looked deep down in ourselves and said we had to start playing with our hearts instead of our minds. Just go out there and hit somebody in the mouth and just play physical football," said offensive lineman Nello Faulk.
The line was still missing the two starters that were out against the Ragin' Cajuns but showed it had made a lot of progress.
"We just held our blocks longer. The line as a whole did real good, letting running backs make their cuts," said freshman David Matlock, making his second start at center in place of Nick Paris.
SMALL'S BIG GAME
FAU had five interceptions Saturday, with sophomore defensive back Corey Small hauling in a team-record three. Small returned the last one for a 22-yard touchdown.
"That third one felt good, especially the touchdown part," said Small.
"We knew he was a good corner, but didn't know he would have his coming-out party all at once," Schnellenberger said.