FAU to face 'big brother'

 

 

Florida Atlantic patterned the start to its football program after the South Florida model.

On Saturday, the Owls will play host to football mentor USF at the Bulls' highest point in their program's brief history.

"We think of (USF) as our older brother," FAU coach Howard Schnellenbergersaid. "From the beginning, we looked to see how they put it together. We followed them as a blueprint of how to start a football team.  

"Now our problem is that they've grown in stature beyond their years."

USF, now ranked No. 6, is coming off a monumental win over West Virginia last week.

USF, located in Tampa, Fla., is in its 11th year of football existence, moving to Division I-A in 2001. The Bulls joined Conference USA in 2003 and the Big East in 2005. FAU, in Boca Raton, Fla., began its football program in 2001 and joined the Sun Belt Conference in 2005.

Florida International, located in Miami, would also like to follow USF's path.

"(USF) is a great example of how it can happen, and they've got a buzz going," FIU coach Mario Cristobal said. "But few people realize the struggles they had to go through. We're in our infancy and have the same ingredients as they did."

Top performers

Arkansas State quarterback Corey Leonard (offense) and kick/punt returner Kevin Jones (special teams) each garnered Sun Belt Player of the Week awards their efforts in the Indians' 35-31 comeback win over Memphis last Thursday.

Leonard had 329 passing yards and three second-half touchdowns, both career highs. Jones broke an 89-yard punt return for a TD to spark ASU's rally from a 31-6 halftime deficit.

Carrying the load

With junior tailback Tyrell Fenroy out with an ankle injury, junior quarterback Michael Desormeaux took on even more of the offensive burden in a 37-19 loss at UCF Saturday.

Desormeaux gained 92 yards rushing and threw for 154 yards and a touchdown. He is the nation's leading rushing quarterback at 102.8 yards per game.

"He gave a great effort," ULL coach Rickey Bustle told The Daily Advertiser, referring to Desormeaux's play. "He had some good throws and he scrambled well. It's a shame he has to do so much. We protected pretty well until right at the end, but he kept us going and made some plays."

What gives?

UL-Monroe's defense handled Troy's offense better than any opponent this season, but the offense was a no-show. The Warhawks allowed just 17 points in a 24-7 loss, with Troy's first touchdown coming on Boris Lee's 28-yard interception return.

ULM senior tailback Calvin Dawson gained 159 yards on 20 carries and has eclipsed the 100-yard mark in nine straight games. However, junior quarterback Kinsmon Lancaster threw for just 114 yards and the costly interception.

Wrong place, time

North Texas picked the wrong circumstances to face Arkansas Saturday when it was beaten 66-7. The Razorbacks were coming off back-to-back painful losses to Kentucky and Alabama.

Arkansas running backs Darren McFadden, Felix Jones and Brandon Barnett all rushed for more than 100 yards as the Razorbacks racked up 446 on the ground.

"We didn't play nearly as well as I had expected us to (Saturday night)," UNT coach Todd Dodge said. "Give credit to Arkansas for having their ducks in a row. It is obvious that losing 66-7 is tough, but we had our chances to grab momentum and keep that from happening. We just did not execute."

Defense responds

A week after Troy coach Larry Blakeney said the Trojan defense couldn't tackle his sister, the group responded in a 24-7 win over UL-Monroe.

Sophomore linebacker Boris Lee set the defensive tone with an early 28-yard interception return for a touchdown. The Trojans did allow 159 yards rushing to Calvin Dawson but just 303 yards overall.

"This was a great win. I've never been a part of any bad wins," Blakeney said. "This was a three-phase win. The defense came from low performances to playing well (Saturday night)."