Owls face must-win game against Troy

Before Tuesday's game against Middle Tennessee, Owls players were saying that it was a must-win game because it was the conference opener.

After losing 14-13, this Tuesday's game against Sun Belt foe Troy truly is a must-win game if FAU is going to win its second straight conference title.

Only once since the Sun Belt began play in 2001 has a team with two losses won the conference, and that was in 2005 then it was a three-way tie between Arkansas State, Louisiana-Lafayette and Louisiana-Monroe.

If FAU loses to Troy (2-2, 1-0), the Owls would have to win out and then get a lot of help if they were to get a return trip to the New Orleans Bowl.

TURNOVERS WAY UP: Statistically speaking, FAU is headed for a dismal season, especially when compared to what the Owls were able to do last year, when they finished 8-5.

A key one is turnover margin. Last year FAU was plus-18, and this year they are minus-9, with seven interceptions and six lost fumbles offset by just four takeaways.

"We are not getting turnovers we got a year ago. We are not executing the way we did, that's the way it is," coach Howard Schnellenberger said after the loss to MTSU.

Against MTSU, FAU had two costly fumbles, one at the MTSU goal line, and the other at the Blue Raider's 26.

FAU is averaging 15 points per game after putting up 31.2 per game last season.

Rusty Smith is averaging 67 fewer yards passing per game than last year, and has not thrown a touchdown pass in the last three games.

Smith had 32 touchdown passes last year, with nine interceptions, and this year he has four touchdowns and seven interceptions in five games.

"Turnovers, lack of forcing turnovers and penalties have taken the sting out of our offense," Schnellenberger said.