Owls fans see plenty of orange

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Saturday, November 17, 2007

GAINESVILLE The Owls were swallowed up at The Swamp.

Saturday's game was an attractive and relatively easy road trip for Florida Atlantic fans, but few headed to Florida Field for the school's first game against the Gators.

 
 

"Just looking around, it's Gator, Gator, Gator," said Mike Lansing, 30, who was tailgating with a group of FAU fans just a few blocks from Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. "It's a little intimidating, but we're not going to be scared." A tiny patch of Owls fans burrowed into the southeast corner of the stadium by game time, but they didn't get a chance to cheer until Warley Leroy kicked a 43-yard field midway through the first quarter to make it 21-3.

FAU's fans, however, were realistic as 34-point underdogs.

"We play better when we play a better team, so I don't think it will be as better," said Paul Jaeger, a junior at FAU from Sunrise.

Jaeger made the trip with more than 30 members of FAU's Sigma Phi Epsilon chapter.

"That's half our chapter, which is pretty good," he said. "The noon kickoff made it hard to tailgate, but after the game it will be better." For fans used to watching their team in front of small crowds at Lockhart Stadium, experiencing the 90,000-plus-seat Swamp was a treat in itself.

"This is probably like the best environment we've ever been in," said Ursula Chavez, 30, who graduated from FAU in 2003. "Just to be here is fun." FAU was allotted about 4,000 tickets for the game and sold about 2,000, returning the rest to Florida.

"They are all having a great time," FAU Athletic Director Craig Angelos said. "It's a great experience for our fans and for our team. To be on the same field with the national champions is great for our program."