Owls still healthy after rout by UF

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

BOCA RATON Florida Atlantic's pride may have been hurt in Saturday's 59-20 loss at Florida, but health-wise, the Owls escaped unscathed.

"There were no bodies in the body bags," FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger said.


Any injuries would have been costly to the Owls, who still are alive in the race for the Sun Belt Conference championship and FAU was hoping to not lose any more players this year in a non-conference game that didn't have any bearing on FAU's bowl chances. But Schnellenberger didn't think facing No. 14 Florida meant his players would be getting hurt.

"I think we've established there is no correlation to the age of your program and the number of injuries you have," Schnellenberger said.

"It really doesn't matter if you are the No 1. team in the nation or No. 113 when it comes to injuries."

The only starter who was banged up in the loss was starting running back B.J. Manley, who sprained his left ankle in the first half of the game and watched from the sideline in the second half.

Manley said his ankle feels find and he will practice this week and play Saturday when the Owls (5-5, 4-1 Sun Belt) face the Golden Panthers (0-10, 0-5) in the Shula Bowl at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Orange Bowl.

"It's just a small sprain and I'll be ready by Saturday," Manley said.

Big win for Sun Belt: Schnellenberger said he had mixed emotions after the Sun Belt's Louisiana-Monroe defeated Alabama 21-14 Saturday.

"I like it because it's another win for the Sun Belt Conference," Schnellenberger said. "I dislike it because it was Alabama - one of the loves of my life. From a professional standpoint, I thought it was a wonderful thing that they accomplished."

The Warhawks' victory against the Crimson Tide was the third time a Sun Belt team has defeated a BCS-conference team. This season, FAU defeated Minnesota and Troy beat Oklahoma State.

Noteworthy: Schnellenberger will hold a coaches' breakfast at 8 a.m. today at the Oxley Center. ... Second-team defensive lineman Dino Cox, who has seen significant playing time, sprained his left shoulder in practice.