FAU notebook: Charles Pierre determined not to go down easily

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Florida Atlantic coach Howard Schnellenberger credits Charles Pierre's emergence this season for his ability to shake off the last tackler.

"For the first time since he's been here he's eluded the last tackler a couple of times," Schnellenberger said. "The only thing that's kept him from being a one-of-a-kind running back is he hasn't been able to get past that last defender. That's where all these great backs compile their yardage."

Pierre had 140 yards in Saturday's 46-13 thrashing of North Texas, giving him 734 on the season.

Pierre, though, has 414 yards in the past three games - or since he finally shook the effects of the turf toe he suffered at Minnesota. The Owls (4-5) have won all three after losing four in a row.

"Those games that we lost I wasn't really involved because of the turf toe," Pierre said. "We're just getting healthy and making the decision to run the ball and open things up."

If not for the injury, Pierre easily would have topped his career best of 782 yards set last season.

Pierre and the offense received a boost from Avery Holley, who had his best game of the season with three catches for 40 yards. He entered with season totals of four receptions for 38 yards.

Holley, a third-year sophomore, has played in seven games after missing the 2007 season because of a torn ACL.

"He's got a lot of natural instincts," Schnellenberger said of the 6-foot, 150-pound Holley. "He was about the size of Twiggy, now he's a lot bigger and he's getting a little stronger and he's getting better and he's good."

Noteworthy: FAU's season may hinge on the defense's ability to the stop the run Saturday when the Owls face Sun Belt Conference leader Louisiana-Lafayette. The Ragin' Cajuns are third in the nation with 289.9 rushing yards per game and are led by senior Tyrell Fenroy, who is fifth in nation with 130.8 yards per game. The Owls are allowing 184.3 rushing yards per game, which is 97th in the nation. ... Game balls from Saturday went to Cortez Gent (offense), Andre Clark (defense) and Austin Jensen (special teams).