Smith not the only player to struggle

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Saturday, September 20, 2008

MINNEAPOLIS FAU quarterback Rusty Smith threw four interceptions in Saturday's 37-3 loss to Minnesota, but he wasn't the only culprit in the Owls' woeful performance.

Lester Jean dropped a long first-quarter pass and in the second quarter. Chris Bonner, who was alone in the end zone, couldn't come up with a pass that was right in his hands.

After managing just one field goal in its past two games, FAU (1-3) is talking about an offensive overhaul before its next game Sept. 30 at Middle Tennessee.

"It's been a rough two weeks for us," receiver Cortez Gent said. "I don't know if last week's game carried over, but we just need to rededicate ourselves."

Coach Howard Schnellenberger was reluctant to blame the offense solely.

"I'm also concerned about the defense and the special teams," Schnellenberger said. "It was my judgment that our team was ready to come in here and compete and have a chance to win."

Polo records first interception

One of the lone bright spots for the Owls was sophomore defensive back Tavious Polo's first interception of the season.

Polo, who led the Owls with seven interceptions last season, intercepted a pass in the end zone early in the second quarter, ending a Gophers drive.

It was Polo's fourth interception in two games against Minnesota. He tied a school record with three when the teams met last season.

"I just read the quarterback and made a break on the ball," Polo said.

Polo said the Gophers' offense frustrated FAU's defense.

"Everything they wanted to do, they did," he said. "We just couldn't stop it."

Minnesota finds motivation

FAU found out quickly this wasn't the same Minnesota team that finished 1-11 last season and lost 42-39 to the Owls.

"You try and forget about last year, but it's always in the back of your mind, the feeling that you had after that loss, and use that as motivation for today," Minnesota defensive end Willie VanDeSteeg said.

The victory gave the Gophers, who begin Big Ten play next week at Ohio State, a 4-0 mark for the first time since 2005.

News and notes


  • A 6-yard run by Rusty Smith on the last play of the first quarter was the longest run of his career.



  • The game was the last of the schools' three-game series. Minnesota won twice (2005 and 2008) and FAU once (2007).