Owls are focused in on rival Middle Tennessee

Boca Raton - Following another intense practice Saturday afternoon, it appears the Owls are focused in on Middle Tennessee, who they face Tuesday on ESPN2 in FAU's conference opener.

But if anyone was overlooking the Blue Raiders (1-3, 0-2), Maryland's 20-17 upset of No. 20 Clemson Saturday should eliminate that.

MTSU's only win this season was over the Terrapins, a 24-14 win in Murfreesboro. Maryland is now 4-1 with the win over Clemson, and that magnifies the Blue Raiders' accomplishment.

FAU (1-3) is familiar with MTSU, as this will be the sixth game against the Raiders, with FAU holding a 3-2 edge in the series.

"They are a great offense," said FAU linebacker Frantz Joseph about MTSU. "They have a lot of veteran players," Joseph said, mentioning quarterback Joe Craddock, running backs Desmond Gee and Phillip Tanner and receiver Patrick Honeycutt.

"They are explosive and have a lot of talent," Joseph said.

To get ready, the Owls have ratcheted up the intensity of its practices this week.

"It's conference play. You definitely have to step up. It is win or go home," Joseph said after Saturday's practice.

"You have to practice hard to play hard," said tight end Jamari Grant.

Coach Howard Schnellenberger was pleased with the effort the team has shown this week.

"I think they want to do everything they think is necessary to start producing points like we should and not allowing as many as we have," Schnellenberger said.