Nov. 7, 2012
Our office is responsible for writing the releases detailing future schedules. A few years back I received the great news that FAU was scheduled to play at the United States Naval Academy twice and that they would be coming to FAU once. Despite what players and coaches say, everyone has a game on the schedule they are looking forward to, this one was mine. I had accompanied men's basketball to Navy years ago and found the campus beautiful and the people fascinating.
As the game inched closer (2011), I began to understand just how hard it would be to prepare for a game against Navy. As we moved into 2012 and they changed quarterbacks, I knew it would be a tough task, especially for FAU that is going through a lot of changes as well. Super Storm Sandy hit and selfishly I wondered if we would play and we all wondered how cold it would be.
The game went off without a hitch, but what do you expect from a service academy. The hospitality was fantastic from one of the best sports information directors in the country. John from WING radio invited FAU's play-by-play announcer, Ken LaVicka to join him during pregame as well as FAU Athletic Director Pat Chun. The duo spent more than 30 minutes talking about FAU athletics, the things to come and the football program itself. At the half President Mary Jane Saunders joined the show for more than 10 minutes. When it was all said and done the Owls were on the air for nearly 45 minutes describing the many wonderful aspects of FAU to more than 101 stations. FAU's game also aired on CBS Sports and what a great and entertaining game. The halftime show featured former FAU Head Coach Howard Schnellenberger.
Even though the game was probably the best four quarters the Owls have played this season, really showing how disciplined they have become, sometimes it was hard to pay attention to why we were there. Trying to make my way from the TV booth back to the press box, I was cornered on the field as the Midshipmen marched onto the field. From the top of the stadium it looked like they were cued forever. Once on the field, fans were treated to a flyover.
The Owls took the field and were greeted by the largest FAU crowd to follow the team. There were football alums, like 2011 seniors Max Karrick ('07-'11 currently in law school) and Mickey Groody ('07-'11 currently a teacher and football coach) who joined former kicker Keegan Petterson ('06-'09 currently in sales) who currently lives in the area. I'm sure former punters Groody and Peterson appreciated Mitch Anderson's 53-yard, program long tying kick. Ben Coker ('01-'04 currently a fire fighter in Connecticut) a member of the inaugural team was also on hand.
But the alum that everyone asked about the week leading up to the game was Alfred Morris, current NFL Washington Redskin running back. Morris did make it to the game. He spent most of the first quarter on the field taking photos and watching the game. He spent most of the second quarter taking photos with fans and really only got to see about five minutes of the game (real time not game clock time). Thanks to all the alumni for building the program and continuing to follow the program they started.
The game ended with solemn faces on the players, but smile on the faces of fans that had now recognized how far this team had come since December of 2011. The Owls have three games to play. They will be on the road this week, watch them if you can, follow them on the radio if you can but definitely join them 8 p.m. Friday, November 16 when the Owls play host to the 2012 Shula Bowl, the last time FAU and FIU will face off as Sun Belt Conference members. The game will air on ESPNU and it will also be Military Appreciation themed. Members of the military with an ID and a game ticket will be treated to a free pregame meal.
Well, that is enough from me. You can tell that the game was all I could have imagined, except a win. I hope you enjoyed the photos.