Sept 20, 2003
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - The prelude to the game pitting Florida Atlantic University (2-2) and Youngstown State University (2-2), which is ranked as high as no. 32 in one poll and receiving votes in another, was billed around a defense. YSU was not only FAU's first Division I-AA opponent of the 2003 season they were also the first predominately running team the Owls would face. For the first time in the program's three-year history, FAU had the more experienced defense and they prevailed with a 13-6 final, Saturday night.
"It is hard to put a calculation on how big and important this game was," FAU Head Coach Howard Schnellenberger said following the game. "A year ago, they physically gave us a real whipping. It was one that hurt us badly and took us into this year and the development of the program with an attitude about some things. To come up here and not run them out of the park by any stretch of the imagination, play even with them and play better than them in the final analysis good enough to win. I don't know any body that has gotten them out of that tried and true offense as fast as our kids did today."
At game's end, the first half could be measured by the two team's kicking game. The second half saw FAU's first possession end with a Jared Allen seven-yard pass to Roosevelt Bynes standing on the "g" in the Penguins' end zone to take a 12-3 advantage. Mark Myers remained perfect, dating back to last season's Eastern Illinois game at 11, with the game's only extra point attempt.
The Penguins would close to within a touchdown, 13-6, with 9:34 remaining on a 37-yard field goal. It would also be the last score of the night.
"We know that penalties and turnovers hurt," said Jared Allen. "It is hard to bounce back from first and 25 or a big gain and then a penalty. We had a good game tonight. Offensively speaking, as far as false starts or holding it was great. That's something we have been working on that. The offensive line did a great job tonight. And the kicking team did another outstanding job."
The game began when Anthony Jackson took the opening kick 52 yards to the Penguins 48 giving FAU outstanding field position. 12 plays later Myers made good on a 22-yard field goal.
Youngstown State would answer in a similar fashion with 4:56 remaining in the second half when Nick Terracina hit a 41-yard field goal.
The score remained knotted until eight seconds remaining in the half when Myers again drove the football through the uprights. The 44-yard kick was Myers third, and longest, attempt of the season and his third connection. It concluded a four-play 33-yard drive.
Despite only six FAU players coming from outside the state of Florida sophomore offensive lineman Josh Blaylock, hails from Canfield, OH.
FAU is 6 of 8 on fourth down conversions in 2003
FAU ended jinks that saw the Owls scoreless in 2003 during the first and third quarters. Myers put three on the board with his first quarter field goal and Bynes' TD catch in the third erased zeros.
FAU's defense held YSU to six points. It is the fewest points allowed in the program's three-year history. The previous mark was nine set twice at home the inaugural season. Prior to Saturday's game the all-time low on the road was 16 against James Madison, a 16-13 loss.
Defensive End William Gray left the game in the third with a pulled hamstring and did not return. He will be evaluated on Sunday.