Oct. 24, 2012
Saturday is literally homecoming on two fronts for the Florida Atlantic Owls football team, as they return home for the first time in 28 days, and celebrate 2012 Homecoming at the FAU Football Stadium.
The Owls’ opponent is the 4-3 Troy Trojans, who moved above .500 in Sun Belt Conference play at 3-2 with a major comeback victory last week. They trailed FIU 37-21 with 7:57 to play in the third quarter before winning on a 42-yard field goal with 11 seconds left, 38-37. FAU head coach Carl Pelini spoke about the Trojans, and what momentum they bring into the Saturday’s game.
“They have a lot of speed, they can run, even their front guys can run,” said Pelini. “It’s a great speed team, and they’re a physical football team. I was reading about their game, they felt like that comeback against FIU kind of saved their season. It’ll be a hard challenge for us. I think anytime you get an adrenaline boost like that, off a big comeback, it makes a team even more hungry the next week.”
Meanwhile, in Mobile, Alabama last Saturday, the Owls were on the other side of the scoreboard, leading 31-17 with under six minutes left in the game over South Alabama, but fell to the Jaguars in double overtime, 37-34. They’re now 1-6, 0-4 in the conference.
The Owls’ offense was seemingly turning on all cylinders as they took the lead through three-plus quarters of play, and Pelini credited a new vantage point for his offensive coordinator, Brian Wright, as part of the reason for that.
“I thought the step forward was, the execution was really good,” he said. “Guys were running really crisp routes, (quarterback) Graham (Wilbert) was making good reads and the protection was good for the most part. I just think we were operating at a really high level for a good portion of that game. I think it helps that Brian came down to the sidelines. Having a young team, without a lot of confidence, I think having him down there was really good for us.”
As the week began, Pelini took the time to speak to his team about how to handle such a heartbreaking loss, and has been pleased with their resolve, especially after a “great first practice” on Tuesday.
“I spent a lot of time with them on Sunday and Monday talking about the process,” he said. “If you’re down by 14 or up by 14, your play shouldn’t change, you don’t lose focus. You don’t really think about the score. It’s the same thing, coming off a loss or coming off a win. Your approach the next week has got to be the same. Hopefully, we’re starting to educate them, and at least, they’re trying to buy into that philosophy, which is a good sign.”
Game time at the FAU Football Stadium is 5 p.m. on Homecoming Saturday. In addition to festivities throughout the weekend, there will also be discounted apparel on sale. Selected shirts will be two for $10, and there will be other specially priced items starting at $7.99.
As always, live statistics and audio can be found at www.FAUSports.com.