FAU running back Jonathan Wallace picks up yardage against Navy. (Photo courtesy of Owl Pix)
Running to the top
FAU running back Jonathan Wallace has emerged as the Owls' featured back.
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BOCA RATON - Florida Atlantic running back Jonathan Wallace's first pass attempt may be his last.
In last week's game against Navy, Wallace attempted a pass from the wildcat formation that wobbled and fell at the feet of tight end Nexon Dorvilus.
“That was a bad pass,” Wallace said while laughing Wednesday. “That was all me. I'm not going to say I slipped or the ball slipped out of my hands. The pressure was there in my face and it was just a bad pass."
Wallace's career as a passer may be limited, but as a runner, he's just getting started. And what a start it has been.
After battling a hamstring injury during pre-season training camp, Wallace took a few games to get healthy. But in the last three games, Wallace has rushed for 299 yards.
“As a skill guy, I want the ball in my hands," Wallace said. "The coaches have been doing a great job of just scheming and play calling. It just seems like everything they call is the right play at the right time. ...The offensive line is blocking and the receivers are blocking downfield. I'm just one person and there are 10 other guys out there doing their job.'
Owls coach Carl Pelini likes what he's seen out of Wallace – as long as he's not raring back to throw.
“Jonathan isn't flashy, but he's a workhorse," Pelini said. "He finds holes, he gains positive yards, he's strong and he doesn't fumble the ball. He blocks well, he protects well and does everything we ask him to do.”
FAU entered the season with a “running back by committee” approach, with Wallace, Damian Fortner, Travis Jones and Martese Jackson all splitting time and carries.
However, Wallace has been a committee of one lately and has had carries of 21, 24 and 28 in the last three games.
“We didn't go into the season saying it has to be running back by committee," Pelini said. "Coming out of the spring thinking we had a legitimate starter in Jonathan. Then the injury happened and he wasn't at full speed. Then you kind of go with your hot hands. Damian had some good games early and T-Jones had some good carries and 'Tese had some good carries while Jonathan wasn't real healthy, but as Jonathan got healthy he kind of moved back into that role we thought he'd have."