FAU linebacker David Hinds tackles Navy fullback Noah Copeland last week. (Photo courtesy of Owl Pix)
FAU's defense held its own vs. Navy, but the Owls won't be able to use much of last week's gameplan when they go against Western Kentucky on Saturday.
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BOCA RATON – Florida Atlantic was able to keep Navy's vaunted triple-option offense in check last week by forcing the Midshipmen to make multiple adjustments.
The Owls lost 24-17, but it may have been the best game the Owls' defense has played this season.
However, FAU's defensive playbook used last week vs. Navy has been thrown overboard for the Owls' game vs. Western Kentucky at 1 p.m. Saturday in Bowling Green, Ky.
Thanks to Western Kentucky's traditional offense, FAU can't go back to very many of the formations, schemes or assignments it used last week vs. Navy.
“It’s hard to find carry-over, honestly," FAU coach Carl Pelini said. "There’s not much of what we had to do a week ago that will apply this week. ...Basically we’re in our (three-lineman) front which we use quite a bit, so there would be a few things that would carry-over, but we’re more or less putting it in the past.”
That doesn't mean everything from last week will be discarded vs. Western Kentucky.
FAU defensive coordinator Pete Rekstis said the Owls did a good job on the basics vs. Navy, which will help down the road.
“First and foremost is leveraging the football and getting off blocks,” Rekstis said. “That's something you just don't shelve. ...We're going to make sure that's still part of our gameplan.”
FAU will use similar defensive schemes to what it used vs. Alabama, Georgia and North Texas, which – like WKU – uses a conventional power offense.
One thing from last week that the Owls want to keep for the game vs. the Hilltoppers is their confidence and momentum.
“There isn't a lot you can take, but there are little things and little techniques,” said senior linebacker David Hinds. “We were motivated to show that we were a disciplined football team and for the most part, we did that.”
FAU will have its hands full trying to stop WKU junior running back Antonio Andrews.
“They have a very, very solid scheme,” Rekstis said. “They will try to get you out of your gaps with shifts and then they'll give the ball to one the better players, at least statistically, in the country. We've got to make sure we are sound and that we tackle.”
Keys To The Game: Owls @ Hilltoppers
Key For FAU
Block for Wallace: Owls RB Jonathan Wallace has 299 rushing yards in the last three games, but getting to that total vs. Western Kentucky will take a total team effort. The Hilltoppers have the top rushing defense in the Sun Belt, allowing just 120.4 yards per game.
Key For Western Kentucky
Emotional Rescue: The Hilltoppers are coming off a devastating loss to Middle Tennessee which dealt a severe blow to their Sun Belt title chances. However, Western Kentucky still has a lot to play for like a possible bowl game as long as it finishes strong,
FAU QB Graham Wilbert vs. WKU FS Jonathan Dowling: Wilbert has thrown only three interceptions this season in 280 attempts, but he needs to be careful throwing near Dowling. Dowling is tied for second nationally with five picks this season.
130: Number of all-purpose yards Hilltoppers RB Antonio Andrews needs to break the school single-season record held by Bobby Rainey, who had 2,101 in 2009.
34.2: Third-down conversion percentage (40-of-114) for FAU's opponents this season. Only Troy's 34.1 percent is better in the Sun Belt Conference.
83.3: Fourth-down conversion percentage (10-of-12) for FAU's opponents this season, the worst rate in the Sun Belt.