Troy, FAU: A tale of two teams
Saturday's matchup between Troy University and Florida Atlantic University is a tale of two teams.
The Trojans have reeled off 25 wins in their last 26 games at Movie Gallery Veterans Stadium, while the Owls have won 13 straight games away from Lockhart Stadium.
The Trojans know how to win at
home, and the Owls are more than capable of winning on the road.
"We look at playing on the road as an advantage," Florida Atlantic University head football coach Howard Schnellenberger said. "There are less distractions. It's just your team. You're together when you get on the bus, on the airplane and on the way to the stadium. For a day and a half it's just the team being together. You don't have to worry about who needs tickets, or who's calling the night before the game. You just get together and have a chance to focus on the game."
That philosophy has served the Owls, who have tallied a 6-1 mark in their Division I-A transition year, well.
"We have been successful because of the kids that make up this program," Schnellenberger said. "This is a special group. They came here when there wasn't a team. When we didn't have a locker room. There wasn't a place to hang a jock strap. They came here on a dream. There wasn't a tradition here. These kids came here to build a tradition."
The Owls haven't taken steps in that direction - they have taken leaps.
Florida Atlantic opened their Division I-A campaign by scoring a road win over Hawaii, a feat that didn't go unnoticed by the Trojans and much of the college football world.
"They're a good team," senior center Lee Milliner said. "They know how to win on the road. They've already beaten Hawaii and North Texas on the road and neither of those places are easy places to win at."
On the flip side, the Trojans feel invincible inside the friendly confines of Movie Gallery Veterans Stadium.
"We don't want to lose at home," senior running back Jermaine Richardson said. "We feel like we can beat anyone who comes in here."
Schnellenberger would love to be able to argue that point with Richardson, but even the coach of the Owls is unsure how his team will match up with the Trojans and particularly the Troy defensive unit.
"I don't know how we match up with them," Schnellenberger said. "They are certainly going to be the best defense we have played up until this juncture. They've won a lot of games with their defense and it's easy to see why. They rank in the top 10 nationally in several categories. They rank high in all those good things like takeaways and sacks and some other things. They'll challenge us."
Schnellenberger also believes that his defense will have to play an instrumental role in Saturday's game if the Owls are going to extend their road winning streak.
"We don't intend to change anything," Schnellenberger said. "We're going to have to stop their running game. I don't think it's really a matter of Troy not being able to pass the ball as much as it is them not having to pass. They have a big, physical back that's tough to bring down, and they use him effectively. I'm confident in our defense, though. I think they have been playing well of late."
The Trojans and the Owls will kickoff at 2:30 p.m. CST at Movie Gallery Veterans Stadium.