Schnellenberger says FAU glad to finally come home for WKU

Brad Stephens

Perhaps no team in college football has had a tougher start than Florida Atlantic.

The Owls have played their first five games on the road and have lost all five, including two Sun Belt Conference contests.

Saturday’s matchup with WKU will be their first home contest of the season, and their first ever at their brand-new stadium.

Head Coach Howard Schnellenberger said on Monday’s Sun Belt coaches’ call that he’ll be looking for a better performance against the Toppers than how his team played Saturday in a 31-17 road loss to North Texas.

“Again, we left a game without making a major challenge for it,” he said. “Very disappointed in the start, but we look forward to coming home and dedicating our campus stadium against Western Kentucky at 4 o’clock here this coming Saturday.”

The Owls may have to do so without their starting quarterback, Graham Wilbert.

Wilbert injured his throwing arm Saturday against the Mean Green, and Schnellenberger said his junior signal caller’s status against the Toppers is up in the air.

“Graham looks like he’s going to be questionable for the game, and of course he hasn’t had a really productive game as of yet,” Schnellenberger said. “So we have a lot of uncertainty at this juncture.”

Wilbert is 68-of-135 for 627 yards this year, with four touchdowns and seven interceptions for the 0-5 Owls.

If Wilbert can’t play, David Kooi will likely start against the Toppers.

Kooi, who saw significant playing time in the second half of FAU’s loss to North Texas Saturday, is 9-of-14 this season for 89 yards and one touchdown.

Either Wilbert of Kooi will be expected to lead an offense that ranks No. 115 out of 120 Football Bowl Subdivision teams with a 13.6 points per game average.

“Where we’ve come up short has been due to a combination of running backs, line and receivers, along with the tight ends,” Schnellenberger said. 

When asked if the Owls “would play a little looser” in their first home game, Schnellenberger replied “I don’t think there’s much playing loose when you’re 0-5.”

“We’ll be about as uptight as you can be, coming home here to play in a stadium that everyone is so excited and happy with,” he said. “Our offense is probably going to have to slug it out and be there at the end and find a way to win.”