Who:Florida Atlantic Owls School Location: Boca Raton, Florida School Colors: Blue and Red
2008 Record: 7-6 National Ranking: Unranked Conference:Sun Belt
Head Coach:Howard Schnellenberger (Kentucky, 1956): 48-48 in 11th season as head coach at Florida Atlantic; 148-25-3 overall as a head coach. Defensive Coordinator:Kirk Hoza
When: Saturday, Sept. 5, 6 p.m. Where: Tom Osborne Field - Memorial Stadium (81,067) TV: Pay Per View Radio: Husker Sports Network
Series Record: First Meeting. Base Defensive Formation: 4-3
On the Line: Just one starter returns for the Owls on the defensive line with fifth-year senior Josh Savidge (6-2, 285) returning at tackle. Savidge, who had 28 tackles last fall while starting all 13 games, is joined on the inside by sophomore Jarvis Givens (6-3, 305) this season. Coming off the edges will be defensive ends Kevin Cyrille (6-4, 275), a transfer from Western Michigan and Daniel Joseph (6-1, 250), a former walk-on who recorded two sacks last season.
Linebackers: It's hard to replace the nation's second leading tackler but that's just what junior Michael Lockley (6-3, 245) will have to do when he takes over the spot vacated by former All-Sun Belt linebacker Frantz Joseph. Lockley is the only returning Owl linebacker with starting experience having made his first career start in the Owls' Motor City Bowl victory over Central Michigan last December. Fifth-year senior Edward Bradwell (6-1, 227) will pair with Malik Eugene (6-3, 240) at the outside linebacker spots.
In the Secondary: The Owls return a pair of talented corners in Tavoris Hill (6, 170) and Tavious Polo (5-11, 175) who have a combined nine career interceptions. Polo will also double as the team's punt returner. Ed Alexander (6-1, 181) returns as the Owl's top free safety after picking off three passes and making 42 tackles a year ago. Sophomore Austen Jensen (6-2, 200) appears to be the front runner for the strong safety spot.
Punting the Ball: Senior Keegan Peterson punted in all 13 games a year ago averaging just over 38 yards per boot and landing 20 inside the opponents 20 yard line.
***The Owls surrendered 178.6 yards rushing (98th nationally) and 221.69 passing (81st nationally) per game last season to rank 92nd nationally in total defense at just over 400 yards per game. The Owls were 81st in scoring defense giving up 28.69 points per game.
***The Owls recorded just 13 sacks as a team a year ago to rank 112th out of 119 teams nationally.
***The Owls were scorched on defense for games of 507, 512, 482, 482, 441 and 432 yards last season.
***Defensive coordinator Kirk Hoza is the only coach to ever hold that title in the 10-year history of the Florida Atlantic football program.
Florida Atlantic Players in the NFL: Joseph Frantz, LB Oakland; Jervonte Jackson, DT Philadelphia.
Florida Atlantic Schedule Sept. 5 - @ Nebraska Sept. 19 - @ South Carolina Sept. 26 - Louisiana Monroe Oct. 3 - Wyoming Oct. 17 - @ North Texas Oct. 24 - @ Louisiana Lafayette Oct. 31 - Middle Tennessee Nov. 7 - @ UAB Nov. 14 - Arkansas State Nov. 21 - @ Troy Nov. 28 - Western Kentucky Dec. 5 - @ Florida International