Scouting Report: Florida Atlantic

After a 56-28 beat down of East Carolina on the road, Navy (5-3) returns home for a match up with the 2-6 Florida Atlantic Owls. FAU is on the upswing after a brutal schedule that included away games at top ranked Alabama and Georgia.

FAU recently won their first conference victory against Sun Belt opponent Troy University 34-27. The Owls saw an 11-point fourth quarter lead disappear with 1:49 remaining when Troy took a one point lead. FAU signal caller Graham Wilbert quickly marched the Owls down the field with a string of completions before hitting William Dukes for the game winning 22-yard touchdown pass.

Junior running back Jonathan Wallace led FAU with 87 yards rushing on 24 carries. Redshirt junior Nexon Dorvilus lead the team with 7 receptions for 78 yards and two scores. William Dukes added 6 catches for 41 yards receiving and a score and senior receiver Byron Hankerson added 5 catches for 56 yards receiving. Junior free safety Winfred Strickland pulled in his first career interception and added 6 tackles. Senior safety Brent Harstad had an outstanding day with a team-high 15 tackles.

Quarterback Graham Wilbert leads the recently installed spread offense with 1,570 yards passing and 12 touchdowns; the redshirt senior has completed 160 for 245 pass attempts with three interceptions. The Owls offense has recently started to bloom with Wilbert completing 53 for 81 completions for 6 touchdowns in the last two games. FAU racked up 461 total yards of offense in the 37-34 double-overtime loss at South Alabama, and 421 yards of offense last week against Troy.

Junior running back Jonathan Wallace rushed for a career-high 101 rushing yards against South Alabama, leading the team with 382 yards rushing and two scores. Redshirt junior Damian Fortner is second on the team, with 260 yards on 72 carries and two touchdowns. Junior Martese Jackson has also seen action in six games, with 45 carries for 216 yards rushing and a score.

FAU's offensive line paves the way for a stable of Owl running backs that average 4.9 yards per carry. The Owl's front five are all upper classmen led by standout left guard Andrew Czuprynski--who has 32 career starts and has not missed a start since the beginning of the 2010 season. Senior right guard Ricaldo Henry has started all eight games for the Owls through the 2012 season. DeAndre Williams and Joseph Bailey anchor the line at the tackle positions with center Mustafa Johnson transferring from Riverside Community College to assist the group.

Sophomore William Dukes leads the team FAU receiving corps with 34 catches for 480 yards receiving and two scores. Junior college transfer Daniel McKinney has made an instant impact in his first season with the Owls, with 27 receptions for 261 yards receiving.

Senior receiver Byron Hankerson recorded his first career touchdown in the opener against Wagner, and has added 22 receptions for 300 yards and two scores this season. Junior tight end Nexon Dorvilus leads the team with four touchdowns on 21 receptions and 207 yards. The Owls will also use redshirt sophomore Alex Deleon in two tight end sets. Deleon recorded his first career touchdown at Alabama and has 12 catches for 68 yards this season.

The Owls 4-3 defense is led by senior safety Brent Harstad who tops the team with 71 tackles--including 2 for a loss, a sack, and 2 forced fumbles. Winfred Strickland has started the last three games for the Owls, and done well with 18 tackles and an interception. FAU will also mix in with a 4-2-5 defense with freshman Cre'von LeBlanc handling the nickleback position. LeBlanc has performed well with 27 tackles, including 18 solo tackles, and three passes defended.

Cornerback Keith Reaser had an interception against North Texas and has started all eight games for the Owls with 28 tackles and 2 passes defended. Opposite Reaser, sophomore D'Joun Smith has been excellent in eight starts with 20 tackles, an interception, and a team-high 8 passes defended.

The Owls start a pair of freshman on the defensive line in Brandin Bryant and Trevon Coley. Coley leads the paid with 25 tackles, including 2½ for a loss, and 1½ sacks; while Bryant has started five games for the Owls with 17 tackles and 3 tackles for a loss.

Senior David Baptiste and junior Cory Henry handle the end position with Henry holding down the spot at right defensive end over the last two seasons. In five starts, Henry has posted 16 tackles, including 2½ for a loss, and a team-high 2 sacks for the Owls.

Junior Adarius Glanton has produced well after transferring from Eastern Arizona Community College and is third on the team with 52 tackles, including 5 for a loss, a sack, and an interception.

After leading the team in tackles in 2011, middle linebacker David Hinds is second on the team with 68 tackles, including a team-high 5½ tackles for loss, with a sack, and two forced fumbles. Hinds is sixth in the Sun Belt, averaging 8½ tackles per game and has started in all eight contests. Sophomore linebacker Andrae Kirk has started three games for the Owls and is fifth on the team with 43 tackles, 2 for a loss, and a forced fumble.

FAU opponents are averaging 31.1 points per game against the Owls and 201.8 rushing yards per game. The Mids will once again get a chance to face a team that leans on its passing game with the Owls averaging 200.9 passing yards per game.

Redshirt junior Mitch Anderson has had a three kicks blocked this year and is 4 for 8 from field goal range, with a long kick of 47 yards last week against Troy. FAU true freshman punter Sean Kelly ranks ninth in the Sun Belt, averaging 39.2 yards per punt.

Cornerback D'Joun Smith returns kicks for the Owls, averaging 21.8 yards per kick return with a long return of 32 yards. Redshirt junior Travis Jones is fifth in the Sun Belt, averaging 5.3 yards per punt return.

Navy has a great chance to finish 4-0 in its remaining games with matchups at Troy (4-4, 3-3) and against Texas State (3-4, 1-1 WAC), before the Army-Navy game on December 8th. The Mids will first have to take care of business at home against an up and coming Florida Atlantic squad that has improved drastically over the last few games by limiting offensive turnovers.






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