BOCA RATON — It's been more than 700 days since
FAU coach Carl Pelini has been at the helm for four of those losses in this, his first season as the head coach of the Owls. The losing streak didn't start with him, but it's his job to end it.
The Owls will have a chance to do so Saturday at FAU Stadium when the five-time conference champion
How the Owls came to hold the most unenviable record in the Sun Belt Conference is a hotly debated issue. Failures in recruiting by
Bad recruiting classes don't necessarily mean a lack of success, but if you ask Pelini, who inherited a team comprised of mostly players from those classes, player development in those years lacked as well.
"Hopefully we're starting to educate them," Pelini said. "I think they trust us a little more ... but we don't have that character yet."
While the Owls have been outscored 471-200 since that last Sun Belt win, there have been chances to break the streak.
Last week, FAU collapsed in the fourth quarter, surrendering 14 unanswered points in the final six minutes to
Pelini said last week's game haunted him, going as far to say that if put in the same position again he would have faked the game-winning field goal. Pelini maintains that after looking at the film, the Owls would have walked into the end zone.
But Mitch Anderson didn't throw it, and FAU's last conference victory remains its Nov. 13, 2010, win over
Before Pelini accepted the head coaching job in Boca Raton, the Owls had another close game they couldn't finish. That was an Oct. 1 matchup with Louisiana-Lafayette last season at Cajun Field.
Graham Wilbert brought the Owls back from a 14-point deficit in the final six minutes, but ULL quarterback Blaine Gautier drove the Ragin' Cajuns 65 yards down the field, setting up Brett Baer's game-winning 26-yard field goal that went through the uprights as time expired.
"For the lack of a better word, we choked. That's the only way I can put it," FAU's Jarvis Givens would say after the game.
Graham Wilbert has been at the helm of the FAU offense for 11 of the 14 losses (he missed last year's 20-0 loss to
"We're not thinking about it anymore," Wilbert said of the streak. "That was the best game we've put together so far. When we can do it for four quarters, it could be nice."