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Today at No. 118: FAU Coach: Charlie Partridge (3-9, entering second season, 3-9 overall) 2014 record: 3-9, 2-6 in Conference USA, seventh in C-USA...

college football winnerToday at No. 118: FAU

Coach: Charlie Partridge (3-9, entering second season, 3-9 overall)

2014 record: 3-9, 2-6 in Conference USA, seventh in C-USA East

Look back: FAU coach Charlie Partridge was lauded for his recruiting efforts during his first season, but it clearly was going to take time for his team to master his scheme. FAU opened the year with back-to-back blowout losses at Nebraska and Alabama. The Owls later failed to show sharp mental focus, with miscues contributing to four losses by three points or less.

Offensive starters returning: 6

Offensive starters lost: 5

Defensive starters returning: 6

Defensive starters lost: 5

Key losses: WR/KR Lucky Whitehead, WR William Dukes, TE Alex DeLeon, RT Braden Lyons, LB Andrae Kirk, SS Damian Parms, FS Christian Milstead, CB/PR D’Joun Smith

Top returnees: QB Jaquez Johnson, WR Jenson Stoshak, LT Reggie Bain, LG Mikingson Marsaille, RG Dillon DeBoer, RB Jay Warren, DT Trevon Coley, DT Brandin Bryant, DE Robinson Eugene, LB Freedom Whitfield, LB Robert Relf, CB Cre’Von LeBlanc

Strengths: Quarterback Jaquez Johnson returns to anchor the offense after passing for 2,215 yards and 17 touchdowns last season. He also rushed for 513 yards and seven touchdowns. The offensive line struggled a bit last season, putting more pressure on Johnson. Partridge is counting on UCF transfer Kelly Parfitt to help boost the line after a strong spring.

Senior cornerback Cre’Von LeBlanc is expected to be a key leader on defense. He is the team’s top returning tackler (71 stops in 2014)

Weaknesses: FAU loses some key leaders and playmakers on offense who helped support Johnson, including receiver Lucky Whitehead and tight end Alex DeLeon. On the defensive side of the ball, departed players Andrae Kirk, Damian Parms and D’Joun Smith all were important contributors for the Owls.

FAU struggled on both sides of the ball last season, ranking No. 101 in total offense (361 ypg) and No. 110 in total defense (460.8 ypg).

Outlook: Partridge praised his players for working to get into better shape during the offseason and picking up the pace during spring drills. However, the Owls face the tough task of trying to replace a handful of athletes with big-play potential while improving in pretty much every aspect of the game.

2015 schedule

Sept. 5 at Tulsa

Sept. 11 Miami

Sept. 19 Buffalo

Sept. 26 at Charlotte

Oct. 10 Rice

Oct. 17 Marshall

Oct. 24 at UTEP

Oct. 31 FIU

Nov. 7 at Western Kentucky

Nov. 14 Middle Tennessee

Nov. 21 at Florida

Nov. 28 at Old Dominion

Vincent Rizzo

College Football / College Basketball Handicapper. 2011 won 74%, 2012 won 72% 2015 SPECIAL. CALL, 877.WIN.ATS9 EMAIL,V@VincentRizzoSports.com

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