MONROE, La. (CBSMiami) – When the Florida Atlantic Owls take the field in Louisiana to face the Louisiana-Monroe Redhawks Saturday they will see a team that they hope they can one day become.
Louisiana-Monroe has been giving the SEC and Big XII headaches this season. ULM went to Arkansas and pulled off a big upset of the then-ranked Razorbacks. ULM followed that game up by taking another SEC member, the Auburn Tigers, to overtime before falling by three points. ULM also took the Baylor Bears to the limit before eventually losing 47-42.
ULM also did something a few seasons ago that almost no one can claim. The Redhawks went into Tuscaloosa and upset Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide. The school has almost become the pride of the Sun Belt and FAU head coach Car Pelini hopes his program can replicate its success.
“Monroe is a great story, they did a lot for our conference, but ultimately, that needs to keep happening year in and year out,” Pelini told the school’s website. “That means schools like FAU and the rest of us have to carry our weight, and we’ve got to start winning some of those games.”
Winning is something almost foreign to the Owls. FAU has just one victory this season and it was over lower-division Wagner to open the season. FAU’s last game, which was two weeks ago, was a 20-14 loss to the North Texas Mean Green.
Outside of two lopsided losses to Georgia and Alabama, FAU has been competitive in its games. But Pelini knows he needs his players to start taking the next step and start winning. Still, he took over arguably the worst team in college football, so it’s not going to be a quick turnaround, just like what happened at ULM.
“That’s a good lesson for everybody here at this school: patience, sticking to a plan and not panicking, not changing things week to week,” said Pelini.
FAU is hoping Pelini can work his magic on the Owls’ defense like he did at Nebraska where he was the coordinator for one of the fiercest defenses in the country.
FAU and ULM will kick off at 8 p.m. Saturday and the game can be seen on CSS/Sun Belt Network/ESPN3.