Miami takes the short trip to north to face eager FAU
BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) Charlie Partridge grew up with a Miami poster on his wall, back in the days when the Hurricanes were unquestionably the dominant program in college football.
It can't really be argued that Florida Atlantic's football coach knows just about everything there is to know about the Hurricanes. Partridge - a South Florida native - has been a Miami fan, tried to recruit some of the players who wound up choosing to play there, speaks about as highly of the Hurricanes as any opposing coach ever would.
That being said, he's not in awe.
He doesn't want his Owls to be, either.
Miami (1-0) makes the short drive north to face Florida Atlantic (0-1) on Friday night, the first time that FAU Stadium will host an opponent from one of the ''Power Five'' conferences and a game so big that the campus will be closed seven hours before kickoff.
''This is a game that we have had on our calendar,'' Partridge said. ''You can't help it. Knowing what the history of Miami has been, to have them in Palm Beach County and knowing what this event is going to be ... our kids, our coaches, our staff, our university are excited for this opportunity.''
Miami is a 17-point favorite, and the Hurricanes rolled past FAU 34-6 when the teams met for the first time two years ago. The Hurricanes opened this season with a 45-0 win over Bethune-Cookman, while FAU opened with a 47-44 overtime loss at Tulsa.
And even though Al Golden's Hurricanes figure to be far better than the Tulsa Golden Hurricane, Miami - which will be without injured receivers Braxton Berrios and Stacy Coley - doesn't seem like it's taking anything lightly.
''Our guys respect the opponent, our guys know exactly what they see on tape and our guys know what they're capable of,'' said Golden, the Miami coach. ''Our guys know that if we don't control us, none of it's going to matter.''
Here's some of what to know going into Friday night:
STREAKING KAAYA: Brad Kaaya has thrown a touchdown pass in 14 consecutive games for Miami; that would be every game of his Hurricane career. Entering Friday, only three quarterbacks at the FBS level - TCU's Trevone Boykin (16), Western Kentucky's Brandon Doughty (who had a TD throw in his 16th consecutive game on Thursday night) and Mississippi State's Dak Prescott (15) - had a longer active streak of games with a scoring toss.
SCHNELLENBERGER'S NIGHT: FAU is the program that Howard Schnellenberger started. Miami is the program he awakened, guiding the Hurricanes to their first national title in 1983 and starting them on the path toward becoming a dynasty for the better part of two decades. So Friday is a big night for the 81-year-old retired coach; he'll be part of the pregame coin toss on the field that bears his name.
44 NOT ENOUGH: FBS teams scoring more than 38 points went 45-1 on college football's opening weekend. FAU was the exception, falling 47-44 in overtime to Tulsa. The Owls often win high-scoring affairs, with last weekend's loss dropping them to 41-5 all-time when scoring at least 31 points. What the Owls don't do is win the low-scoring games, with a record of 5-75 when they don't manage to reach 20 points.
SCHEDULE QUIRKS: Besides Miami at FAU, the only other game involving FBS teams on Friday is another in-state matchup - Utah State at No. 24 Utah. Somewhat oddly, this is the first of two non-conference road games on the Hurricanes' schedule this season, with the other being a Thursday night contest at Cincinnati on Oct. 1. Miami hadn't scheduled two non-conference road games since 2010.
MUHAMMAD RETURNS: This game is the first that Miami DE Al-Quadin Muhammad has been eligible for since the 2013 season. He missed all 13 games last season while suspended from the university for a semester, then missed the Hurricanes' opener last weekend because of an undisclosed rules violation. He is not expected to start, but is expected to play.