Opponent Preview: Florida Atlantic
Florida Atlantic returns 15 starters in Charlie Partridge’s first season as head coach. FAU is one of eight 2014 Husker opponents that were bowl eligible in 2013. Florida Atlantic brings a four-game winning streak into today’s game, the nation’s ninth-longest win streak.
Offensively, the Owls return their leading rusher, passer and two of their three leading receivers from 2013. Defensively, FAU brings back its top two tacklers.
The Owls averaged 26.4 points per game in 2013 following a strong finish, when FAU averaged 37.8 points per game over its final four contests. Florida Atlantic featured a balanced offensive attack, averaging 183 yards rushing per game and 198 yards passing.
Quarterback Jaquez Johnson was a dual threat who led Florida Atlantic with 772 rushing yards and 1,876 passing yards. He also led the team with 10 rushing touchdowns, while completing 58 percent of his passes with 12 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
Florida Atlantic featured one of the nation’s top defenses in 2013, and the Owls return six starters. FAU allowed only 326 yards per game in 2013, a total that ranked 11th nationally. Florida Atlantic was especially stingy against the pass, ranking second nationally by allowing only 162 passing yards per game. The Owls also ranked third nationally in pass efficiency defense.
Linebacker Andrae Kirk led the team with 84 tackles last season and safety Damian Parms was second with 78 stops. Both players return for the Owls this fall. Defensive lineman Brandin Bryant, an Omaha native, is FAU’s returning sack leader after totaling 6.0 sacks and 9.5 tackles for losses as a junior in 2013.
Nebraska and Florida Atlantic meet for the second time today. The only other meeting was a 49-3 NU victory in the 2009 season opener at Memorial Stadium. The 24th-ranked Huskers cruised to the win behind three rushing touchdowns from Roy Helu Jr., who ran for 152 yards on 16 carries.
Florida Atlantic Head Coach Charlie Partridge
Charlie Partridge is the fourth head coach in Florida Atlantic history, as the Owls program dates back to only 2001. Partridge will coach his first game as a collegiate head coach today. A South Florida native, Partridge has spent the past 12 seasons as a full-time defensive assistant.
Partridge was the assistant head coach and coached the defensive line on Brett Bielema’s Arkansas staff in 2013. Partridge also served on Bielema’s staff at WIsconsin from 2008 to 2012, including his final two seasons as associate head coach and co-defensive coordinator. Partridge was on the sidelines for Nebraska’s 30-27 come-from-behind victory over Wisconsin in 2012. He was on the winning side in Badger victories over the Huskers in 2011 and the 2012 Big Ten Championship Game.
Before his five-year tenure at Wisconsin, Partridge spent five seasons at Pitt from 2003 to 2007. He earned his first full-time coaching position as the recruiting coordinator and defensive line coach at Eastern Illinois in 2002. Partridge also served as Iowa State’s director of football operations in 2000 and 2001 and was the Cyclones’ defensive graduate assistant in 1998 and 1999. He received his start in the coaching field as a graduate assistant at Drake in 1996 and 1997 after starring for the Bulldogs as a player from 1992 to 1995.