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Owls fall to South Alabama in Double Overtime

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Owls fall to South Alabama in Double Overtime



Three blocked kicks doom FAU, as defense collapses in 37-34 loss

All season long head coach Carl Pelini has been stressing that his team needed to execute better in order to win games.

Saturday afternoon, that wasn’t the case for the Owls.

Mitch Anderson had a 44-yard field goal blocked in double overtime and South Alabama connected on a 35-yard field goal attempt of their own to defeat the visiting Owls 37-34.

“We were trying to keep executing and weren’t able to do it,” Pelini said. “We only executed for three quarters."

Florida Atlantic built an early lead in the contest and led at halftime for the first time all season. Quarterback Graham Wilbert was able to throw with ease all over the Jaguars’ defense and running back Jonathon Wallace (pictured) found multiple running lanes.

Wallace scored on a 1-yard touchdown run early in the first quarter and fellow ball carrier Martesee Jackson scampered 14-yards for seven points of his own.

Anderson kicked a 23-yard field goal as time expired before half, and things were looking positive for the visiting Owls who were seeking their first win on the road since September of 2010.

Then, came the second half of play.

Wallace ripped off a 44-yard run on the opening drive of the third quarter, but then the execution problems began.

Anderson had a 39-yard field goal attempt blocked at the line of scrimmage and the kicking struggles commenced.

FAU was able to recover a fumble on the return and put the ball back in Wilbert’s hands. One play later he hit wide receiver William Dukes for a 50-yard touchdown pass, and the Owls had a two score lead.

South Alabama would add a field goal, before Wilbert would then find tight end Nexon Dorvilus for a touchdown, giving the team their biggest lead of the season.

But the points wouldn’t be enough, as the Owls would watch a fourteen point advantage quickly vanish.

Trailing by two scores entering into the fourth quarter, the Jaguars quickly fought back into the game behind the arm of Ross Metheny. The quarterback would benefit from four pass interference calls against the Owls’ secondary and orchestrated a comeback that many FAU fans would like to forget.

Demetre Baker scored on a 1-yard run and Metheny tossed a 16-yard touchdown pass with 1:09 remaining in the contest to tie things up at 31-31.

The Owls simply didn’t have an answer for Metheny on the final two drives of regulation and often had to commit fouls to prevent big plays.

Wilbert would be given the chance to play the role of a hero and continued to find Dukes for long gains via the pass.

The Owls started at their own 39-yard line and managed to get the ball down into field goal range with 0:16 left in the game.

Pelini elected on first down to trot Anderson out onto the field to kick a 32-yard field goal and win the game.

However, his kick was blocked again and the game was sent into overtime.

South Alabama started with the ball in the first possession of extra time and settled for a field goal to take the lead.

The Owls had to at least add three points of their own to continue the game, but had an opportunity to win the contest with a touchdown.

After a quick three-and-out by the offense, Anderson hit a 37-yard field goal to send the game into double overtime.

The offense that had been so successful in the first half was none existent in overtime, and the Owls stalled once again this time losing two yards and going three-and-out in the process.

Pelini then called on Anderson for a 44-yard field goal attempt, knowing that the redshirt-junior and transfer from Austin College already had two kicks blocked.

Anderson’s kick was batted down for the third time of the game and South Alabama started their final possession knowing that they could just kick a field goal for the win.

Three plays later Michael Chapuseaux nailed a 35-yard field goal to give the Jaguars their first ever FBS victory.

The loss marked the sixth straight for the Owls and the fourteenth in a row in Sun Belt Conference play.

Anderson was replacing regular starter Vinny Zaccario – who left the team this past week – and finished the day 2-for-5 on field goal attempts.

Wilbert had a career outing throwing for 303 yards and two touchdowns. The yardage was the most by an FAU quarterback since Rusty Smith on October 4th, 2009.

Wallace ran for a team-high 101 yards, the most for any ball carrier in a single game this season.

The Owls will look to regroup before hosting Troy next weekend.

Game Notes:

- While Wilbert threw for a career-high in yards, Dukes recorded his first touchdown and 100-yard receiving game in his young career. The sophomore once again proved to be the team’s top playmaker on offense and finished the afternoon with five catches for 119 yards. He now has a team-high 15 plays that have gone for ten yards or more.

- Safety Brent Harstad finished with a team-high 15 tackles. The Owls’ secondary managed to keep the Jaguars’ passing attack in check for the first three quarters of play, but simply couldn’t defended the pass in the fourth and final.

- Corey Henry, Trevon Coley and David Hinds all tallied sacks on the afternoon. The three sacks were the most by the Owls since last year’s Auburn game. Coley, a true freshman, recorded his first career sack.

- The loss moved the Owls to 3-3 all time in overtime games. The last time the program played in a contest past regulation was a 57-50 win over rival Florida International in November of 2008.

Twitter: @andrewrivins
Email: [email protected]
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Re: Owls fall to South Alabama in Double Overtime

My thoughts…I am tired of coaches kicking field goals on 3rd down in case of a bobbled snap.  The only time I can remember a bobbled snap on field goal hike was the Dallas Cowboys playoff game with Romo.  When you are tied and moving the ball in the air and have 16 seconds left in the game I say you take your chances and you go for the touchdown.  The only thing USA did consistently with confidence was block field goals in the game!  Second, the field goal kicking unit the last 2 to 3 years has been a disgrace.  You could almost excuse past performance due to the lack of emphasis (being generous) under Coach Schnellenberger, but now where they actually put time in practice for special teams and you can't get enough air under the kick to clear the line.  AND to top it off last years kicker leaves the team this week???  Whats going on, I understand all new coaching staffs want their own guy, but man.  Finally, the secondary has gotten some bum calls it appears the last couple of weeks, but if thats how they are calling it, you need to adjust.  The defense had some nice stops, did a good job getting off the field, but if you can't do that on the LAST drive of the game, then what does it matter? -AND before everyone blames Wilbert, I say re-direct your anger at the play calling of the offensive coordinator.  We are moving the ball passing the ball and what do we do in OT, we try running the ball.  So instead of trying to establishing a run in the beginning of the game for nothing, we try to do it at the end of the game for NOTHING.  Way NOT to put your players in a postion to win.
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Re: Owls fall to South Alabama in Double Overtime

Tim said

My thoughts…I am tired of coaches kicking field goals on 3rd down in case of bobbled snap.  The only time I can remember a bobbled snap on field goal hike was the Dallas Cowboys playoff game with Romo.  When you are tied and moving the ball in the air and have 16 seconds left in the game I say you take your chances and you go for the touchdown.  The only thing USA did with confidence was block field goals in the game!  Second, the field goal kicking unit the last 2 to 3 years is a disgrace.  You could almost excuse past performance due to the lack of emphasis (being generous) coach under Schnellenberger, but now where they actually put time into practice for special teams and you can't get enough air under the kick to clear the line.  AND to top it off last year kicker leaves the team this week???  Whats going on, I understand all new coaching staffs want their own guy, but man.  Finally, the secondary has gotten some bum calls it appears the last couple of weeks, but if thats how they are calling it, you need to adjust.  The defense had some nice stops, did a good job getting off the field, but if you can't do that on the LAST drive of the game, then what does it matter? -AND before everyone blames Wilbert, I say re-direct your anger at the play calling of the offensive coordinator.  We moving the ball passing the ball and what do we do in OT, we try running the ball.  So instead of trying to establishing a run in the beginning of the game for nothing, we try to do it at the end of the game.  Way NOT to put your players in a postion to win.

+100 from me! Looks like it is time for mr. Chun to get some funds to hire real D1 Asst. Coaches.

Coach P., teaching Coaches are fine, but ya gotta win at the same time (at least SOME games) if ya want to sell tickets! The O from the last time we sopped them on downs in the 4th qtr on our 40 just shut down until they tied the game. And the O in the OT - what was that?
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Re: Owls fall to South Alabama in Double Overtime

Tim said

My thoughts…I am tired of coaches kicking field goals on 3rd down in case of a bobbled snap.  The only time I can remember a bobbled snap on field goal hike was the Dallas Cowboys playoff game with Romo.  When you are tied and moving the ball in the air and have 16 seconds left in the game I say you take your chances and you go for the touchdown.  The only thing USA did consistently with confidence was block field goals in the game!  Second, the field goal kicking unit the last 2 to 3 years has been a disgrace.  You could almost excuse past performance due to the lack of emphasis (being generous) under Coach Schnellenberger, but now where they actually put time in practice for special teams and you can't get enough air under the kick to clear the line.  AND to top it off last years kicker leaves the team this week???  Whats going on, I understand all new coaching staffs want their own guy, but man.  Finally, the secondary has gotten some bum calls it appears the last couple of weeks, but if thats how they are calling it, you need to adjust.  The defense had some nice stops, did a good job getting off the field, but if you can't do that on the LAST drive of the game, then what does it matter? -AND before everyone blames Wilbert, I say re-direct your anger at the play calling of the offensive coordinator.  We are moving the ball passing the ball and what do we do in OT, we try running the ball.  So instead of trying to establishing a run in the beginning of the game for nothing, we try to do it at the end of the game for NOTHING.  Way NOT to put your players in a postion to win.

Just thought of another thing about kicking a field goal on 3rd down instead of one more pass in to the end zone…what if there is a bobbled snap?  With no time outs, is there time to kick another field goal???  NO!!!
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Re: Owls fall to South Alabama in Double Overtime

It WAS the safe choice, not the ballsy choice. But look at ULM and their year, a ballsy Coach who yesterday goes for 2 and the win @ WKU and gets it!
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