Owls Bullied by Longhorns
Florida Atlantic hung around for a while, but too many errors led to a 51-17 beating by the University of Texas Saturday afternoon.
“At game’s end, it was obvious that The University of Texas is a better football team than we are,” FAU head coach Howard Schnellenberger said after the loss.
The Longhorns, who entered the game on a five-game losing streak, set the tempo early in the contest, showing that they wanted to run the ball with Cody Johnson and play a physical type of football game. They did just that with 259 yards and a season high 522 yards against the FAU defense.
“We didn’t make the big plays when we needed to", linebacker Michael Lockley said. "We had chances on offense and defense, and we let them get too much yardage."
The Owls had an answer early for Johnson, holding the Longhorns on a goal-line stand, and looking like they were ready to compete.
“We felt like we had them and we had no doubt about it because we are used to stopping people on the goal line. We were ready and coach trained us to do that, and it pumped us up a lot,” linebacker David Hinds said.
However, the momentum couldn’t carry over to the offensive side of the ball, as quarterback Jeff Van Camp tossed an interception on the team’s first drive. Texas capitalized on the turnover and punched the ball in from one-yard out to take an early 7-0 lead.
Van Camp quickly responded thereafter, hitting tight end Rob Housler on a 56-yard touchdown pass, to tie the game and bring some life to FAU’s sideline.
That spark soon went out when kicker Ross Gornall had a 45-yard field goal attempt blocked at the line. One play later, Texas' Garret Gilbert countered, finding wide receiver James Kirkendoll for a 63-yard touchdown.
Gilbert, who had struggled in the passing department all season long, looked like a veteran against the Owls' secondary completing throws all over the field. He finished with 263 yards, the second highest by an FAU opponent this season.
His second touchdown strike of the day was the most costly to the Owls, as it came right before halftime and off of more FAU mistakes.
The Owls had an opportunity to score right before half, driving deep into Texas territory, but a high snap and a false start penalty resulted in a turnover-on-downs. The Longhorns would capitalize on a 47-yard hail-mary pass into the end zone that was caught by Malcolm Williams for a score.
Texas led 24-7 at halftime and things weren’t looking good for the visiting squad.
Despite the deficit, Van Camp and Housler went to work immediately in the the second half, connecting on an eight yard strike and FAU's second score.
Housler, a native of Converse, TX, had a nice outing in his home state, marking the second time in his career that he had caught two touchdown passes in a game.
“It is very exciting and it is nice to come out here and have the opportunity to play in front of everyone,” Housler said.
After exchanging field goals, with less than five minutes remaining in the third quarter, the Owls trailed by only ten points.
Texas then added another field goal before a fourth quarter melt down began for FAU.
Van Camp threw his second interception on the first play of the final period, which was returned 57-yards for a touchdown.
“We had opportunities and it is not like we couldn’t play with them, and there are three or four plays we wish we could have back,” Van Camp said.
Matters would continue to worsen as Willie Floyd fumbled the ensuing kickoff only to watch Texas drive down the short once again for a score.
The Longhorns added a final touchdown as time expired.
Van Camp had a rough day overall, going 11-of-26 for 210 yards, while being sacked three times. Jean led the Owls in receiving, catching four passes for 86 yards, but failed to reach the end zone for the first time in four games.
FAU managed only 88-yards on the ground.
“I hope it hit the hot buttons that I wanted to hit because we are going into the most important part of our schedule now" Schnellenberger said. "If we are man enough to go beat Middle Tennessee, and come back with Troy, then the season will be successful."
FAU next travels to Murfreesboro, TN to take on the Blue Raiders this Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
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