Turnovers, Penalties Doom Owls in 37-16 Loss to ASU
Florida Atlantic (1-5, 0-3) had a fourth quarter to forget Saturday afternoon against Arkansas State losing 37-16 at the hands of three fourth quarter turnovers, and a season high 142 yards in penalties.
The offensive line also gave up four sacks which reduced a 139 yard performance on the ground to just 92 net yards after negative plays were removed.
The Owls were right where they wanted to be when they headed into the locker room at halftime, trailing the Red Wolves 9-7, after a solid performance from the defense and a decent showing by the offense.
"For the first half we were probably the best weíve been this year," Head Coach Howard Schnellenberger said.
Arkansas Stateís high powered offense was held to just 197 yards, and FAUís defense found ways to limit star quarterback Ryan Aplin by holding him to just 63 yards of passing.
Dino Cox got an early take away for the defense when Kevin Cyrille tipped an Aplin screen pass up in the air and the defensive tackle was in position for the interception at the ASU 31-yard line. However, FAU couldnít capitalize on field position, as kicker Ross Gornall hooked a 42-yard field goal to the left.
After a scoreless first period, the Red Wolves connected on a field goal† form 24-yards out to give them a 3-0 lead.
Quarterback Jeff Van Camp and the Owls offense quickly found their footing after the score, driving 71 yards on four pays and capping it off with a 29-yard touchdown pass to tight end Rob Housler to go ahead.
Arkansas State (3-5, 3-2) was faced with a fourth and six, but a fake punt allowed the drive to continue as Aplin later carried the ball into the end zone from one-yard out to take a 9-7 lead before halftime.
The momentum swung FAUís way in the third quarter when linebacker Michael Lockley blocked a Red Wolves 32-yard field goal attempt and gave the offense the ball. Van Camp receiver Lester Jean on a screen pass the next play in which he raced 80-yards for a touchdown to take a 13-9 lead for the Owls. The pass and catch was the longest in both Jean and Van Campís careers.
FAUís defense held again and the offense looked poised for another score inside the Red Wolves 3 yard line, but three straight penalties - two false starts and an illegal procedure - left the Owls to settle for a field.
"Those penalties killed us, I donít know why they called them," Van Camp said of the flags.
FAU was penalized 14 times for 142 yards altogether, the most of any game this season.
"When the offense commits as many penalties and mistakes as we did, itís a downward spiral," Schnellenberger said.
Once the fourth quarter got going, more trouble began for the Owls, as Aplin found wide receiver Anthony Robinson for a 28-yard touchdown pass with 12:50 remaining in the game to tie the score up at 16-16.
The next series, a Van Camp pass was tipped and intercepted, resulting in a 37-yard touchdown return and another score for ASU giving them a 23-16 lead. It was the second straight turnover for the Owls in the fourth quarter, and put the team in a situation where they now had to score.
"Thatís when the downward spiral began," Van Camp said.
On the next drive the quarterback was hit in the backfield and fumbled the ball at FAUís one-yard line.
Running back Jermaine Robertson ran the ball in from one-yard out and Red Wolves lead was now 30-16 with 8:22 left in the game. All in all it was three touchdowns for Arkansas State in the span of just 2 minutes and 11 seconds.
Van Camp was shaken up from the hit and fumble, but out on the next drive and threw another interception on the first play. Robertson scored again for Arkansas State and the team led 37-16 after 28 consecutive points in the fourth quarter.
"We played good enough for three quarters," safety Marcus Bartels said.
Arkansas Stateís 408 yards of offense was just over the season average of 402.7 per game, but it did take them a season high 91 plays to gain that total.
"When your defense is playing well, your offense is carried by that. When the defense performs poorly, then your offense is adversely affected and the same thing with the offense," Schnellenberger said. "They (ASU) are a good football team, and right now weíre not a good football team."