FAU Football Gives No. 23 Marshall a Scare
Florida Atlantic University threatened No. 23 Marshall University deep into the third, but fell 35-16 on Saturday afternoon in Huntington.
The Owls took an early lead that they would hold onto until late in the third quarter. The Herd took its second lead of the game and the game going up 21-16 with 3:09 remaining in the third. The Owls drove the field but were denied the end zone after advancing to the four to open the final quarter. The defensive stop woke up Marshall, which drove the field and added to the lead with a 66-yard rushing TD to go up 28-16 and never looked back.
FAU (3-5, 2-2) started the game with a 12-play, 56-yard drive that ended with a 30-yard field goal by Greg Joseph. Marshall responded with a one-play, 58-yard drive and took a 7-3 lead with 8:34 remaining in the first.
The Owls forced a field goal attempt on the Herd’s next drive and then put together a 14-play drive that ended with a Jaquez Johnson touchdown pass to Alex DeLeon retake the lead at 10-3 with 11:36 remaining in the first half. On that score, FAU became the first team to lead Marshall multiple times in a game this season. With 6:35 remaining in the half, Joseph connected with his second field goal of the game, a 40-yarder, and the Owls built a 13-7 lead. The advantage was short lived, however, as Marshall’s Devon Johnson scored on a 62-yard run to give the Herd its second lead at 14-13 with 6:07 remaining in the half. FAU’s Joseph was called upon for a third time in the half and remained perfect, hitting a 24-yarder to put the Owls back up 16-14 with 2:06 remaining in the half, a lead that would remain through halftime.
The two teams traded punts in the third quarter when the Herd scored on a pass to extend quarterback Rakeem Cato’s NCAA record streak of games with a touchdown pass to 40 games. The 21-yard connection gave the the Herd a 21-16 lead with 3:09 to play in the third. The Owls received the kick and marched 72 yards to Marshall’s four-yard line. FAU then faced a fourth and three at the Marshall six-yard line. The Owls then used the change of quarters and elected to go for it. Johnson’s pass to Nate Terry in the corner of the end zone was denied and Marshall took over. Marshall’s Johnson then raced 66 yards for his third score of the game to put Marshall up 28-16 with 13:56 to play.
After holding the Owls on another fourth-down attempt, the Herd (8-0, 4-0) marched 62 yards in 10 plays, ending with Devon Johnson’s fourth touchdown to end the scoring at 35-16.
D’Joun Smith broke FAU school records with 202 yards on six kick returns, breaking Anthony Jackson’s 168 yards against Marist in 2001 and the team record of 182 yards against Memphis in 2007.
Lucky Whitehead (pictured) earned 102 yards receiving on 11 catches, the second-most receptions in a game in FAU history. Greg Howell continued the impressive start to his career with 95 yards on the ground.
The Owls will host homecoming Saturday, Nov. 1 versus UAB at 7 p.m.