Carl Pelini picked up the biggest win of his tenure Saturday night, as FAU upset USF with a 28-10 win. The Owl's moved to 1-2 on the year and saw the offense show signs of improvement. The 10 points the defense gave up, was the lowest total the Owl's had surrender to an FBS opponent since October 30th of 2010.
Here's our notes from the press box:
The Goal-line Stand
At the start of the second quarter, the defense made a series of plays that changed the outcome of the game. USF had scored ten straight points and was driving into FAU territory following a 41-yard run by Marcus Shaw.
The Bull's had first and goal from the 8-yard line, but that's when the Owls took a stand. Linebacker Adarius Glanton kept Shaw out of the end zone on first and second down, but it was Randell Johnson who made the two crucial stops.
Johnson met Shaw at the line of scrimmage on third down, and then tackled him for a seven yard loss on fourth down to turn the ball over.
"We just kept fighting," Pelini said. "If you can defend the run against [Willie] Taggart coached team, you got a good chance to win."
USF had been effective running the ball all season long, but FAU did a nice job of bottling up the Bull's rushing attack.
Quez Goes the Distance
Earlier in the week offensive coordinator Brian Wright said that he wanted to play one quarterback for the first half and then make an assessment at halftime to see if he needed to make an adjustment. It's safe to say that Jaquez Johnson played his way into a starting role following his performance.
Despite an interception on a tipped pass in the first quarter, Johnson looked comfortable moving the offense and appeared to have found his niche running the ball. The sophomore led an eight-play scoring drive in the second quarter that ended with a 4-yard touchdown run from the quarterback.
"It felt good," Johnson said. "I didn't start off strong, I threw a ball late that got tipped, but I mean there are still some things I need to work on."
Johnson finished 10-of-17 passing for 98 yards and had 55 yards rushing
Freshman Greg Hankerson was never rotated into the game, and at the end of the night when the Owl's had a two-score lead it was DJ Juste who took snaps and ran the ball.
Kirk Ejected for Targeting
With just under six minutes remaining in the first half linebacker and team captain Andrae Kirk was ejected from the game for targeting USF quarterback Steven Bench. Kirk was flagged for a helmet-to-helmet hit on the defenseless quarterback and suspended from play for the remainder of the night.
FAU dodged a bullet because if the play had happened in the second half, Kirk (pictured right) would have had to sit out the first half of next week's Middle Tennessee State game.
Rule 9-1, Article 3 of the NCAA rulebook (targeting with the crown of the helmet) states: "No player shall target and initiate contact against an opponent with the crown (top) of his helmet. When in question, it is a foul."
The Owl's were penalized 15 yards for the play and freshman Robert Relf had to take the place of Kirk.
Christopher Chappell had never started a game for FAU, Saturday night the redshirt senior got his first career start along the offensive line as he filled in for the injured Mikingson Marsaille. The 6-foot-9 320-pounder fared well at right guard and was able to open up holes for the run game.
The Owls rushed for 130 yards and gave up just one sack, which was a significant improvement from earlier in the season.
"I know one thing about evaluating line play, if your not calling out his number, he's doing a good job," Pelini said.