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Three In A Row



Florida Atlantic will finish 2016 with the same overall record it posted the previous two seasons (3-9) after dropping a 77-56 decision to Middle Tennessee.

The contest saw scoring that resembled a basketball outcome and broke the Owls' previous mark of 63 allowed against Kanas State earlier in the year.

The final tally of 133 points scored between the two teams was also a Conference USA record mark.

"We couldn't find a way to stop their wildcat and they stretched us horizontally", said Coach Charlie Partridge. "They made a ton of plays and obviously scored more points than we did."

"There's a lot of injuries we were dealing with - again excuses, but also reality - we were without our starting safety and without several of our mike linebackers tonight and that hurts."

The Owls (2-6 C-USA) had a successful opening drive, culminating in a Jason Driskel-to-Nate Terry touchdown pass, but MTSU scored on each of their next four possessions to go up 28-7.

Twice after that, FAU cut the deficit to two-touchdowns only to see MTSU score on each of their ensuing possession in stupefying fashion.

The Blue Raiders led 42-21 at the half.

Middle Tennessee (8-4, 5-3 C-USA) opened up the second half with a score for the game’s biggest lead but the Owls stormed back with 21 unanswered to make it 49-42 with 12:13 left in the game.

However, MTSU immediately answered with a 75-yard drive to go up again by two scores, before a Jason Driskel (25-33, 291 YD, 2 TD, 3 INT) interception was returned on the next drive for another touchdown.

The Blue Raiders scored four times in the final 10:30 while holding FAU to just two scores therafter for the final margin.
  
Despite the outcome, Florida Atlantic did set a new record for the most points scored in a game under Partridge, as well as a single season team rushing record (2,488).

Running back Devin Singletary (photo), who registered 235 yards and three touchdowns on Saturday, was an encouraging part of the latter and found notable success in two of the final four games.

"It starts with those kids (offensive line) up front, they deserve it (credit) for continuing to fight and find a way to get better", Partridge said.

The Owls' offensive line was plagued with injuries some would consider unheard of for the 2016 slate and experienced a plethora of combinations throughout it's course as a result.

And while an offensive upshot in the running game may present some hope for the Owl faithful, it does appear to fall short when stacked against last season's near upset of Florida in Gainesville in a finale that helped set momentum heading into the off season.

"You feel that way because you've lost the last two games", said Partridge. "We need to evaluate everything as a whole and see what we can be doing better and continue to improve as a program."

Considering the defensive shortcomings experienced this year, there is a lot to work on. The Owls currently have five solid prospects committed on that side of the ball for their 2017 recruiting class, but will need the current players to both heal and make notable progress in both upcoming Spring and Fall camps to change the trend.


Notables

  • Kalib Woods fell shy of his seventh game over the century mark this season, but led FAU with six receptions and 70 yards.
  • Ocie Rose and Azeez Al-Shaair were atop the team leaderboard in tackles with 11 and 10, respectively.
  • Senior Shalom Ogbonda, capped his career with seven.
  • Kerryth White had six kick returns for a total of 185 yards, including a season long for all Owls of 63.
  • Placekicker Greg Joseph was 7-of-7 on extra points and now has made 90 consecutive points-after.

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