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Owls Kick-off 2010 In Dramatic Fashion

fau-uab-09-02-10-sliderBlocked Fieldgoal on final play enables win in Birmingham

When FAU trailed 28-12, that would have been a good reason for some fans tuning in to call it a night. After all, last year, the Owls went to Legion Field and were pounded 56-29.

But this is 2010.

The first time the teams faced off on September 6, 2008, FAU defeated UAB 49-34 at Lockhart Stadium. Last night, history repeated itself, as FAU topped the Blazers in dramatic fashion 32-31 on Thursday night to take the three game series 2-1.

“There was so much that we did do well in the game that it’s going to be a great teaching aid as we go back to work and get ready for Michigan State”, said head coach Howard Schnellenberger.

“I’m proud of the coaches, the strength and conditioning coaches, our interns, and of course, our players. My quarterback played valiantly. He was impeded with a strong defensive effort. It was a big win.”

FAU is now 2-1 against the Blazers as they concluded their three game series. This contest was moved up two days because UAB didn't want to compete against Alabama. Now they'll have two extra days to think about this loss.

“We knew last year was a really down point in our season. We saw it (tonight) as a revenge game, and we got it”, said Owl QB Jeff Van Camp.

The Owls led for 2:20 in this game, the final minutes but that's all that mattered. UAB led in the following categories as they out gained FAU in total yards 424-347 and first downs 17-12.

UAB quarterback David Isabelle rushed for 214 yards and scored three touchdowns plus added one touchdown pass. But one of his passes resulted in a 38-yard touchdown interception, pick-six, by Brentley Harstad that saw FAU cut UAB's lead to 28-19.

As expected, the tandem of Van Camp to Lester Jean was  a potent combination. Jean caught nine passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns. It's hard to believe that FAU's longest scoring pass play ever in FBS competition didn't occur with Rusty Smith at quarterback, but indeed that was the case as Jean scampered 77 yards for a score, and a career high 164 yards on the night.

"We have a lot of chemistry," Van Camp said. “The UAB defense was covering Jean one-on-one, so when he is singled up like that, he is going to get the ball.”

What we already knew is that you'll need a cardiologist after the Owls score a touchdown. There was a missed extra point and two failed two point conversions. FAU could have had 37 points.

But despite not having these additional points, Coach Howard Schnellenberger knew that he couldn't take a time-out home with him, therefore, he burned it with under a minute left to play in the fourth quarter. UAB would have a 28-yard field goal blocked by senior linebacker Michael Lockley on the games last play, as the Owls blazed out of Birmingham with an important road victory over their Conference USA counterpart.

"They beat us down last year. We wanted to come in and show we can play with them and we did," Lockley said of the victory.

When the contest was over, Van Camp finished with 254 yards and three touchdowns. Running back Alfred Morris amassed 103 yards but 38 of those were on the game winning 38-yard touchdown.

Each teams punters had to feel like this was July 4 as the amount of kicks by both seemed like fireworks as they combined for 16.     

FAU's Mickey Groody had eight punts for a 43.5 average and UAB's Trey Ragland also had eight for a 47.8 average.

The Owls also showed discipline with just three penalties for a total of 15 yards.

Now FAU will have time to make some adjustments on defense as they face the Michigan State Spartans at noon on September 11, 2010 at Ford Field. The Owls 1-0 in Detroit but 1-1 in the State of Michigan. FAU defeated Central Michigan in the Motor City Bowl but lost to the Spartans 17-0 in East Lansing under rainy conditions.

The elements won't be a factor on the field turf in the dome this time in a unique home opener for Florida Atlantic.


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