For the second straight week, FAU was able to dominate an opponent.
The Owls blew-past New Mexico State 55-10 on Saturday and set the school record for the largest margin of victory in a game.
Jaquez Johnson threw three touchdowns and Brian Wright picked up his third win as the head interim head coach.
Wright directed an offense that had it’s most dominating performance since a Oct. 24 2009 thrashing of Louisiana-Lafayette, as FAU totaled a season-high 585 yards and passed for 329 yards.
With growing bowl game aspirations on the line, Wright was able to keep the team’s focus on the task at hand.
Lucky Whitehead opened the game with a 26-yard touchdown run on a reverse, before a special teams play gave FAU a two-score advantage. Randell Johnson blocked a punt, and Fortner recovered the ball in the end zone for the Owl’s first special teams touchdown since 2003.
Minutes later Jaquez Johnson connected with Whitehead (pictured) for a 64-yard touchdown pass – and the Owls were in complete control.
“You find out the character of men if they can rally and be resilient in adversity,” Wright said after the game. “They keep coming out and battling, and keep trying to really one-up themselves this week.”
Wright relied heavily on the arm of Jaquez Johnson, and the sophomore quarterback responded with a sound performance.
Jaquez Johnson finished the game 15-of-22 passing for a 321 yards – which equalled his career high – and added a team-high 79 yards rushing, which included a 60-yard scamper in the third quarter.
“They were doing everything they could to stop the run” Wright said. “Our identity is, whether it’s run or pass, is to win a football game, so whatever we have to do to win, that’s what we’re doing to do on offense.”
Tight end Nexon Dorvilus – who hauled in two touchdown passes from Johnson – summed the quarterback’s play up best after the game.
“He's playing his spots and taking his shots. He's making his throws, he's just being a smart football player, he's not putting us in any negative positions and not turning the ball over really,” Dorvilus said.
Drovilus caught four passes for 61 yards and Daniel McKinney paced the Owls with a season-high 138 yards receiving. Whitehead – who played close to 100 percent for the first time all season – had 90 yards of offense on just three touches.
Defensively, FAU held it’s third straight opponent under 300 yards of offense and forced 11 punts. Defensive tackle Trevon Coley tied a career-high with six tackles and defensive end Cory Henry picked up his team-leading sixth sack of the season.
The three game win streak under Wright is the program’s longest string of consecutive wins since 2010. The Owls are now in a situation were a win over rival FIU next week would make the team bowl eligible for the first time in five years.
“This is personal, real personal,” Dorvilus said.