Slow starts have been a theme all year for FAU. With their backs against the wall - having to win out to be bowl eligible - tonight’s game against North Texas was supposed to be different. It wasn't. In a game in which the winner could keep their bowl dreams alive FAU can now wake up. FAU’s 31-10 loss to North Texas officially eliminates them from bowl contention.
UNT got on the board first after Antoninne Jimmerson broke a 41 yard run on the edges to reach the end zone and give North Texas a seven point lead. After a bizarre play in which FAU punter Ryan Rickel dropped a snap and punted a wobbly ball that proceeded to hit a North Texas player which culminated in a D’Joun Smith recovery, the offense failed to get a first down and got on the board with a 41 yard field goal from Greg Joseph.
Andrew McNulty then connected with Marcus Smith for a 20 yard touchdown pass to give the Mean Green (3-6, 1-4) a 14-3 lead. On North Texas’ next drive, they would score again as McNulty bounced of tackles for a four yard rushing touchdown to give the Mean Green a 21-3 lead at the half. All of North Texas’ scoring drives in the first half were over 50 yards.
Like so many times this year, the defense made the necessary adjustment at halftime to give FAU a chance for a comeback. UNT had 243 total yards at halftime but the FAU defense limited the Mean Green to 99 yards the rest of the way.
“I thought the defense fought as hard as they could in the second half,” said head coach Charlie Partridge during his postgame interview with ESPN WestPalm.
After looking lethargic the whole game, the Owls (3-7, 2-4) were able to reach the end zone after Jaquez Johnson found Alex Deleon on fourth down for a 34 yard touchdown pass. However, the Owls were unable to build momentum after the scoring drive.
“Bottom line is we couldn’t move the ball tonight,” said Partridge. “We got a couple things going in the second half but not near enough to make a real run at a comeback.”
Jaquez Johnson looked uncomfortable all night and finished the game going 14-25, 99 yards with one touchdown and one interception. The offensive line also struggled. Johnson was constantly hurried throughout the night and no one rushed for over 30 yards. The offense finished the game with 197 total yards.
The defense continued to keep the Owls within striking defense, making a red zone stop midway through the fourth quarter. Trevor Moore made the 18 yard field goal to make the score 24-10.
Down 14, the Owls had several opportunities to trim the lead but was never able to move the ball consistently and as a result continued to put a short-handed defense on the field. North Texas took advantage one more time as Jarrord Lynn scored from three yards to make the final score 31-10.
“We’ve got a lot of progress to make as a football program,” said Partridge.
Next week the Owls are on a bye and have two more games left before the season comes to an end.