The Owls' two game winning streak came to an end in Saturday's senior day as FAU fell to Old Dominion 42-24 at Schnellenberger field.
Monarch quarterback David Washington threw for a season high 416 yards and five touchdowns, connecting with wide receivers Zach Pascal for 178 yards and a touchdown, and Jonathan Duhart for 72 yards and three touchdowns.
"We've got to keep fighting to get pressure on the quarterback, that makes a huge difference", said coach Charlie Partridge. "Their explosive wide receivers are quite honestly I think the best wide receiver group that will be faced in the league."
FAU scored on their first two possessions for a 14-3 lead behind a pair of short runs from Buddy Howell and Devin Singletary.
Howell's one yard scamper which capped a 57 yard opening march by the Owls and was good for an individual program record 12th rushing touchdowns on the year.
The Owls were three-of-four in the red zone in the first half, while limiting the Monarchs to a pair of field goals on three tries therein.
ODU (8-3, 6-1) pulled to within four points at the 13:44 mark of the second quarter but would shank a punt on their ensuing drive which set Florida Atlantic up deep in Monarch territory for Singletary's second score.
After holding Old Dominion to just a field goal for the second time the Owls enjoyed a 21-13 lead at intermission.
That's where things changed.
The Monarchs opted not to attempt a field goal on their opening drive of the second half, instead going for it on 4th and 2 for a score then converting a two point conversion to tie the contest at 21 points a piece.
The apparent momentum established by the decision paid additional dividends that fueled a 22-3 third quarter scoring advantage which effectively put the game out of reach.
"They really didn't change a lot of what they were doing, they went to a couple different run plays and had some success with that on their first drive", said Partridge of the Monarch's half time adjustments. "They had some explosive plays."
A forty-five yard diving catch by ODU receiver Zach Pascal initially gave the Monarchs their first lead of the game.
Jason Driskel (15-27, 291 yards) answered the big play with a 35 yard toss to Kalib Woods that put the Owls (3-8, 2-5) at the Old Dominion 15 yard line, but the drive stalled leaving Florida Atlantic to settle for a 30 yard kick from Greg Joseph and a 28-24 deficit.
Another ODU touchdown then made it a permanent double-digit advantage.
Monarch running back Jeremy Cox caught a screen pass before running over Owl defensive back Raekwon Williams en route to an 84 yard touchdown which was the longest play for the Monarch program at the FBS level and accounted for the final tally.
FAU hoisted a last scoring attempt late in the fourth quarter from their own two yard line.
Using a one-two-punch of Kalib Woods and Howell, the Owls drove 89 yards only to be forced to go for it on 4th and 2 with no success.
Woods led all Owl receivers with 120 yards. Singletary paced the ground game with 89 yards while Howell added 54.
Linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair was the leading Owls’ tackler with 12, and senior defensive lineman Shalom Ogbonda registered 10.
In all, thirteen Florida Atlantic seniors were honored prior to the game.
"I love these guys, they're loyal,and they've worked hard every single week", Partridge said of the departing class.
Defensive end Trey Hendrickson, FAU's all-time sacks leader and NFL prospect, was unusually quiet while playing his last home game in an Owl uniform. He finished with one tackle and was credited for a half sack.
Conversely, fellow senior Dalton Schomp, another NFL prospect, netted impressive punts of 68, 63, and 62 yards in his home field exit.
FAU will wrap up their 2016 season on the road next Saturday when they take on Middle Tennessee. They'll be looking to snap an eight game losing streak against the Blue Raiders.
"It's our last week together for this 2016 football family, and we're going to do everything we can to send this team out the right way with a win", Partridge said. "Hopefully they get a chance to go out with something to be very proud of."
Kick-off is scheduled for 5:30 PM in Murfreesboro.
POST GAME: FAU vs Old Dominion 2016 - Charlie Partridge - FAU Owl's Nest