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Notebook: FAU-Marshall

The Owl's fell to Marshall on a last-second field goal Saturday night, but they still have a chance at making a bowl game. The defense played well against a Marshall offense that is one of the best in the conference. Jaquez Johnson continued his strong play and finished with over 200 yards of offense.

Here's our notes from the press box:

Johnson accounts for 2 TDs

The Owls fell short on Saturday, but not without a tremendous effort by quarterback Jaquez Johnson.

Johnson finished the game with 187 yards passing and a touchdown, while also leading the team in rushing with 78 yards.

But what truly made Johnsonís performance stand out was the physicality of his play.

All game Johnson (pictured) played fearlessly, running through defenders without any regard towards his body, whether it was fighting for extra yards around the outside or plowing through a linebacker, every inch of Johnsonís total yardage was fought for.

The redshirt sophomore has seen improvement week-in and week-out, and has really come understand the inís and outís of the offense.

Johnson led the Owls to nearly 400 yards of offense against Marshallís defense that allows only 278 yards a game that is best in Conference USA.

Johnson and the Owlís offense started the game out slow not scoring an offensive touchdown until the second half of play.

Johnson started the second half with a 22-yard run and a long 40-yard pass to William Dukes to set up a one yard Jonathan Wallace touchdown.

Later in the game Johnson fought his way back to the end zone with key completions to wide receiver Jenson Stoshak and eventually scoring on a 5-yard touchdown to Nexon Drovilus.

ďHeís playing beyond his years, as a sophomore coming in as a junior college transfer, he is playing really great. I am very confident in him,Ē said Dorvilus of Johnson.

Despite his efforts, Johnsonís play could not reverse the missed cues on special teams and the big plays let up on defense, and resulted in a tough loss for FAU.

- Jake Sansom

Dorvilus used as an H-Back

Nexon Dorvilus senior season didnít start off with a bang, but it appears that the tight end has finally found his niche in the offense. Dorvilus was used more in of an H-back role saturday and caught a 5-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter that gave FAU an advantage on the score board.

Dorvilus – who was named to the Mackey preseason watch list as a tight end – was often motioned in the backfield and frequently used as a lead blocker for Johnson and Wallace.

ďAnywhere they want me to go, anything they want me to do ĖĖ Iíll do. I just want to win. I donít care if I get five plays or fifty plays, I just want to win,Ē Dorvilus said.

The tight end has now caught a touchdown pass in each of the past three games, and finished with two catches for 18 yards against Marshall. He also helped pave the way for a run game that totaled 208 yards on the ground.

H-back is considered more of an NFL hybrid-position, but it could bode well for Dorvilusís playing career down the line after he graduates.

- Andrew Ivins


- Damian Fortner lined up as a deep man on kickoffs in the second half. The senior running back hasnít seen much action since his three-game suspension to open he season, but appears that he has worked his way back into favor with the coaching staff.

- Freshman wide receiver Kalib Woods was signaling in plays on the sidelines for the offense. Woods has been in this role for a majority of the season, but it should be noted that itís different for someone either than a backup quarterback to wear a headset. If anything, it will allow him to fully grasp the offense.

- FAU opened the game with a trick play after DíJoun Smith intercepted a pass. Daniel McKinney received the ball on a designed double-reverse and then floated a pass to Jaquez Johnson, who couldnít make the catch down field. The Owlís havenít used much trickery during the Pelini era, but decided to try a rare flare on Saturday.

- Defensive tackle Brandin Bryant finished second on the team with seven tackles. He also managed two quarterback hurries, which helped the defense control Marshallís quarterback Rakeem Cato in the first half.

- Cornerback Reggie Brown started the game in place of Keith Reaser who is out for the year. Brown became the second true freshman to start a game this season and the seventh of the Pelini era.

- Marshallís Devon Smith, who returned a punt 77-yards for a touchdown and had the catch that set up the game-winning field goal, is a transfer from Penn State. He joined the Thundering Herd after the sanctions at Penn State came down and allowed for players to transfer without sitting out a year.

- FAU held Marshall to just 355 yards of offense, which was the Thundering Herdís lowest total of the season. Marshall was averaging 469 yards a game coming into the contest, but was stymied by the Owlís defensive front. Earlier in the year Virginia Tech – which is regarded as a top-5 defense in the country – limited Marshall to 361 yards of offense.