It took eight straight tries, but Florida Atlantic football has something to celebrate tonight after taking down Rice 42-25 in the third meeting of the Battle of the Owls, and ending a seven game losing streak.
"To see them finally get a chance to sing our fight song after a win in the locker room is a special moment", said head coach Charlie Partridge. "They havenít wavered, they havenít fallen off-course and for that Iím just happy for them and I mean that from the bottom of my heart."
FAU had their offense firing on all cylinders, romping for a school record 653 yards in the victory, 252 of which came from fleet footed freshman running back Devin "Motor" Singletary (photo).
Singletary's mark established a new single game program-high, eclipsing Alfred Morris' 198 showing against UAB back in 2011.
Rice (1-8, 0-6) gained an early 7-0 lead in the first quarter, but FAU bounced back to regain control 21-14 when Singletary took it in from 14 yards out. The Boca Raton based Owls would not trail again in the contest.
Staying ahead in the count proved pivital. Unlike recent games, the majority of yardage was produced on first down - 406 to be exact (210 rushing, 196 passing).
Rice cut the lead to 35-25, then Singletary broke for a 66-yard scoring run to put FAU up 42-25 with 10:30 to play.
Daniel Parr earned his first start at quarterback on Saturday, however only saw two series with Jason Driskel having one of his best showings in an FAU uniform.
The sophomore went 15-of-23 for 317 yards, and had a pair of touchdown throws to both John Mitchell (33 yards) and Henry Bussey (84 yards). Driskel found eight different targets for the game.
"Jason came in and lit it up", said Partridge. "It obviously ended up working out for our offense."
In the end, FAU pressured Rice successfully, which helped snuff out multiple attempts to draw the game score back their way.
Linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair and defensive end Trey Hendrickson each registered two sacks. Josh Kendall rounded out the team's five sack performance with a solo effort.
"When you can get a four man pass rush going early in the game it allows you to play the pass coverages you want", Partridge said. "You can take a lot less risks on the back end."
The final outcome cloud have been more lopsided but normally reliable kicker Greg Joseph, who entered the day 7-of-7, missed three field goal attempts (32, 52, 28) with two hitting the goal post.
The Owls also saw 122 yards in penalties, a few of which negative large gains.
Wide receiver Henry Bussey had a break out game as well for Florida Atlantic on Saturday, posting 132 yards off of four catches with a touchdown.
FAU (2-7, 1-4) will next host UTEP on Saturday, November 12th at 6:00 PM in the first of back-to-back games at Schnellenberger Field.