Owls Fall Short Against Buffalo
FAU football's 10 year quest for a .500 mark four games into the season will have to wait for at least two more weekends as Buffalo gutted out a 34-31 win against the visiting Owls on Saturday night.
The Owls were concerned about Buffalo's lead man and quarterback Tyree Jackson, but in the end fell prey to his back-up Drew Anderson (216.2 rating) who was 7-of-9 for 109 yards and a touchdown in relief.
Buffalo took 4:37 off the clock on their opening drive to post the game's first points, and followed that with another, as the Owls struggled to account for quarterback Tyree Jackson.
Without any official explanation prior to the game, Jason Driskel got the start for FAU, but was 1-3 on the Owls' first possession with a ball that was well off the mark and an interception.
Driskel would tally a 17-of-29 mark in the passing game for 150 yards.
"We thought Driskel played a little bit better during the week so we gave him a shot", said Coach Lane Kiffin. "Not a very efficient passing day."
Down 14-0, Kerrith Whyte took a Driskel handoff 39 yards to the house to get Florida Atantic back to within a score.
After celebrating their first defensive stop, the Owls notched the contest with another long run - this time by Devin Singletary from 34 yards out.
Things were beginning to look good for the Owls when a 28 yard punt return by Willie Wright set FAU up with good field position for a 35 yard field goal by Greg Joseph and their first lead.
Buffalo would establish a first and goal situation threatening to regain control, but FAU's defense stood strong forcing them to settle for a field goal as well and a 17-17 close to the half.
However, with Florida Atlantic (1-3) unable to find sustaining rhythm from the passing game to start the second half, the Bulls sucked over 9:00 off the clock in the third en route to their third touchdown and assumed the lead.
They would push the margin to double digits by adding their second field goal four minutes into the final period - all with reserve quarterback Drew Anderson stepping in for Jackson, who was injured just before halftime.
Florida Atlantic got back within three as Singletary (photo) crossed the goal line again for his second score, leaving the Owls down 27-24 with 7:30 to play.
Apparently feeling that their best chance at continuing the momentum towards winning was the highly risky option to go for it on 4th and three deep in their own territory with 2:38 remaining, Singletary's rush was just shy of the marker, handing the ball back to the Bulls.
Buffalo (2-2) capitolized on the decision with a touchdown, effectively putting the game away.
FAU would launch perhaps their best offensive showing of the night with a 75 yard touchdown drive, which was again capped by Singletary, just 1:24 thereafter. But an onside kick attempt for the full circle comeback but was recovered by the Bulls.
"I thought we'd win this game", Kiffin said. "It is what it is".
Freshman Zyon Gilbert registered 15 tackles, and a game best nine solo, for Florida Atlantic. Not far behind was LB Rashad Smith, who had 12 and five respectively.
Willie Wright was FAU's leading receiver with 43 yards off of four catches, and Singletary rushed for a game high 156 yards with three scores.
The Owls will look for their first win against Middle Tennessee in 10 years next Saturday at Schnellenberger Field when the Blue Raiders pay a visit to Boca Raton. Kick-off is slated for 7:00 PM.
The game can be seen on Stadium - C-USA's new social media partner - which broadcasts live via FaceBook and Twitter, as well as Pluto.tv.