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Owls Fly Past Air Force

Florida Atlantic picked up their first win against a triple option team at the FBS level, defeating Air Force 33-27 on Saturday afternoon at Howard Schnellenberger Field.

The win was also the first FBS non-conference win since defeating Tulsa 50-21 in Boca Raton on September 13, 2014.

With validation still looming after the Owls' loss to Oklahoma last weekened, Chris Robison more than showed why he has earned the starting job, tallying the most single game passing yards ever (471) to surpass Rusty Smith's mark of 463 set against Minnesota in 2007.

"He played the way we thought he could play", said Head Coach Lane Kiffin of Robison's performance. "He's really talented, we saw it last year on the service team."

To his aid, Robison (photo) found two consistent targets on the afternoon in that of Jovon Durante and Tavaris Harrison for 174 and 138 yards respectively.

This marked the the first time FAU has had two players with 100+ receiving yards since 2015.

Although the Owls never trailed in the game, there surely wasn't a loss of counter punching.

Despite long drives on their first two possessions, freshman kicker Vladamir Rivas posted the Owls' first six points which were accounted for by successful 24 and 34 yard attempts.

Robison, who was 8-for-8 on his opening drive, had FAU surging into Falcon territory yet again, but he later fumbled ending the effort.

On the Owls' ensuing possession, after going just 14 yards on 8 attempts, RB Devin Singletary finally found pay-dirt with a 36 yard dash into the end zone, giving the home team a 13-0 lead.

In answer, the Falcons went to the air to set up their first score - with a 38 yard toss - and later converted a 4th and goal from FAU's one yard line, making it 13-7 just before halftime.

Robison (33-of-40, 471 YD, 3 TD)  went to the air as well in response with successful strikes of 30, 12, and 19 yards before a 17 yard connection with Willie Wright to give the Owls a 19-7 lead at the break.

The toss was Robison's first career touchdown.

"Today he was special", said Wright of Robison. "Took it to a whole new level."

Against the norm for them, Air Force used the pass yet again to close the gap to 19-14 and provide the first score of the second half.

Robison then exploded for two 40+ yard passes and another FAU touchdown to boot.

Yet, the Falcons weren't done either, using one of FAU's many lengthy penalties on the afternoon to strike paydirt and keep the score close at 25-20 late in the third period.

Seeking the final shot, Robison's 49 yard passing play Jovan Durante to set up his third touchdown strike to Willie Wright from 26 yards out. After failing on their first try earlier in the contest, the Owls' second attempt at the two point conversion was good this time for a 33-20 edge with 10:41 left to play in the game.

The Falcons would threaten again after a stalled FAU drive in their own territory, but the Owl defense stepped up with a fourth down stop of their own while hoping to close the contest out.

In a last ditch effort, Air Force blocked the second FAU punt attempt in as many weeks which was returned for a touchdown to account for the final tally of 33-27.

"Obviously we didn't finish the game very well", Kiffin said. "Another blocked punt two weeks in a row…obviously got to work on that."

Quick Hits

  • Lightning delayed the start of the contest for 1:21.
  • The Owls held the Falcons to one 4th down conversion while stopping three.
  • Azzeez Al-Shaair (187 total) surpassed the program mark for solo tackles with five.
  • The previous mark of 183 was held by Franz Joseph (2006-08).
  • Singletary (16 carries, 57 yards) was held below 100 yards for the second straight week.
  • Singletary nearly had a 75 yard touchdown, but a holding call negated the effort.
  • FAU posted 26 first downs on the afternoon, a +6 increase over week one.
  • Owl LB Rashad Smith accounted for the lone Falcon turnover, an interception with :10 to play.
  • Smith led FAU with 16 total tackles, 4 of which were solo.
  • The Owls racked up 535 total yards to that of 373 for the Falcons.

Florida Atlantic (1-1) will remain at home next weekend, hosting Bethune Cookman for the second straight year. The Wildcats are coming off a 79-16 win vs Virginia University of Lynchburg on Saturday.

POST GAME 2018: Air Force - Lane Kiffin - FAU Owl's Nest