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Owls Near Post Season Berth in Redemptive Win Over Hilltoppers

Florida Atlantic moved to within one game of bowl eligibility on Saturday with a 42-28 comeback victory over defending C-USA Champions Western Kentucky.

The win avenged last year's gut wrenching 52-3 loss to the Hilltoppers in Boca Raton.

The Hilltoppers took a 21-20 lead into the break, scoring on a 12-yard touchdown pass.

"We didn't play very well early on - sloppy - threw an interception, and didn't takle very well, which was a concern", said head Coach Lane Kiffin.

WKU extended the advantage to 28-20 late in the 3rd after 1-yard touchdown run.

However, FAU (5-3, 4-0 C-USA) ended the game with 22 straight points behind the legs of Devin Singletary and held the Hilltoppers scoreless the last 12:35 of regulation.

"I thought our players did a great job of fighting through that…the way that they played in the fourth quarter, I was really proud of them."

Singletary's 244 yards for the contest was just 13 yards from his career high set against Rice last season.

"Six straight one hundred yard games was good to see, Kiffin said. "He looked different in the fourth quarter, he was not going to let us lose."

Willie Wright led the receiving corps with four catches for 63 yards, and added 39 more on the ground for 102 all-purpose yards.

Azeez Al-Shaair led the defense with 14 tackles, and Shelton Lewis and Herb Miller had seven each.

The Owls will return to Schnellenberger Field Friday night to take on Marshall with kickoff slated for 6:00 PM.

The Herd lost to FIU 41-30 at home on Saturday, allowing the Owls to remain the only undefeated team in C-USA play.

"I don't know what happened today…we're going to have our hands full, they have a really good team", Kiffin said of Marshall.

Game Notes

  • After the teams traded empty first possessions, WKU (5-3, 3-2 C-USA) scored first, on a 6-yard touchdown pass.
  • The Owls’ offense responded by driving into the red zone and getting a 29-yard field goal from Greg Joseph.
  • Two WKU plays later Andrew Soroh came up with his first interception of 2017 to flip the field.
  • Singletary took it in from 12 yards out to give the Owls their first lead at 10-7.
  • Soroh came up with his second takeaway, early in the 2nd, falling on a Hilltopper fumble forced by Jalen Young.
  • With another short field, it took FAU just five plays to score, with Singletary going into the end zone to make it 17-7.
  • WKU cut the Owls’ lead down to three, 17-14, midway through the 2nd on a rushing score.
  • With 4:36 left before the break, Joseph hit from 48 yards against a heavy wind giving FAU a 20-14 advantage.
  • After a 13-yard sack by Hunter Snyder, Herb Miller interception notched the Owls' fourth turnover for a +3 turnover margin.
  • Jason Driskel (10-24, 93 yards, TD, INT) found Willie Wright for 49 yards to push the Owls ahead 35-28 with 9:11 remaining.
  • On a 4th-and-11, punter Ryan Rickel converted a fake to extend an Owls’ drive.
  • Leighton McCarthy snuffed out any hint of a WKU comeback with a 4th down sack of Mike White with 1:50 left.
  • The game's last play was a 20-yard rush by Gregory Howell (photo), giving the Owls 368 yards on the ground.
  • Singletary has 1,053 yards for 2017 with 18 rushing touchdowns, and for his career, 2,074 yards and 30 scores.

Jonathan Fraysure - FAU


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