FAU's loss to Old Dominion (4-6, 3-3 C-USA) took one of the strangest turns a college football game has ever taken.
After the Owls (5-5, 3-3 C-USA) took the lead with an Aaron Shahriari [photo] field goal, Old Dominion drew a safety two drives later to make it a 3-2 game. That score held until Old Dominion forced yet another safety on an intentional grounding with 5 minutes to go in the second half to make it a 4-3 ballgame.
With 33 seconds to go, a touchdown was finally scored. ODU running back Blake Watson just got to the pylon before losing possession of the ball at the end of a 12-yard rush to put the Monarchs up 11-3 at the half.
After another ODU field goal, the Owls found themselves down 14-3 and still couldn't get much going. That was the case until N'Kosi Perry found Brandon Robinson for a 59-yard bomb to make it a 14-10 ballgame with 6:40 to go in the third quarter.
FAU held the Monarchs to a red-zone field goal for the third time in the game, with ODU coming out to a 17-10 lead with 3:44 to go in the third quarter after converting it. The Owls didn't take advantage of the preservation of the one-score deficit, fumbling away the football just 1:22 later. The Monarchs would get all the way down to FAU's two yard line, but the Owl defense held strong again and forced another field goal, making it a 20-10 game with 10 seconds to go in the third quarter.
Johnny Ford would take over on the ensuing drive, punching in a two-yard touchdown after coming up with a huge catch on a 39-yard pass. The extra point attempt was blocked and returned for a score afterward, making it a 22-16 game with 10:58 to go.
FAU held ODU to a three-and-out on the following drive, but they would go three-and-out themselves. In the next possession, the Monarchs drove down the field and struck with a 14-yard touchdown pass, also adding on a successful two-point conversion to make it a 30-16 game.
Johnny Ford had his usual standout performance, rushing for 101 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries while the safety tandem of Jordan Helm (16) and Teja Young (11) combined for 27 tackles.
The Owls will be back in action on Saturday, Nov. 20 as they take on the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. Kickoff will be at 12:00 p.m.
Here are our takeaways from the loss:
- Built Ford Tough - Did anybody notice that Johnny Ford had over a hundred yards rushing? He was also the Owlsí third-best receiver with 44 yards. He hauled in FAUís second-longest reception, a 34 yard delayed bomb, before his two-yard score. In fact, he was responsible for 53 of the 64 yards gained on that scoring drive. The Owls only looked like a threat when the ball was in his hands. And while thatís good for Ford, itís disappointing for a program that became used to picking their poison en route to blowout wins.
- Momentum Swings - Seemed like everything that could go against FAU, did go against FAU. Even the PAT following Fordís touchdown was returned by ODU for two points, allowing the hosts to instantly retake the momentum. Even the penalties against the Monarchs aided their cause. An ODU holding turned into a first down on the very next play. Every little swing for FAU resulted in an instant counter-swing for the Monarchs.
- Mission Failure, Again - Owls were given a gift with UAB beating Marshall in Huntington. The win opened the door for FAUís game vs. Western Kentucky to become the de facto C-USA East Division championship. But nonetheless, FAU couldnít get out of their own way. And even if the Owls could squeak out a win, which looked possible with about ten minutes left in the game, FAU wouldnít deserve a place in the C-USA Championship because they havenít put stringed together consistent strong games all season.
- Wacky First Half - Despite gaining 134 yards of offense in the first half, just 68 yards fewer than Old Dominion's total, FAU just couldn't finish a drive in the first half. Since the Aaron Shahriari field goal that put them up 3-0 on their second drive, the Owls missed a field goal, punted the ball, and gave up two safeties, allowing the Monarchs to gain momentum, ultimately giving them an 11-3 lead at the half.
- Penalties, Penalties, Penalties - FAU took an egregious amount of penalties against Old Dominion, a lot of them defensive penalties on third down. Those penalties gave ODU's offense life and ultimately helped lead to FAU's demise in this game. They had 12 penalties for 104 yards to ODU's five penalties for 39 yards.
- 3>7 (on defense, at least) - The Owls' defense did a great job at keeping the team in the game, holding Old Dominion to a field goal four times, including a miss. All three of those field goals were from the red zone. FAU's defense held ODU to just 5-7 from the red zone, including just two touchdowns on those five scores.