Charlie Partridge has been a part of many firsts this year, but this was one he would rather not have been apart of.
FIU defeated FAU 38-10 in the Shula Bowl, making Partridge the first coach in FAU history to lose his first game against rival FIU.
Turnovers have plagued the Owls all year and this game was no different. In the third quarter with a chance to tie the game near the goal line, FAU was yards away from the end zone before Jay Warren fumbled the ball, resulting in a 100 yard fumble return for Richard Leonard making it 24-10.
The Owls were unable to recover from there as FIU scored 24 straight points to put the game out of reach.
“All the credit goes to FIU and the plan they put together,” said Partridge.
FAU outgained FIU 383 to 345 but committed four turnovers to FIU’s one. Three of those turnovers occurred in the red zone. FIU was also a perfect 4-4 in the red zone. FAU was 1-4.
FIU turned turnovers into 21 points. FAU turned one into three.
“Turnovers were the story of the game,” said Partridge.
FAU got on the board first via Greg Joseph’s 26 yard field goal after a fumble recovery by Alex DeLeon on an FIU punt return. The lead was short-lived, as FIU marched down the field with a seven play, 70 yard touchdown drive. Former commit Alex Gardner capped it off with a 24 yard touchdown run to put FIU ahead 7-3 in the first quarter.
It took four tries, but FIU was able to convert the turnover to a one yard touchdown run by Anthon Samuel to put the Golden Panthers ahead 14-3 early in the second quarter.
The Owls’ offense was able to get back on track with a quick three play, 85 yard touchdown drive as Warren ran through untouched for a 31 yard touchdown run to make it 14-10.
That would be the last score for the Owls.
The game featured a one hour, 50 minute lightning delay.
Lucky Whitehead (photo) led the Owls in receiving with 84 yards off of eight catches.
FAU will now head back to the drawing board as they have a week and a half off before their next game, at home against Western Kentucky.