Published On: Wed, Nov 22nd, 2017

FAU Will Host C-USA Championship After Seventh Straight Victory

By: Jack Rubin

The Lane Train kept rolling Saturday night, as the Florida Atlantic Owls defeated rival Florida International by a massive score of 52-24. Florida Atlantic racked up 572 yards, outgaining the Panthers by 269. FAU improved to 8-3 with the win, remaining undefeated in conference play.

While it has been an odd year in the Florida college football universe, one thing is certain; the Owls are trending upwards.

FAU reclaimed the Shula Bowl trophy with the rout. FIU beat the Owls 33-31 last year, sinking the Owls to 1-4 at the time. To call what Kiffin’s Owls have accomplished since then incredible is no understatement, and the victory over FIU is their latest accolade.

Senior Night kicked off with FAU on offense in front of 24,116 fans. Quarterback Jason Driskel was perfect on the first drive, completing all five of his passes. The Owls drive spanned 76 yards, culminating in a 13-yard touchdown catch by tight end Harrison Bryant.

Later in the first quarter, Devin “Motor” Singletary snapped off a 70-yard touchdown run. The sophomore broke ex-FAU turned NFL player Alfred Morris’ single-season rushing yards record of 1,392 yards. FAU’s star totaled 164 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Singletary will remain a force on FAU’s offense for the next two years.

Nov 18, 2017; Boca Raton, FL, USA; Florida Atlantic Owls players hoist up the Don Shula Award trophy after they defeated the FIU Golden Panthers at FAU Football Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

FIU came within striking distance of the Owls when they made the score 14-10 with 3:43 to go in the second quarter. However, FAU immediately responded with a 75-yard drive capped off by another Driskel touchdown pass. Driskel had a great evening, delivering exactly what Lane Kiffin needs with four touchdown passes over 239 yards and just one interception.

On the receiving end, senior Kalib Woods had a banner night in his last regular season home game. Woods caught 7 passes for 172 yards, two of which were touchdowns. His seven catches were good for 24.6 yards per reception.

Florida Atlantic’s defense also impressed in the victory. While Kiffin’s offense thrived as they have all season, the defense totaled four sacks. Three of those came from sophomore linebacker Rashad Smith.

Kiffin stated, “It’s an exciting time for our players, for our fans (and) for our alumni. We’ve been beaten down for a while, and we’ve talked for a few weeks now about, you gotta keep knocking people off. If there’s gonna be a new bully in town, you gotta go and take care of everybody.”

In just one year under Lane Kiffin, FAU has improved in every possible way. A win over 1-10 Charlotte would put the Owls at 9-3 to finish the season. That would be their best regular season record since the program’s inception in 2004, lead by legendary coach Howard Schnellenberger. FAU has only won two bowl games in 13 seasons, and they are bowl eligible for the first time since 2013.

Heightened press coverage has also come with success and a big name coach. ESPN’s College Gameday included FAU vs. FIU in their Saturday Selections segment, territory usually reserved for huge power 5 programs. Florida Atlantic is making waves nationally.

The Owls will host the C-USA championship game on December 2, when North Texas comes to town. A win would give the Owls their first-ever C-USA championship.

About the Author

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>