With two seconds remaining in the game, ODU kicker Satchel Ziffer put in a 32-yard field goal to pull the Monarchs to a 31-28 victory over the Owls. With the win, the Monarchs have claimed bowl eligibility for the first time in its very short career in the FBS. Too bad they won't be attending. Stupid NCAA transition rules.
ODU had a very successful game, led by quarterback Taylor Heinicke, who finished 31 for 48 for 275 yards and three touchdown passes. Wide receiver Antonio Vaughn led all receivers in the game with seven receptions for 57 yards and a score. Running back Ray Lawry rushed for a career high 201 yards off of 23 carries and a touchdown. He was a big impact performer, carrying the team to the red zone and setting up Heinicke for easy touchdown passes.
For FAU, the offense was quiet. Quarterback Jaquez Johnson led the team in passing with 133 yards on 9 for 19 passing. He ran well with 71 yards on ten carries and a touchdown, complemented by Tony Moore who led the Owls ground attack, rushing for 83 yards off of 15 carries. The FAU special teams were the highlight of the night, with wide receiver Lucky Whitehead returning a punt 73 yards for a touchdown.
ODU is now one of seven Conference USA teams to reach 6-6 and in a normal year, would be bowl eligible. This was their first season in Conference USA and first overall season in the FBS, which means that they are ineligible for the postseason unless there are not enough bowl eligible teams to fill out all 76 slots, which looks unlikely.
The Owls look to rebuild now, losing some of their better players including corner back D'Joun Smith who will be playing in the Senior Bowl, Lucky Whitehead, and tight end Alex Deleon who was Jaquez Johnson's favorite red zone target. ODU will lose QB Taylor Heinicke, who is expected to be an early pick on the second day of the draft.
Player of the Game:
It has to be freshman running back Ray Lawry for ODU, who went for a combined total of 227 yards and a score.