Florida Atlantic enjoyed a huge 50-21 victory over Tulsa this past weekend. The Owls sprinted out to a 17-0 lead before surrendering their first points of the game. The overmatched Golden Hurricane could never catch up to FAU and Charlie Partridge picked up his first victory as a head coach. Not every unit was perfect though, so let's take a look at how the Owls graded out:
Jaquez Johnson led all quarterbacks with 3 passing touchdowns and one on the ground. This was one of Johnson's better performances of his career and his play matched the stats. Everytime he had the time to make a throw, it was on the money. Whenever the pocket collapsed around him, he would scamper away for a hefty run. I couldn't imagine Johnson playing much better. Greg Hankerson also looked impressive in mop-up duty. His one touchdown throw was a piece of beauty. Also, for those of you keeping score at home, Andrew Matyk will be the third option at quarterback in similar blow-out situations. It appears that coach Partridge wants to hold Jason Driskel's redshirt as long as possible (great idea).
Running Back: B-
Jay Warren built upon his performance against Alabama with a few solid runs. Warren's big play in the second quarter led to FAU's second offensive touchdown of the night. The consistency is still not visible enough to declare the job solely his, but his runs have come at opportune times for the Owls. Tony Moore stumbled around on a few carries, but still drew the defense's attention every time he was on the field.
Wide Receiver/Tight End: A+
None of the FAU receivers performed poorly. That's it. Jenson Stoshak crushed it. William Dukes finally emerged. Lucky Whitehead kept up his elusiveness. I can't remember seeing Alex Deleon do anything incorrectly. Derek Moise had a wonderful touchdown catch. This was Florida Atlantic's best unit on the night and Tulsa had no answer when the ball was in the air.
Offensive Line: B+
The FAU offensive line performed admirably against the Tulsa pass rush. There were plenty of plays where Jaquez Johnson had ample time to throw the ball. They pushed the Golden Hurricane around for most of the night, but could have done much more for the running attack. After all was said and done, it was still a dominant performance for an extremely important unit this season.
Defensive Line: B
Trevon Coley and Robinson Eugene came up with huge plays for the Owls. Eugene caused a pivotal intentional grounding safety that put FAU up 26-7 in the second quarter. The entire line contributed to the play throughout the drive with pass knock-downs and sacks. Coley found himself in the Tulsa backfield a few times, but his shining moment was an interception at the beginning of the 4th quarter. Even though it appeared they may have taken a few plays off, this unit was night and day compared to their showing against Nebraska and Alabama.
Andrae Kirk was all over the place. Unfortunately, the rest of the unit couldn't make as big of a mark on the Tulsa offense. This may have been an adjustment of scheme after the score got of hand, but the middle of the defense was wide open for a large portion of the night. While this unit did buckle down and make some plays before halftime, it was the "worst" performance on an otherwise incredible night.
Well, that was a much better representation of the FAU secondary. The playmakers were out and about and senior cornerback D'Joun Smith punctuated their effort with a pick-six in the first quarter. Damian Parms was everywhere and had a career-high 11 tackles on the night. Also, Raekwon Williams and Cre'von Leblanc redeemed themselves with solid performances. This was just the type of offense this unit needed to see to get back on track.
Special Teams: B-
After Saturday, it appears that the kick returners have been solidified. Lucky Whitehead and Henry Bussey performed extremely well and provided better than usual field position throughout the night. Bussey is only a true freshman and has looked very promising in his limited action. On the other side of the kicks, Greg Joseph started off the game with a made field goal, but missed his second after a long drive deep into Tulsa territory. This game was already getting out of hand at that moment, but FAU will need to convert these kicks if they want to keep things close against better teams.
This was total domination. FAU started off the season with two less than desirable results, but a big blowout victory at home was truly the perfect way to start off the "realistic" portion of the schedule. The students came out in droves and the alumni I spoke to after the game had nothing but positive things to say about the Owls. Between the ceremonial naming of Howard Schnellenberger Field, the packed student section and the red helmets, Saturday's game was a home-run for Florida Atlantic.