FAU continued their domination over Conference USA with a 48-23 victory over Louisiana Tech. The win moves FAU’s record to 7-3 overall, and 6-0 in conference play. Louisiana Tech is now 4-6, 2-4, and is in danger of missing out on a bowl game for the first time since 2013, Skip Holtz’s first season in Ruston.
How the Owls managed to win falls squarely on the shoulders of good coaching and Jason Driskel’s performance. For the first time during conference play, Devin Singletary didn’t dominate the opposing defense. Singletary rushed for 104 yards and three touchdowns. Those stats are a great game for anyone else, but for Singletary they’re just good.
The recipe to beat the Owls is to make Driskel win it with his arm. La Tech employed said gameplan but Driskel beat them. Driskel was 14-of-17 for 221 yards and two touchdowns.
If you didn’t watch the game and just looked at the boxscore, La Tech out-gained FAU 512-415, dominated time of possession, won the turnover battle, and gained more first downs.
While the offense wasn’t as potent as they were on the ground, Lane Kiffin and Kendal Briles really opened up the passing attack via trick plays. It was the exact strategy FAU used to create some separation against Marshall and it worked again, as Jason Driskel connected with Kalib Woods for a 77-yard touchdown on a reverse pass.
That trick play really swung all of the momentum to FAU and from that point on, it was hard to envision La Tech keeping the game competitive. The defense played excellent red-zone defense, holding Tech to nine points on four trips to the red zone in the first half. Field goals aren’t going to beat FAU, yet Holtz continued to not be aggressive and it was costly.
The Owls started the second half with a 20-9 lead. On the kickoff to start the second half, Kerrith Whyte Jr. took it to the house from 98-yards out to give FAU their first kickoff return for a touchdown in school history.
It was all FAU from that point on as the Owls dominated the third quarter, as Devin Singletary added two touchdown runs. Throughout the game, FAU played with a swagger that I had never seen the Owls play with before. They knew they were the better team, and handled their business with relative ease. Kiffin and the coaching staff was on them about this being a trap game and the players responded well. On to the next one.
Due to FIU’s 37-30 home loss to Old Dominion, FAU only needs to win one of their two remaining games (FIU or at Charlotte) to bring home their first Conference USA East division title, and clinch a spot in the Conference USA Championship Game against North Texas.
FIU ruined the opportunity for College Gameday to visit FAU and make the Shula Bowl a winner-take-all for the C-USA East title but make no mistake, this is still the biggest Shula Bowl ever. Next Saturday night, FAU will host FIU with a chance to make history.
Given the renaissance seasons both schools are having, this year’s Shula Bowl will mark a new chapter in the rivalry.