FAU was held under their season average in points per game, yards per game, and rushing yards per game, but it didn’t matter as the Owls were able to hold on for a 30-25 win over Marshall thanks to the defense forcing four turnovers.
With just over three minutes left in the game, Jalen Young intercepted Chase Litton’s desperation heave to secure FAU’s first ever win over Marshall. It was Young’s third interception of the day.
FAU entered the game with one of the best turnover margins in the country and will remain there after another great ball-hawking performance from the defense. The Owls scored 16 points off of Marshall’s turnovers.
FAU started the game on a 13-0 scoring run as Jason Driskel scored from two yards out to cap a 16-play, 74-yard drive. The Owls were setup up with great field position on their next scoring drive after Jalen Young intercepted a tipped Chase Litton pass. When Willie Wright took a jet sweep to the house from 19 yards out, it looked like the game might turn into a blowout victory for the Owls.
The defense continued to keep the Herd out the end zone in the first half but the offense couldn’t build on the 13-point lead, as FAU went into the half up 16-3. It wasn’t a great game from the offense. Devin Singletary was once again phenomenal as he rushed for 203 yards and one touchdown, while adding 72 receiving yards, including a 60-yard touchdown reception.
But aside from Singletary no one else had a great day. Jason Driskel was 11-of-17 for 104 yards. Kalib Woods had two catches for 37 yards, and Harrison Bryant had three catches for 33 yards. The offense finished with 353 total yards of offense, a far cry from their season average of 468 yards per game. However, their turnover-free play ended up being the difference.
Marshall started to catch fire in the second half as they scored 13 straight points to tie the game. Chase Litton found an open Ryan Yurachek for a touchdown on what appeared to be a blown assignment from Rashad Smith, as he dropped into zone coverage. The Herd then stole an extra possession due to recovering an onside kick. Keion Davis scored from 1-yard out to tie the game but Marshall would miss the extra point to take the lead.
All the momentum was on Marshall’s side. Lane Kiffin then reached into his own bag of tricks as Kamrin Solomon would connect with Devin Singletary for a 60-yard touchdown to give FAU a 23-16 lead. It was the play of the game, as it swung all the momentum back to FAU.
Bet @Lane_Kiffin had his up early on this one!@FAU_Football DOUBLE-PASS for SIX! pic.twitter.com/bSOCFDCLVl— Conference USA (@ConferenceUSA) November 4, 2017
Singletary would cash in Young’s second interception on a 13-yard touchdown run, in which he bounced off a tackler before walking in the end zone. Litton would connect with Yurachek from 15-yards out with over five minutes left in the game to make it 30-23, but was unable to deliver when it mattered most.
Litton finished the game 20-of-39 with two touchdowns and four interceptions. Litton almost had one more chance to be a hero after Kiffin decided to take a safety with eight seconds left in the game, but Marshall used up the remaining time trying to score on the ensuing kickoff.
FAU’s defense held Marshall to 381 yards on offense and had another tremendous game against the run. Marshall ran the ball 41 times for 128 yards. The defensive line still struggled at rushing the quarterback as Ernest Bagner was the only player to register a sack, but with the way the secondary is playing FAU can live with the lack of a pass rush right now. Shelton Lewis was the other FAU player to record an interception.
Marshall has now lost two straight and moves to 6-3, 3-2, on the season. The Herd will host WKU in the Moonshine Throwdown next Saturday.
With the win, FAU is now bowl eligible for the first time since 2013 and moves to 5-0 in conference play. The Owls will head to Ruston and play a Louisiana Tech team that was picked to win C-USA West earlier this season, but has struggled to meet expectations. Unlike 2013, where FAU was snubbed of a bowl game, expect the Owls to play in their first bowl game since 2008.
BOWLING!!!!! pic.twitter.com/DWm7WXEKMx— FAU Football (@FAU_Football) November 4, 2017