Despite another great performance on the ground, the Florida Atlantic Owls lost on the road to the Buffalo Bulls 34-31. Trailing 27-24 with over four minutes left in the game with the ball at their own 16-yard line, Lane Kiffin decided to go for it on fourth-and-three. The Owls didn’t convert as Motor Singletary was stuffed a yard short (though it looked like a really bad spot).
Three plays later Buffalo’s backup quarterback Drew Anderson would connect with Anthony Johnson for a touchdown to put the game away.
While the gamble ended up costing the Owls, I wasn’t particularly upset at the decision at the time as I didn’t think the Owls would end up scoring anyway because I knew at some point Jason Driskel was going to have to win the game.
In a surprise decision, Jason Driskel got the start instead of Daniel Parr. But to the surprise of no one Driskel didn’t play particularly well. Given that Parr was healthy, I’m disappointed he didn’t make an appearance as it was clear from the start of the game that Driskel would struggle. On Driskel’s first pass of the game he nearly threw an interception. On his third pass attempt he did. That pretty much sums up his performance last night, as Driskel finished 17-of-29 for 150 yards and one interception.
In a bit of symmetry, Driskel’s worst game of his career was against Buffalo two years ago. Although Driskel didn’t commit the same amount of turnovers, last night’s performance is right up there.
Devin Singletary rushed for 156 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries and appears destined to be the Alford Morris of this era of FAU football as Singletary continues to be amazing. Kerrith Whyte Jr. filled in for Gregory Howell who didn’t play due to an undisclosed injury, and rushed for 72 yards with one touchdown on five carries.
Despite ample evidence that the Owls should be a run-first team at all times, Kendall Briles insists on featuring the passing offense first. That decision led to a quick 14 point deficit as Buffalo gashed the Owls on the ground in the opening quarter.
The Owls were able to tie things up at 14 in the second quarter once Briles started to feature the rushing offense as Howell and Whyte each had touchdown runs over 30 yards.
Unfortunately, the defense was terrible last night. Continuing the trend of Florida players torching FAU, Crestview native Emmanuel Reed rushed for 107 yards. Buffalo’s two quarterbacks Tyree Jackson and Anderson combined for 254 passing yards on 27 attempts. Buffalo has two quarterbacks that are better than any quarterback FAU can offer at the moment.
Buffalo out-gained FAU 458-412 with their backup quarterback and third string running back carrying the load for the majority of the game. That’s embarrassing. This loss is embarrassing, and the honeymoon for the Lane Kiffin era is officially over.
Once again, four games in and the season already feels over. In what seemed like a for sure 2-2 start entering conference play at worst, the Owls will finish under .500 after four games for the 10th straight season.
At 1-3, FAU will try to snap a nine-game losing streak to Middle Tennessee next week at FAU Stadium.