Disaster struck in the middle of the second quarter in Death Valley on Saturday night. In what wound up being a 48-14 defeat to Clemson, Florida Atlantic suffered an even greater loss in the injury department.
Starting quarterback Casey Thompson suffered a season-ending ACL injury, which was confirmed by head coach Tom Herman to The Palm Beach Post reporter Zachary Weinberger on Monday. Thompson faced a heavy blitz on 3rd and 5, and was struck while firing a pass to wide receiver LaJohntay Wester. He struggled to stand up and was assisted off the field by trainers, prematurely concluding his first season at Florida Atlantic.
Thompson transferred to Florida Atlantic this offseason after previous stints at Texas and Nebraska — following Herman, his former Longhorn coach to Boca Raton. This season, the sixth-year senior showcased a 63.3 completion percentage, firing for 509 yards, five touchdowns, and five interceptions in three starts. This was Thompson’s third year as a starting quarterback in the FBS, holding the No. 1 role for Texas for the majority of the 2021 season and then at Nebraska in 2022.
Thompson accumulated 2,113 passing yards with a 24-to-9 touchdown-to-interception ratio in 2021 and a career-best 2,407 passing yards in 2022 with 17 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Prior to becoming a starter, the Oklahoma City native enjoyed a performance for the ages in the 2020 Alamo Bowl, filling in for the injured Sam Ehlinger. Thompson completed 8-of-10 attempts for 170 yards and an Alamo Bowl-record four touchdown passes in a decisive victory over Colorado.
After Thompson was assisted off the field in Clemson on Saturday, backup quarterback Daniel Richardson provided relief duties. Richardson was a 3-year starter at Central Michigan, particularly shining in the 2021 campaign with 2,633 passing yards, 24 touchdowns, and six interceptions. He guided the Chippewas to a MAC-best 9-4 overall record that year and started at quarterback in the team’s statement Sun Bowl victory over Washington State.
Richardson will assume the starting quarterback role as Florida Atlantic continues its non-conference schedule at Illinois next Saturday, before commencing its first-ever AAC slate on Oct. 7.