When the 2015 schedule was announced FAU circled their home opener against Miami as a must-see affair for the world to see that the Owls are no longer to be taken lightly.
In the early going that notion seemed dubious as old bugaboos continued to plague the Owls. A personal foul on FAU helped keep a Miami drive alive as the 'Canes drove down the field easily for a touchdown. FAU looked great on offense. Then a false start penalty in the red zone forced FAU to get a field goal.
After a one hour seven minute weather delay that killed any buzz FAU seemed to get from the crowd for no particular reason when there was no rain, no lightning, and a storm 26 miles away, Miami responded with a touchdown to lead 14-3.
Then something weird happened.
Jason Driskel came in at quarterback for an injured Jaquez Johnson midway through the first quarter. All of a sudden, FAU began to live up to the hype.
In Driskel's first ever appearance as an Owl, he orchestrated a 10-play, 83 yard-drive that resulted in a four-yard touchdown pass to Nate Terry that cut Miami's lead to four.
In his next possession Driskel led another touchdown drive as Jay Warren capped it off by scoring from nine yards out to tie the game at 17. FAU Stadium was in a frenzy. Miami looked rattled.
For a quarter FAU played like the better team. Driskel was unfazed by the early deficit and was 6-8 with 80 yards and one touchdown in his first two drives. The offense was humming as Warren had 96 rushing yards at the end of the first quarter.
At halftime Miami's lead was 20-17. FAU's outside shot of an upset, now seemed like a possibility.
Then something familiar began to happen. Miami began to play up to their talent, and FAU reverted back to committing mistakes.
Tied at 20, Miami drove down the field and capped it with a one-yard run from Joe Yeaby. Buddy Howell would fumble on the ensuing possession for FAU and the avalanche was underway. With the help of three second half turnovers, Miami would score 24 unanswered points and win 44-20 . During the scoring run, FAU's offensive possessions would end in a fumble, interception, punt, interception.
I've been very critical of the defense since the start of the season. Tonight they put in a valiant effort as they limited Miami to 13 points off of five FAU turnovers. They weren't the issue tonight.
Tonight it was mistakes against a much talented team that cost the Owls a win tonight.
Jay Warren was phenomenal as he had 11 carries for 132 yards and one touchdown. Unfortunately, Warren was unable to finish the game as he was injured on his last carry - a fumble - midway through the second quarter.
Despite Driskel's shaky play in the second half, he was great too. No one could have ever foreseen him coming in and leading two scoring drives off the bench. But a negative five in the turnover department is not going to get it done against a team with much better talent than you.
For a half the Owls played good enough to win. FAU's talent and depth were on full display as injuries to Johnson and Warren forced guys to step up. They did. And then they turned the ball over.
Next up for FAU will be Buffalo. Hopefully next week the team's talent and depth will be good enough for a win.