Oct 6, 2001
Florida Atlantic University (2-2) fell to host Drake University (3-2), 31-7 , Saturday afternoon, but the score did not negate two more first for the Inaugural Owls. Maurate Johnson grabbed the Owls first interception in the second quarter and Dekolan James scored his first collegiate touchdown in the third quarter.
"I take my hat off to the Drake players and coaching staff," said Howard Schnellenberger, FAU's head coach and director of football operations. "We could not even slow them down defensively. We just need to re-group and start over again. They were just a very proficient football team."
Drake has sponsored collegiate football for 108 seasons, ranks 18th overall in victories with 499 among the 123 NCAA Division I-AA schools. This season they hope to become the 18th school to record 500 or more victories. Saturday's contest was the squads 973 game. It was Florida Atlantic University's fourth and on Saturday, experience prevailed.
Drake's pre-game intentions were to show as many offensive schemes to the young FAU defense with the hope causing confusion. The mind set of the defense was to blitz and cause constant pressure. Both game plans worked.
The Bulldogs, despite having a kicker who is billed as one of the best kickers at the Division I-AA level, elected to receive and put the game plan to task. Drake elected to receive and proceeded with a seven play, 70-yard drive to take a 7-0 lead after 3:33. The Bulldogs, who average 35 points and 436.5 yards per game through their first four games of the season, were held to 31 total points and 426 yards.
The following series Drake held FAU and followed with a 10-play drive late in the first to set up a score just six seconds into the second quarter. Drake quarterback, Ira Vandever completed the 85 yard drive with a five-yard roll out for the score. Vandever entered the game averaging an impressive 317 yards, 241.7 in the air. He concluded the day with 225 yards passing (20-33 with 1 INT) and was second on the squad with 71 yards on the ground and one touchdown.
FAU free safety, Maurante Johnson saved a potential third score with an end zone interception and picked up two yards before turning over the ball to the offense. Johnson's grab was the program's first interception. Two plays later, FAU's Jared Allen, who was 13-23 for 200 yards, was picked off by Ifeanyi Oteh giving the ball back to the Bulldogs on their own 11. The result was a LaRon McKinnis two-yard run completing a 11 yard four-play drive. With 8:42 remaining in the half. Drake led 21-0.
Anthony Jackson, who entered the game ranked no. 9 nationally in kick-off returns with a 33.7 average, received the kick-off in the end zone and brought it out for a gain of 15 yards. Garrett Jahn, who came in the game for Allen, dropped back for his first play, was sacked and fumbled. Drake received the ball on the 11-yard line, but was held to a 32 yard field goal by Billy Cundiff. It was Cundiff's seventh consecutive field goal of the season.
Jahn returned to the field to connect on three-consecutive passes and quickly marched two-thirds of the field before a fourth down and four saw his pass fall, an end zone pass to Larry Taylor. Jahn made the most of his opportunities with an 8-15 performance for 135 yards.
With just three seconds remaining in the half, Drake's Billy Cundiff attempted a 57-yard field goal. His longest of the season was a 50 score. The missed attempt ended his seven-consecutive field goal streak.
FAU opened the second half with the ball on their 35, following a Doug Parker run and a completion to Thomas Parker, the Owls found themselves marching quickly towards the goal line. Andy Rosas attempted a 33 yard field goal which fell wide keeping the score a 24-0 Drake.
Like their first four games, the team's defense made halftime adjustments holding Drake's offense, which gave the Owls an opportunity to score the team's first touchdown of the game. Fullback, Dekolan James carried the ball 44 yards down the Drake sideline and into the end zone for the score, his first collegiate touchdown.
Drake would score once more for the game's 31-7 final on a 54-yard run by Phil Joseph.
Statistically, FAU was led by Dekolan James who gained 57 yards, including his 44 yard TD. Doug Parker was held to 14 yards and Anthony Jackson 13. Larry Taylor led the receivers with six receptions for 95 yards. Defensively, Maurante Johnson led the Owls with 12 tackles, 10 unassisted., along with the interception. Joe Walker, returning from an ankle injury he suffered in the Marist game, added 10 tackles, eight unassisted.
FAU will next play host to Jacksonville University, 4 pm, October 13, at Pro Player.