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Football Clinches C-USA East and Will Host Conference Championship after Shula Bowl Rout
Nov. 18, 2017

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BOCA RATON, Fla. - The Florida Atlantic University football team reclaimed the Shula Bowl trophy with a 52-24 rollover of FIU on Saturday night, clinching the Conference USA East Division and earning the right to host the 2017 C-USA Championship on Saturday, Dec. 2. The win came on FAU's Senior Night, in front of a Shula Bowl-record 24,116 fans.

 

Quotable

"It's an exciting time for our players, for our fans (and) for our alumni," said Head Coach Lane Kiffin. "We've been beaten down for a while, and we've talked for a few weeks now about, you gotta keep knocking people off. If there's gonna be a new bully in town, you gotta go and take care of everybody. (I'm) pleased how our players played at the end ... it was good to see how we came out and played in the second half, (they) seemed very motivated and seemed like they wanted to make a statement and not just be satisfied winning. Not just in the rivalry, but in the conference and for anybody who's watching. And I think they did that, especially in the second half, so it's good to see."

 

Quick Hits

  • The Owls (8-3, 7-0 C-USA) got the ball first, as FIU (6-4, 4-3 C-USA) deferred. Jason Driskel marched the home team 10 plays and 76 yards, including 5-of-5 through the air for 51 of that tally, ending with a 13-yard score to tight end Harrison Bryant and a 7-0 lead
  • The Panthers got into FAU territory, but Jeremiah Taleni sacked Alex McGough for a 5-yard loss, and two plays later, a 4th-and-8 pass attempt fell incomplete for a turnover on downs
  • FAU's second possession started with consecutive first down runs, by John Franklin III (10 yards) and "Motor" Devin Singletary (20), but a long field goal attempt missed wide left
  • Getting the ball back, the Owls needed just five plays, the bulk coming on Singletary's new career long of 70 and a score, to go up 14-0 late in the 1st
  • In the process, the sophomore broke Alfred Morris' single-season mark of 1,392 set in 2009
  • FIU halved the Owls' advantage with 7:59 left to go in the 2nd, on a 13-yard pass for a score, the eighth play of a 72-yard drive
  • The Panthers further cut into the deficit with a field goal just over four minutes later, good from 31 yards, to make it 14-10 at 3:43
  • FAU was able to get into the end zone right before the half ended, on the strength of the run but ending in a pass. Nine consecutive ground gains - including 14 yards by Willie Wright, 16 by "Buddy" Gregory Howell, Jr., and 14 by Singletary - preceded a 6-yard touchdown from Driskel to D'Anfernee McGriff, his first as an Owl
  • That gave the home team a 21-7 lead with 27 seconds to go in the 1st half. At that point, the Owls had a 303-103 advantage in total yards
  • After sustained drives before the break, FAU just needed two plays to get on the board after. Driskel found Kalib Woods in stride for a 79-yard bomb, marking Woods' career long and Driskel's career-high third in a game, and the biggest lead of the night to that point, 27-10
  • Woods went over 100 yards for the fifth time in his career with the catch
  • FIU would answer just 2:54 later, with Alex Gardner's 14-yard run making it 27-17
  • The Driskel-to-Woods connection continued with another score, a 7-yard pass and the fourth of the night for the redshirt junior quarterback, to push the advantage back out to 17
  • Greg Joseph came through with a 44-yard field goal to make it 10 straight points for the Owls, and a 37-17 margin late in the 3rd
  • A 39-yard touchdown pass for the Panthers that was reviewed and confirmed was the first score of the final quarter and with the extra point, trimmed the game to 37-24
  • The Owls then put together a drawn-out series, eating 7:04 of game clock, before another score. The touchdown came from three yards out by Singletary and the drive included catches of 32 and 21 yards by Woods. Woods also added the two-point conversion catch from Driskel to make it 45-24
  • Rashad Smith helped snuff out the next-to-last FIU drive with his third sack of the night, the play just before another turnover on downs with just 3:39 to go
  • The Owls' final touchdown came courtesy of some seniors on the ground: Howell for 11 yards, Franklin 28 yards a couple of plays later, and then Howell with the score from three yards out. Joseph's extra point made for the final margin
  • Driskel finished the game 18-25 for 239 yards and those career-high four touchdowns
  • Singletary led a ground attack of 326 yards with 164, with Franklin adding 50, Howell 45 and Driskel 43. The sophomore now has 1,524 yards on the season and 2,545 in his two-year career
  • Woods paced the receivers with seven catches for 172 yards, the third-highest game mark in program history
  • Azeez Al-Shaair had a team-best 14 tackles, while Smith had eight. The Owl defense held FIU to 85 rushing yards and 2.7 yards per carry
  • Saturday marked the final regular season home game in the careers of a large group of Owl seniors: Dustin Bowens, Henry Bussey III, Marcus Clark, Roman Fernandez, Franklin, Howell, Nick Internicola, Joseph, Matt Murphy, Haiden Nagel, Ryan Rickel, Jakobi Smith, Kamrin Solomon, Taleni, Nate Terry, AJ Turman, Raekwon Williams, Antonyo WoodsKalib Woods and student manager Cameron Blocker

 

Up Next

The Owls wrap the regular season with a road date next week at Charlotte. The 49ers fell to 1-10 and 1-6 in league play with a 66-21 loss Saturday against Southern Miss. Kickoff at Jerry Richardson Stadium is set for 2 p.m., and will be streamed online at WatchStadium.com. The 2017 C-USA Championship at FAU Stadium, versus North Texas, will take place at noon on Saturday, Dec. 2.


 

 

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