LINCOLN, Neb. - Florida Atlantic University's junior defensive lineman Brandin Bryant's return home and Owls Head Coach Charlie Partridge's debut as FAU's head coach were not welcomed by the No. 22 University of Nebraska, who dealt FAU a 55-7 loss, Saturday afternoon.
"I had a chance to visit with the team after the game," FAU Head Coach Charlie Partridge said. "Certainly disappointed with the results and some of the things we did on the field. I give all the credit in the world to Nebraska; they executed a great game plan.
The two teams opened the game trading scores, but the Cornhusker defense was the first to respond, and responded in a big way, denying the Owls access to the end zone the remainder of the game.
Nebraska opened its 2014 season and the game with an 81-yard scoring drive that lasted 13 plays and ended with a five-yard scoring rush. Owl junior quarterback Jaquez Johnson followed his 14-yard run deep in Nebraska territory with a 20-yard touchdown pass to senior Lucky Whitehead to even the score at seven.
With 1:22 remaining in the first, Nebraska connected on a 36-yard pass to go up 14-7. The Owls were forced to punt and then held the Cornhuskers to a field goal on the next drive. FAU would march down the field on the legs of sophomore running back Jay Warren. Two pass attempts for the end zone later, Greg Joseph's 44-yard field goal attempt was long enough but just wide right. Nebraska then needed just four plays to drive 72 yards and score on a 47-yard run by Ameer Abdulla. With less than three minutes remaining in the half, Nebraska would score once more, via a three-yard run by Imani Cross. The score ended a seven-play, 66 yard drive.
Sophomore quarterback Greg Hankerson started the second half but, the Owls failed to pick up a first down and saw Dalton Schomp called upon to punt for the fifth time of the game. Nebraska scored seven plays later on a two-yard, right-side run by Terrell Newby to put Nebraska up 38-7.
The Cornhuskers forced a three-and-out and then scored three plays later on an 8-yard pass to De'Mornay Pierson-El to go up 45-7 with 6:41 remaining in the third. Three minutes later, Nebraska added three more with a 45-yard field goal by Mauro Bondi. Bondi's kick capped a drive that gave Nebraska the record for all-time yards tallied against the Owls (784). The Cornhuskers also set a record for most offensive plays against FAU (92). The previous mark was 628, set by Auburn Oct. 23, 2013. Nebraska used a ground attack that gained 498 yards, also a new single-game record versus the Owls. Auburn held the previous mark at 422. "There were times it looked like we had a powerful offense and times it looked like we needed to improve," Partridge said. "We just need to continue to get better as a fundamental football team."
The Owls will travel to Tuscaloosa next weekend for a noon game versus Alabama, the No. 2 team in the nation. The game will air on the SEC Network. For season tickets, which start as low as $50, call 1-866-FAU-Owls. All FAU games will be carried on ESPN West Palm 106.3, which has an APP for the Smart Phone platform, and on www.fausports.com.