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Bowl hopes down the drain

FAU has no answer for Middle Tennessee as Blue Raiders quarterback Dwight Dasher throws for two touchdowns and runs for two more, eliminating from the bowl picture.

Originally published on 11/27/2010

by Marcus Nelson

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Florida Atlantic was fighting to keep its bowl hopes alive when it faced Middle Tennessee on Saturday.

Instead, Middle Tennessee landed a knockout punch to the Owls’ bowl chances with a 38-14 victory at Floyd Stadium.
“We got beat soundly today by a very good football team,” said FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger. “It’s been a long time since I’ve had a football team that was beat so decisive in every aspect of the game. We’ve got a whole bunch of people injured and I don’t know who we are going to suit up and play. As always, a game like this is not as bad as it appears but this one is hard to mitigate. We’ll do the things we know how to do to get us back on the field and be representative in the game next week.”
The loss eliminates FAU (4-7, 3-4 Sun Belt) from any chance of bowl eligibility.
After going to bowl games in 2007 and 2008, the Owls won’t play in the post-season for the second consecutive season.
The Owls will bring this disappointing season to a close next week when they play host to Troy.
“It’s real tough,” said senior defensive tackle Dino Cox. “We’ll just have to lay it on the line next week against Troy and try to leave a legacy at FAU.”
FAU, which had won its last three Sun Belt Conference games, was over-matched by Middle Tennessee (5-6, 4-3) and had no answer Blue Raiders senior quarterback Dwight Dasher who threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more.
“It’s kind of sad because Middle Tennessee had won the last two years on the last plays and we wanted to come out here and give it our all,” said senior linebacker Michael Lockley. “They made the plays we didn’t make. The caught the balls we didn’t catch and they got the breaks we didn’t get. They beat us. They flat-out beat us. The scoreboard doesn’t lie.”
Dasher had been a disappointment this season, but enjoyed his best game of the season vs. the Owls.
Middle Tennessee, which also needed a victory Saturday and one next week to become bowl eligible, racked up 445 yards in total offense, including 287 on the ground.
FAU scored on the first possession of the game when senior quarterback Jeff Van Camp connected with senior wide receiver Lester Jean on a 4th-down and 7 play from the MTSU 32-yard line.
However, FAU didn’t reach the end zone again until the fourth quarter.
Van Camp was intercepted three times in the second half as the Blue Raiders scored 31 unanswered points.
“It’s another case of us beating ourselves,” Van Camp said. “Give it to them, they played hard, but that’s a team we should beat.”

GameBrowser: Middle Tennessee38, FAU 14 

GameChanger
With the score tied at 7. FAU linebacker Yourhighness Morgan picked off Dwight Dasher early in the second quarter and the Owls drove from the MTSU 46-yard line to the 9. However, FAU not only didn’t score a touchdown but came away with no points after Ross Gornall missed a 27-yard field goal, squandering an opportunity to re-take the lead.
Moving forward
Lester Jean had 100 receiving yards on eight catches, including touchdown catches of 32 and 23 yards. …FAU linebacker Yourhighness Morgan recorded his first career interception.
Moving backwards
The FAU defense had been making great strides, but in an important game didn’t show up. ...The Owls were only flagged for five penalties, but two of those were costly intentional grounding calls.
Key stats
  • 15 – Career TD receptions for Jean, who moved into second place on the all-time list at FAU
  • 5.2 – Yards per rush for Middle Tennessee after the Blue Raiders gained 287 yards on 55 carries.
  • 125 – Yards rushing for MTSU running back Phillip Tanner in the second half after rushing for 25 yards before haftime.

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Breakdown Box

> The Pipeline: Talk about game in our message boards
> Audio: Schnellenberger post-game
> By the numbers: Individual, team stats
> Photo gallery: Scenes from Saturday

 

Re-Tweet Replay: Our Tweets from the game

 

  • DT Dino Cox (ankle) went through contact drills in pre-game warmups. It appears he will start today
  • FAU offense starters: OL-McCroy, Czuprynski, Colley, Newbold, Karrick TE-Housler WR-Jean, Holley QB-Van Camp RB-Morris, Stinson
  • FAU defense starters: DL Jospeh, Givens, Jean, Cyrille LB-Lockley, Eugene, Morgan DB-Hill, Williamson, Bartels, Polo
  • FAU gambles on 4th and 7 from 32. Result? Owls TD on nice pass from JVC to Jean...FAU 7 MT 0 1052 1st
  • Plenty of missed tackles on 44-yd TD pass from Dasher to Jefferson...FAU 7, MT 7 2:33 1st
  • End of 1st Qtr: FAU 7, MT 7
  • Yourhighness Morgan intecepts a Dwight Dasher pass. First career INT for Morgan.
  • Owls fail to get points when Gornall misses a 27 yd FG
  • SS Demetrius Williamson, making his 1st start, was way late in getting to WR Mason on 29 yd TD pass. MTSU 14, FAU 7 3:42 2nd
  • Shadows (and cold temperatures) creeping in at Floyd Stadium. FAU bench is still in sunlight. 
  • Hosuler makes great catch, but takes a shot in the back and is shaken up
  • Halftime: Middle Tennessee 14, FAU 7
  • Morgan gets a PBU on 3rd and goal from 6, holds Blue Raiders to 23-yd FG...MT 17, FAU 7 11:18 3rd
  • Update: FAU TE Rob Housler back in game
  • Van Camp pass intercepted by Darin Davis, returned 49 yds to FAU 1. Davis is from Dillard HS in Ft. Lauderdale
  • Dasher easily makes it to the end zone on the next play...MT 24, FAU 7 6:34 2nd
  • Another Van Camp INT, this one was tipped by Hosuler right into arms of CB Rod Issac, another South Florida product (Miami-Central)
  • End of 3rd quarter: Middle Tennessee 24, FAU 7
  • Van Camp with another INT by Davis, who returns it 52-yds to the Owls 5
  • And Dasher scores another rushing TD on a 5-yd run ...MT 31, FAU 7 12:38 4th
  • Won't even bother going over the other Sun Belt scores. FAU will be eleminated from bowl contention in 12:38 
  • Jean has two defenders all over him, but manages to come up with catch in end zone for a 23-yd TD...MT 31, FAU 14 10:06 4th
  • That was Jean's 15th career TD catch. Moves into 2nd all-time at FAU
  • Tanner's 44-run puts it on ice...MT 38, FAU 14 7:59 4th
  • Final: Middle Tennessee 38, FAU 14

 

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