BOCA RATON – FAU coach Charlie Partridge is standing behind one of this season’s most criticized decisions.
Reviewing the video from FAU’s 38-10 loss to Miami confirmed to Partridge that his choice to have the Owls try to convert a fourth-and-five from his own 31 with more than 13 minutes remaining in the game was the right call.
“Absolutely,” Partridge said during his Monday morning meeting with the media.
Immediately following the game Partridge said they thought they had a play call that would work.
“We thought, based on the coverages that we were seeing from them late there at the end of the third into the fourth, we thought it was a good match-up against (their coverage),” Partridge said on Saturday.
Partridge added that trying to pick up the first down at that point, with the Owls down two scores and facing a limited number of possessions remaining in the game, gave FAU the best chance to win the game.
Trailing 24-10, Kalib Woods dropped a Jason Driskel pass that, if caught, would have given FAU a first down.
Rather than continue a drive that could have pulled FAU within one possession, the Owls gave the ball back to Miami in FAU territory at a point in time where one Hurricanes score likely would put the game out of reach.
“I believe our defense will start making those stops,” Partridge said. “I believe our offense will start executing those fourth down moments.”
The weather, combined with early struggles in the punt game, also factored into Partridge’s decision.
Minutes before Partridge would make the fourth down call a torrential downpour hit Hard Rock Stadium.
Miami had already blocked a Dalton Schomp punt in the first quarter and Partridge figured that in the wet conditions the Hurricanes would be hunting another one.
“If we were going to punt this thing and what they’ve been doing against us – and with the rain they are possibly going to definitely be more aggressive – we’re going for this thing,” Partridge said.
FAU stopped Miami on the two ensuing plays that followed the failed fourth-down try before Mark Walton cut around nickel back Ocie Rose and out-raced the Owls into the end zone.
“A second year player loses leverage, [Walton] cuts back outside, now it’s a highlight tape all over the Twittersville,” Partridge said.