Bryant’s 56-yard touchdown pass from Chris Robison on a fourth-and-two play got the Owls on the scoreboard, trimming North Texas’ first-quarter lead to 17-7. The catch marked the longest passing play of the season for the Owls.
Robison consistently looked downfield toward Bryant for the first time this season, and the tight end constantly rewarded his quarterback’s attention.
The junior tight end caught six passes for a career-high 138 yards. Fellow tight end John Raine caught two passes for 21 yards.
“Tight ends had a huge day, (159) yards between the two of them,” coach Lane Kiffin said. “Our leading receiver was Harrison.”
Wide receiver Jovon Durante caught six passes for 90 yards but also dropped a couple of key Robison throws early. Willie Wright couldn’t haul in a late pass that would have given FAU a much-needed first down.
FAU ultimately lost to North Texas 41-38.
“We played as bad as you can outside, whether it was bad routes or dropped balls,” Kiffin said. “In a game where everything was geared to stop the run, it’s a receiver’s dream. I’m really discouraged by that.”
GameBrowser: North Texas (8-3, 4-3) 41, FAU (5-6, 3-4) 38
Turning Point: Thursday’s game featured so many plot twists that it’s difficult to pick only one. Knocking North Texas QB Mason Fine out of the game looked like one – especially when his backup, Quin Shanbourn, ran for two scores. But when a Robison punt pinned North Texas deep in its own territory while trying to protect a three-point lead, the Owls seemed primed, with a stop, to get good field position for a potential game-winning drive. Instead, DeAndre Torrey gashed the Owls for a 92-yard touchdown run that gave North Texas what turned out to be an insurmountable 10-point lead with 4 minutes remaining.
- Lane Kiffin didn’t intend to play Robison at quarterback the entire game, but his decision to stick with the redshirt freshman proved the correct one. Instead of pulling Robison and inserting De’Andre Johnson with the Owls down by 17 in the first quarter, he stuck with the Texas native, who promptly rallied the Owls to 21 quick points.
- Welcome back Chris Robison, punter. Robison had been averaging better than 50 yards on his quick punts before injuring his ankle against Marshall. On Thursday he punted for the first time since the injury, sending two punts inside the Mean Green 20 and averaging 54 yards per punt.
- All was not good with FAU special teams. Vladi Rivas’ 41-yard fourth-quarter field goal attempt that would have tied the game with 8 minutes remaining clanked off the right upright. Rivas’ has only made one field goal all season longer than 40 yards.
- One week after arguably playing their best game of the season, FAU’s defensive backs couldn’t have played much worse to open the game. Shelton Lewis fell down on the first play of the game, giving up a big play. Not long after he was burned for another big gain. James Pierre dropped an interception in the end zone. Chris Tooley also blew some early coverages.
- The roughing the passer call on Jalen Young once again highlighted the incompetency of C-USA officials this season. Young and Rashad Smith arrived at Mason Fine simultaneously nanoseconds after the ball left the QB’s hands. Both players turned their helmets so that their shoulder pads hit Fine in the chest – delivering vicious but clean hits. The only problem with Young’s blow was that he hit Fine too damn hard. Basically, Young drew a flag because he scared the official, not because he committed a foul. Pathetic.
-2 – Rushing yards for FAU in the fourth quarter.
2 – Sacks for FAU, one by Young and the other by Tim Bonner.
3 – First half rushing yards for North Texas. The Mean Green ended the game with 208.
4 – Interceptions on the season for FAU LB Rashad Smith to lead the Owls.
18 – Third down plays run by FAU. The Owls only converted four of them into first downs.
66 – Career rushing touchdowns for Devin Singletary after adding two more on Thursday. The back known as “Motor” now stands alone in sixth place on the NCAA career rushing TD list.
91– Rushing yards for Singletary to lead the Owls.
218 – Total yards for North Texas in the first quarter.
Up Next: FAU concludes its season at home, needing to beat Charlotte to become bowl eligible. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.