ORLANDO – FAU appears to have found its punter and his name is Chris Robison.
Yes, the same Chris Robison who’s started every game this season at quarterback for FAU.
Twice on Friday, Lane Kiffin left the offense on the field in fourth-and-long situations only to have Robison punt the ball.
UCF didn’t expect the ploy, and with nobody back to field the punt FAU enjoyed the benefit of a good roll on the kicks.
“That’s the best thing we today, by the way,” Kiffin said or Robison’s punts following FAU’s 56-36 loss to No. 16 UCF.
Sebastian Riella, FAU’s true freshman starting punter had punts blocked in both of his first two games and nearly had another blocked last week at Bethune-Cookman.
In an attempt to avoid another costly block, Kiffin approached Robison, who punted for three years in high school, about potentially punting some balls in a game this week.
“When they told me to do it I was like, OK, anything for the team,” Robison said.
Riella did punt twice on Friday, averaging 36 yards per attempt.
Kiffin did not commit to letting Robison punt more this season, though having Robison back there could lead to big offensive plays if defenses drop a defender back to receive the punt, potentially freeing a wide receiver.
“Not only do we get to punt further but we didn’t get it blocked,” Kiffin said.
GameBrowser: No 16 UCF 56, FAU 36.
Turning Point: Vladimir Rivas’s 32-yard field goal in the closing minutes of the first half capped an FAU comeback that saw the Owls turn a 14-0 deficit into a 17-14 lead. FAU, however, failed to take that lead to the locker room. A little more than a minute later McKenkie Milton found Marlon Williams for a 21-yard score that gave UCF a 21-17 halftime lead. The Knights added another touchdown on the opening possession of the second half, and the Owls played from behind the remainder of the game.
- It was nice to see Devin Singletary get FAU on the board with an 11-yard touchdown run on third down in the final seconds of the first quarter, but we were kind of looking forward to Robison, who had already punted twice, having the opportunity to kick a field goal.
- With 131 rushing yards and three more receiving yards against Central Florida, Devin Singletary passed Alfred Morris to become FAU’s career leader in all-purpose yards. His three rushing touchdowns not only extended his touchdown streak to 17 games, they also gave him 54 in his career – exactly double the amount of Morris in second place.
- Through four games, it’s difficult to find any one area where the Owls’ defense excels. The Owls haven’t forced turnovers – zero on Friday and only three all season – aren’t pressuring quarterbacks – Rashad Smith had the only sack this week – and are letting receivers behind them. New defensive coordinator Tony Pecoraro’s aggressive schemes aren’t producing during games.
- After struggling with run blocking in during the early part of the season, the FAU offensive line seems to be rounding into form. The Owls rushed for 320 yards against the Knights, with Singletary and Kerrith Whyte combining for more than 200. That’s consecutive games with more than 300 yards rushing for the Owls.
- No quarterback in the nation does a better job of handing the ball off than FAU backup De’Andre Johnson. He’s piloted three drives this season. All three have resulted in touchdowns, including Friday three-play, three hand-off drive against UCF.
3 – Turnovers committed by FAU. UCF didn’t commit any.
4 – Times FAU entered the UCF red zone. The Owls came away with points all four times – three of them being touchdowns.
15 – Tackles for Azeez Al-Shaair, who led the Owls.
21 – Consecutive losses to ranked teams by FAU. The Owls have yet to win one.
25 – Carries for Devin Singletary, who passed Doug Parker for third place in FAU career carries.
36 – Points scored by FAU, the most the Owls have ever scored against a ranked opponent. The previous high had been 23 against South Florida in 2006.
157 – Kick return yards for Whyte on six tries. Whyte totaled 264 all-purpose yards, which included a 23-yard receiving touchdown and a 40-yard rushing score.
545 – Yards of total offense for UCF, the first time this season the Knights were held under 600 yards of total offense.
Up Next: FAU opens Conference USA play by traveling to Middle Tennessee on Saturday for a 7 p.m. kickoff.