PHOTO GALLERY: Pregame and Game Action
PHOTO GALLERY: FAU Fans Enjoy Victory over ODU
BOCA RATON – Chris Robison didn’t wait long to convince coach Lane Kiffin that the decision to stick with the redshirt freshman as the starting quarterback was the correct one.
Robison connected on a 44-yard pass with tight end Harrison Bryant on the first play from scrimmage and completed all the other three passes he attempted on the first drive, culminating in a 5-yard touchdown toss to Bryant.
“It started my rhythm off,” Robison said of that first completion. “After that play, another play, and another play, then another play. Then we get in rhythm, Nobody’s going to stop us when we do that.”
Robison threw for 339 yards and two scores and also ran for a touchdown. As importantly, neither he nor the Owls turned the ball over.
He accomplished those statistics while demonstrating a command of the offense he hadn’t shown since Week 2’s record-setting performance in a win over Air Force.
“I think that is was no secret, I’m kind of feeling the team out, ok let’s see what happens, and you know (for him) to start off really hot and go 21-32 for 339 yards and no turnovers, being responsible for 3 touchdowns himself, that was big,” FAU coach Lane Kiffin said. “I obviously wanted to win the game, but leading up to the game I was hoping to sit here feeling that the team had more confidence in the passing game and Chris.”
Bryant proved the biggest beneficiary of Robison’s prowess. Underutilized much of the season, Bryant caught six passes for 133 yards and his first two touchdowns of the year.
“He was just really confident and made some great throws,” Bryant said.
GameBrowser: FAU (3-3, 1-1) 52, ODU (1-5, 0-3) 33
Turning Point: With ODU having cut the Owls’ lead to 26-21 moments earlier, Kerrith Whyte took the ensuing kickoff and raced 100 yards for only the second kickoff return for a touchdown in FAU history – and the first Owls’ return at Howard Schnellenberger Field. The score re-invigorated the Owls and completely changed the game’s momentum.
- During the week Kiffin spoke about rotating more players into the game, specifically at the running back position. Whyte spelling Devin Singletary early allowed the Owls’ Heisman Trophy candidate to run with fresh legs late. Of Singletary’s 168 rushing yards, 91 of them came in the second half, as did both of his rushing TDs. Meanwhile Whyte averaged 6.8 yards per carry and had two rushing scores of his own.
- Speaking of Singletary, those two touchdowns vaulted him past Marshall Faulk and Tim Tebow and into a tie for 13th in NCAA history with Ian Johnson on the career rushing touchdowns list. He’s now scored 58 rushing touchdowns and still has six games remaining in his junior season. One more and he’ll move into a tie for 11th with Eric Crouch and Colin Kapernick.
- Even when FAU’s special teams make big plays, they still managed to remind fans that a disaster could happen at any moment. Seconds after Whyte’s big touchdown return, kicker Vladimir Rivas missed the extra point. The Owls began the day by unsuccessfully attempting two-point conversions after their first two touchdowns. Another positive? Robison seems to have this punting thing down. His 53-yard quick kick rolled dead at the ODU 5.
- FAU held off ODU’s second-half comeback efforts despite playing without two of its top defenders. Linebacker and senior leader Azeez Al-Shaair drew an ejection following his targeting call on a sack of ODU’s Blake LaRussa. Officials ejected senior Herb Miller, who drew the start in place of cornerback Chris Tooley on Saturday, after he threw a punch on the extra point following ODU’s touchdown on the first possession of the second half.
- Defensive tackle Noah Jefferson made his first appearance as an Owl, recording his first tackle during the second quarter. The 6-foot-5, 330-pound Jefferson began his career at USC before transferring to junior college. He signed with Ole Miss back in February but couldn’t gain admission academically. He enrolled at FAU in September.
0 – Fourth down conversions on three tries for FAU. Two of Robison’s fourth-down passes were deflected at the line of scrimmage.
2 – Interceptions by FAU in the contest, one by Chris Tooley, the other by Shelton Lewis. They were the first interceptions made by FAU defensive backs this season.
10 – Tackles for Jalen Young, to lead the Owls. “I felt like I was Jalen again,” said Young, who’s been slowed by a knee injury.
18 – Consecutive games with a rushing touchdown for Singletary.
21:17 – Time of possession for FAU.
111 – Receiving yards for Jovon Durante. His seven catches led the Owls.
266 – Rushing yards for FAU.
605 – Yards of total offense for FAU.
3,568 – Career rushing yards for Singletary, who passed Alfred Morris to become the Owls’ all-time leading rusher. Again, he still has six games remaining in his junior year.
18,204 – Announced attendance at Saturday’s game.
Up Next: FAU enters its bye this week. The Owls next take the field at Marshall on Oct. 20 for a 2:30 p.m. kickoff.