On what was far from a perfect night defensively, four different FAU defensive backs nabbed an interception during FAU’s 58-28 blowout of Old Dominion on Saturday.
“Our DBs could play in any conference in the country,” FAU coach Lane Kiffin told the ESPN West Palm post game report. “We should be able to lead the country in interceptions. They are trying to do it.”
Saftety Jalen Young nabbed the first one. Chris Tooley followed with his team-high third pick of the year early in the second quarter. Shelton Lewis shook off an inconsistent afternoon for his second pick of the season and safety Ocie Rose grabbed his first of the year.
“I think in games it starts to feed [off previous interceptions] because of how the quarterback is mentally,” Kiffin said earlier in the week, adding that playing with a lead can also produce more picks. “Quarterbacks have a tendency to throw more when that happens – when you are down.”
FAU owns 10 interceptions in six games. All but one of those have come from defensive backs. The Owls could easily be ranked in the Top 10 nationally in that category once Saturday’s games are complete.
“A passing team, we love to play against that, especially with our offense,” a prescient Lewis said on Wednesday. “Old Dominion, they have the same type of offense that our offense runs. It will be good for us.”
GameBrowser: FAU (3-3, 2-0 C-USA) 58, ODU 28 (2-3, 0-1 C-USA)
TURNING POINT: FAU led 31-14 at the half but surrendered a 75-yard touchdown drive to ODU on the first drive of the third quarter, then went three-and-out on its first possession of the second half. The Owls defense responded by forcing a Monarchs’ punt, allowing the offense to reassert control of the game with a 57-yard touchdown drive.
- Lane Kiffin accomplished in half a season what his predecessor did in each of the past three full seasons – win three games. The Owls won consecutive games for the second-straight year and are in the Conference USA East Division Driver’s seat.
- Kiffin had the opportunity to praise Driskel’s performance and elected not to. Driskel’s four rushing touchdowns earned a spot in the FAU record book, but some of his throws were downright scary. His awkward interception shortly before halftime simply can’t happen. He’s lucky a couple more weren’t picked off.
- Can FAU win close games? That has yet to be determined. To the Owls’ credit they aren’t letting these games get close. FAU is doing a fantastic job of putting teams away. That’s what champions do.
- Third down conversions had been an issue for FAU all season. Not against ODU. The Owls converted 13 of their 22 third down attempts, most often doing so by running the ball. Entering Saturday night FAU only managed 18 total third down conversions in its first five games.
- FAU’s run defense remains a work in progress. Old Dominion pounded its way to 248 yards on the round, with Jeremy Cox accounting for 202 of those yards. FAU did a decent job of corralling quarterback Steven Williams, limiting him to 31 yards on eight carries.
- A couple of reserves returned from injury on Saturday. Injured on the opening kickoff against Bethune-Cookman, running back Tyrek Tisdale carried three times for 17 yards against Old Dominon. Back-up center Richard Williams saw his first action of the season.
4 – Games in the FAU-ODU series, all four won by the road team.
5 – Rushing TDs from FAU QBs. Driskel accounted for four and John Franklin, who lined up behind center to lead a drive in the fourth quarter, scored the Owls final TD.
8 – Rushing touchdowns for FAU. Five by the QBs, two by Devin Singletary and one by Buddy Howell.
20 – Points point the Owls generated from the four turnovers they forced.
23 – Career rushing TDs for Singletary, which ties him with Charles Pierre for the second-most in program history. Alfred Morris leads the way with 27.
40 – Penalty yards surrendered by the Owls on Old Dominion’s touchdown drive to open the third quarter. Officials flagged the Owls five times for 65 yards on the night.
109 – Rushing yards for Howell in the game, pushing over the 2,000-yard mark for his career. Howell passed Doug Parker for third on the FAU career rushing list.
115 – Consecutive extra points made by Greg Joseph before ODU blocked one in the fourth quarter.
UP NEXT: FAU has a bye this week. The Owls return to Howard Schnellenberger Field on October 21 for a 5 p.m. kickoff against North Texas. FAU will honor its 2007 Sun Belt Conference and New Orleans Bowl championship team during that game.