BOCA RATON – With the controversial final play of the Owls’ fifth consecutive, and arguably most gut-wrenching, loss still making the rounds on the internet, FAU coach Charlie Partridge only devoted about one minute of his weekly Monday press conference to the overturned Hail Mary.
He spent significantly more time trying to drive home how close the Owls are to playing winning football.
“We’re going to have a breakthrough and all the pain that everyone tied into this program is feeling right now, we’ll have that moment,” Partridge said. “We’ll look at each other and go, alright, here we go. There it is.”
He returned to the word “breakthrough” frequently on Monday, the day after the Owls fell to 1-5 on the season.
Partridge drew a parallel to Colorado, which won 10 games combined over the past three seasons but currently sits 4-2, tied for first in the PAC 12 South Division.
“You look at how close Colorado was getting and now you see what they’re doing,” Partridge said. “They’re having their breakthrough moments. We’re going to have our breakthrough moments. The only way to get to that breakthrough moment is to just keep coming back and sticking together and going to work.”
Rebounding from Sunday’s loss will be a tough task for the Owls if, for no other reason, than the way it ended.
Trailing Charlotte 28-23 in the closing seconds, quarterback Jason Driskel and wide receiver Kamrin Solomon connected on a Hail Mary pass for what was ruled on the field to be a 38-yard touchdown. Moments later the replay official overturned the call, ruling that Solomon failed to get a foot down in bounds.
Several videos and photos, including one from OwlAccess.com, seemed to indicate Solomon’s catch was legal and, at the very least, shouldn’t have been overturned.
“I’m proud that Kam went up and got it,” Partridge said. “Depending on the angle you look at, you see different things.”
Every week Partridge sends about a half dozen plays from the weekend’s game to the Conference USA office for clarification on calls from league officials. That final play will be included in this week’s package.
“There’s a procedure where you send in any calls that you have questions on, you want clarification on, so we’ll go through that normal process and normally hear by midweek,” Partridge said.
The review may prompt an admission of a mistake or even an apology from the league, but it’s extremely unlikely that anything will be done that will change the record.
“Everyone knows we’re three possessions away from being 4-2,” said Partridge, referring to the two-point loss to FIU and the four-point loss to Ball St that preceded Sunday’s loss. “It’s not an easy pill to swallow.”
A side effect of that pill is that the Owls head to Marshall this week with bleak bowl hopes and still searching for their first Conference USA win of the season.
“It didn’t work out the way we wanted to yesterday, but the breakthrough is coming,” Partridge said.