Every week during football season we follow Saturday’s game with Sunday’s Four Down Territory analysis, where we break down what went right, what went wrong and what went truly bizarre in the previous day’s game. Here’s our breakdown of FAU’s 63-14 loss to No. 7 Oklahoma.
Chuck King: How unprepared FAU looked for this game. From the delay of game penalty before the first snap to all the issues on special teams to the poor tackling, the Owls didn’t seem to have their heads in the game. Everyone underrated the potential negative effect of breaking in three new coordinators. The players didn’t play well, but the coaching staff didn’t put the Owls in a position to win.
Wajih AlBaroudi: FAU coach Lane Kiffin keeping Chris Robison in the game deep into the second half. It was not a pretty debut for the signal caller in his return to Oklahoma. The passing game was completely out of sync, miscommunications causing wide open receivers to either go unseen or thrown to inaccurately. Despite the outcome, I like this call from Kiffin. If Robison is truly the quarterback of the future, let him grow and learn from his mistakes. That is the only way he will improve. Pulling a young quarterback early in a game that was already a lost cause would have been short sighted. Kiffin’s trust in Robison shows he cares more about the future of the program than he does outside perception.
Chuck King: FAU made a concerted effort to get wide receiver Jovon Durante the ball, and it was easy to see why. Durante showcased excellent speed and good hands. The West Virginia transfer caught four passes for 52 yards and was open for a couple more potentially big plays, but the quarterback couldn’t connect with him, Durante also carried the ball twice. Defensively, Rashad Smith led the Owls with nine tackles.
AlBaroudi: Devin “Motor” Singletary proved he can hang with top level competition. While the numbers didn’t signify his usual superhuman status, Singletary’s performance was admirable given the circumstances. There wasn’t much running room – if any at all – on Saturday, Singletary often being met by multiple defenders immediately after the hand off. He still managed to pick up 69 yards and a touchdown on just under four yards a carry. The vision, power, and stop on a dime ability that makes Singletary one of the country’s most dangerous ball carriers remains, and will be put on full display over the remainder of the season.
King: Despite Robison’s inability to lead FAU to the end zone, Kiffin stuck with him through three quarters. It’s understandable that the Owls wanted to build Robison’s confidence by keeping him in the game until he experienced success. And Saturday being Robison’s first collegiate game, experience he needs. But if the quarterback competition was as close as Kiffin insists, it would have been nice to give Rafe Peavey and De’Andre Johnson a couple of drives to grade what they can do in live action. After all, it took Kiffin and company three games to realize they made the wrong decision last year.
AlBaroudi: The pass interference penalty called on Oklahoma leading to FAU’s second and final touchdown was a break for FAU. De’Andre Johnson conducted the offense well upon entering the game in the fourth quarter, using his legs to quickly drive the Owls into Oklahoma territory. With the game already out of hand and only pride on the line, Kiffin gave Johnson an opportunity to make a play on fourth-and-12. The once promising drive seemed to have come to an end after Ronald Patterson couldn’t come down with a Johnson deep pass down the left seam. Then it was kept alive by a flag thrown despite what looked like minimal contact from Oklahoma’s Justin Broiles. The Owls scored seven plays later on a seven-yard Kerrith Whyte Jr. touchdown run.
King: The sun rose on Sunday. The world didn’t end with FAU’s blowout loss at Oklahoma. The Owls lost their opener last season, too, and didn’t look particularly good in that game either. Coaches always say that teams make their biggest improvements from Week 1 to Week 2. FAU has plenty to improve on, but the talent is still there. The Owls were never going to win the national championship – though the alumni association might tweet that they did. Win Conference USA and FAU will be a Top 25 team by season’s end.
AlBaroudi: Durante played better than what his stat line read. The former West Virginia Mountaineer had four catches for 52 yards, and his 28-yard high-point reception on a jump ball down the right sideline was one of the offense’s lone highlights. He had an even bigger game in store if not for being airmailed on what would have been a walk-in touchdown deep down the field. What was more impressive than any route he ran or ball he caught was his effort never faltering despite the deficit. No play encapsulated Durante’s effort better than a third quarter bone-crushing crackback block he delivered on an Oklahoma defender as Harrison Bryant ran by in the flat.