The Owls looked to complete an undefeated run through Conference USA. To do so, FAU needed to defeat North Texas at Howard Schnellenberger Field in the C-USA championship game.
Having entered the Top 10 in our countdown of the Top 25 FAU Games Ever Played, we’ve changed the format a bit. We’ll delve a little deeper into each game and implications on FAU’s athletic department. We’ve also asked some guest contributors to provide their thoughts on the games and the rankings.
No. 2 FAU Game Ever Played
FAU 41, North Texas 17 (C-USA Title Game, Dec. 2, 2017)
Entering the C-USA title game, many wondered whether the Owls could repeat the offensive mastery that produced a 69-31 blowout of conference title favorite North Texas a few weeks earlier. Playing in front of a national television audience, FAU’s offense wasn’t as good the second time around but its defense performed much better.
The Owls employed a little razzle-dazzle early. When wide receiver Kamrin Solomon threw to fellow wide out John Franklin for a 22-yard score, the Owls assumed a 10-0 lead less than 5 minutes into the game.
Devin Singletary scored the first of his three rushing touchdowns on the first play of the second quarter. His second touchdown run, from five yards out, sent the Owl into halftime with a 27-0 lead.
Kalib Woods caught a 54-yard touchdown pass from Jason Driskel early in the third quarter, putting FAU up 34-0 before North Texas finally scored.
The Mean Green did manage to cut the lead to 34-17 but Singletary’s final touchdown, another five-yarder, sealed the Owls’ first-ever Conference USA championship, and only the second conference title in program history.
The margin of victory would have been even greater – had Franklin not let go of the football in celebration of what would have been a 68-yard touchdown run before crossing the goal line, resulting in a turnover.
Driskel threw for 269 yards and a touchdown. Singletary rushed for 164 yards. Woods caught six passes for 208 yards.
Defensively, Azeez Al-Shaair led the way with a team-high 11 tackles along with a forced fumble. Jalen Young picked off two passes.
Winning the conference title is every team’s goal at the start of the season, and in 2017 the Owls road the Lane Train to the promised land. This game might have landed at the top spot of our countdown had the Owls built on the momentum from this feat in the 2018 season, but that didn’t happen.
The Lane Train Express – Kris Bartels, FAU radio analyst
The Conference USA title game was a game within the game. Earlier in the season, the Mean Green were No. 1 in almost every offensive category and had the best WR in the conference. Quarterback Mason Fine was the Golden Boy who the entire conference praised. Both teams had the same record and had a ton to prove. The game was over when the ball was kicked off.
It’s crazy to think that the best team in the west which had all these accolades and fire power didn’t score in the first half.
It is hard to beat any team like North Texas once during the season. It’s unheard of to do it twice in the same season. FAU dominated the championship game and made a statement that the Owls were for real. It was the moment that fans wanted to see.
There was a lot of talk about “if” FAU could win again and if so, by how much? Were the 69 points a fluke from the regular season? Could they do it again after North Texas had good preparation? Yep.
FAU dominated in every category. The biggest difference wasn’t the offense or Motor, it was the defense. FAU only allowed 17 points. They eliminated the Mean Green’s No. 1 WR and made Mason Fine look pedestrian. From the booth, I remember talking to Ken LaVicka and Brian Rowitz, wondering if it was really happening. FAU was flying around. Big hit after big hit. That is the game that put not just the conference, but the nation on notice.
Previous FAU Top 25 Game Rankings
FAU’s Best Games Ever (25-21)
FAU’s Best Games Ever (20-16)
FAU’s Best Games Ever (15-11)
FAU’s Best Games Ever: No. 10 – Carolina Comeback
FAU’s Best Games Ever: No. 9 – Boca Bowl Blowout
FAU’s Best Game Ever: No. 8 – Burrow Bash
FAU’s Best Games Ever: No. 7 – The Big, Easy Win
FAU’s Best Games Ever: No 6 – Dancing Days
FAU’s Best Games Ever: No. 5 – Bama Breakthrough
FAU’s Best Games Ever: No. 4 – Miami’s Stormy Night
FAU’s Best Games Ever: No. 3 – Baseball’s Streak