PHOTO GALLEY: FAU vs. La Tech Pregame
BOCA RATON – About an hour before kickoff of FAU’s 21-13 loss to Louisiana Tech on Friday, Chris Robison took the field with a trainer and offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, attempting to show his ankle had healed enough to allow him to start the game.
Robison wasn’t as convincing as he would have liked to have been, but he did managed to show the Owls’ coaches he could play if needed.
Rather than give Robison his eighth start in as many games, coach Lane Kiffin elected to stick with the plan he created earlier and gave graduate transfer Rafe Peavey his first collegiate start.
“Chris didn’t practice all week,” Kiffin said. “He ran around on Thursday and felt good today and wanted to go, but I didn’t feel that was fair that Rafe had taken the reps all week, to let Chris start, I didn’t think was fair, because if he didn’t play well I would have no one to blame but myself.”
Peavey and the Owls started fast, scoring a touchdown on the first possession of the game. But the Owls never managed to get their passing attack moving, and ultimately that cost FAU badly. Peavey completed 15-of-26 passes for 115 yards in FAU’s 21-13 loss.
He threw one interception on a ball that Willie Wright should have caught and also lost a fumble on a botched fake handoff.
“That first drive was really good,” Peavey said. “Willie made some really good plays, made some guys miss. I thought we had some momentum going. Somewhere in there it just kind of got away from us.”
Trailing 21-13 midway through the fourth quarter, Kiffin elected to look for a spark, sending Robison into the game.
“I knew it was going to be more of a throwing situation so I went with Chris there,” Kiffin said.
The move surprised Peavey, who didn’t have any advance notice that a move could be coming.
“There was none,” Peavey said. “I was in the huddle and coach Kiffin just called Chris over. I don’t know.”
Robison, Peavey and De’Andre Johnson competed in a three-way battle during fall camp for the Owls’ starting quarterback job.
Both Peavey and Johnson have played in mop up duty this season, but Johnson did not enter Friday’s game.
“We talked about it,” Kiffin said. “We even had some plays for him. We just didn’t do it.”
GAME BROWSER: La. Tech (6-2, 4-1) 21, FAU (3-5, 1-3) 13
Turning Point: FAU had cut La. Tech’s lead to 14-13 then forced a punt on the ensuing possession late in the third quarter. The Owls thought they were about to take over possession a their own 42 after a Devin Singletary fair catch, but a replay review determined the Owls actually had two players wearing No. 5 on the field for the punt. Safety Ahman Ross is a regular on the punt return team. Singletary ran out to field the punt because starting punt returner Willie Wright was cramping. The penalty yardage was enough to give the Bulldogs a first down. La Tech extended the drive into the fourth quarter. Even though the Bulldogs ultimately missed a field goal, the penalty stole momentum for the Owls and wen they finally took over possession they were deep in their own territory.
- FAU was arguably a one-dimensional team even before quarterback Chris Robison’s injury. With Robison sidelined, the Owls were even more limited in the air. FAU rushed for 227 yards despite the Bulldogs being geared up to stop the ground game. The Owls only threw for 121 yards, with only 23 of them coming in the second half.
- FAU’s issues on third down continued. FAU somehow only converted only one of 11 third down opportunities. It’s difficult to win games without moving the chains.
- The Owls scored one touchdown against Marshall last week and only managed one on Friday in the loss to La. Tech. There aren’t many Conference USA games won by teams that only find the end zone once a game.
- Official flagged FAU for 11 penalties adding up to 77 penalty yeads. Three were particularly costly. The aforementioned call against the Owls for having two players with the same number on the field for a punt return was essentially a turnover. A holding call against Antonio Riles negated a 59-yard Singletary run that had the Owls set up at the Bulldogs’ 5. FAU also appeared as though it would have one more opportunity to drive for the tying score, but Tyrek Tisdale was flagged for leaping into the punt shield – a 15-yard penalty that allowed La. Tech to keep the ball and run out the clock.
4 – Penalties against La. Tech for a total of 44 yards. Officials flagged FAU 11 times for 77 yards.
7 – Tackles by linebacker Andrew Soroh, including one sack, while playing in the spot formerly occupied by the injured Azeez Al-Shaair.
9 – Third down conversions in 18 attempts for La. Tech. FAU converted 1 of 11 chances.
10 – Consecutive games FAU had won at home before Friday’s loss.
23 – Passing yards in the second half for FAU. The Owls trailed the entire final 30 minutes.
59 – Career rushing touchdowns for Devin Singletary, tying him for No. 11 in NCAA history with Colin Kaepernick and Eric Crouch.
171 – Rushing yards for Singletary to lead all ball carriers.
227 – Rushing yards for FAU.
14,948 – Announced attendance for Friday night’s contest. Actual attendance appeared much lower.
Up Next: FAU travels to Miami to face Conference USA East Division leader FIU on Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.