BOCA RATON – De’Andre Johnson once again made the most of his lone possession behind center, leading the Owls to seven points while delivering the play of the game.
Facing a fourth-and-1 at the Bethune-Cookman 21 on the first play of the fourth quarter, a high snap nearly derailed the play before Johnson had a chance to leave his mark. By the time Johnson corralled the ball, the timing on what appeared to be a short pass to tight end John Raine had been disrupted. So Johnson, who had been rolling left, pivoted and raced to the right sideline.
As he approached the first down marker Johnson lowered his pads and, instead of stepping out of bounds, bowled over Bethune-Cookman safety Kennedy Ndukwe.
Johnson managed to stay on his feet and in bounds, tight-roping down the sideline for the Owls’ final score.
“It was pretty awesome to see him,” tight end Harrison Bryant said. “His helmet almost came off but he pulled it back down and still scored. It was a pretty nice play.”
Johnson, who began his career at Florida St. and starred in the Netflix docu-series “Last Chance U,” lost the battle to be FAU’s starting quarterback in each of the past two fall camps. He played in one game last season before undergoing season-ending surgery to remove blood clots in his arm.
As the third-string quarterback in the season-opener at No. 7 Oklahoma, Johnson also led the Owls to a touchdown on his lone possession.
Saturday’s drive covered 72 yards in 10 plays, and his touchdown run featured a little bit of everything.
“That was good to see,” FAU coach Lane Kiffin said. “It was cool to see the fans cheer for him, too. He’s been through a lot.”
GameBrowser: FAU (2-1) 49, Bethune-Cookman (1-2) 28
TURNING POINT: FAU had this game in hand pretty much from the opening kickoff, but the Owls really put the game away late in the first quarter on the kickoff that followed Devin Singletary’s third touchdown. Ahman Ross forced a Bethune-Cookman fumble, which Silver Saunders recovered at the Wildcats’ 9. Two plays later Singletary had his fourth touchdown of the first quarter. FAU led 29-0 and never looked back.
- It feels a little odd to be critical of the Owls’ running game – especially considering Singletary needed less than a half to rush for a program-record five touchdowns, earning him a GameDay helmet sticker – but as a whole the consistency in the ground attack isn’t there yet. When that consistency comes, Singletary will hit more of those big runs FAU fans have come to expect.
- Chris Robison completed 16 of 27 passes for 171 yards and a touchdown, but also threw two interceptions. Kiffin thought Robison didn’t manage to build on his record-setting performance from last week against Air Force. “He didn’t play very well. He’d be the first to tell you that. He didn’t make good decisions,” Kiffin said.
- FAU once against struggled on third down, converting only five of their 15 attempts. The Owls, however, were pretty good on fourth down, scoring or extending the drive seven times in eight tries. Expect the Owls to become more consistent on third down as QB Chris Robison gains experience.
- There is nothing special about FAU’s special teams. Perhaps wary of past failures, Kiffin elected to attempt a successful two-point conversion following the Owls’ first score. Injured place kicker Vladimir Rivas made five extra points before giving way to Jesse Williams, whose lone attempt was blocked. Rivas also badly missed a 48-yard field goal attempt. A poor snap also sent punter Sebastian Riella scrambling on his lone punt attempt. Riella had a punt blocked in both of his first two games, but got this one away for 25 yards.
1 – Sack by FAU. The Owls pestered B-CU quarterbacks but failed to get them to the ground.
4 – Tackles by Ahman Ross to lead the Owls.
5.8– Yards averaged by Silver Saunders on his eight carries. Saunders moved from defensive back to running back this season. Those were his first collegiate carries.
16 – Consecutive games with a touchdown for Devin Singletary.
27 – First Downs for FAU. B-CU only managed 16.
32 – Yards for true freshman Malcolm Davidson on his first collegiate carry. He might have scored on the carry had he not tripped. Davidson was slowed in fall camp by a lingering knee injury.
376 – Rushing yards for FAU.
19,017 – Announced attendance for the game. That total appeared a little high, but the student section was once again packed.
UP NEXT: FAU travels to No. 18 UCF on Friday for a 7 p.m. kickoff that will be televised nationally.