Singletary scored three first-half touchdowns on rushes of 19, 13 and 1 yards, staking the Owls to a 24-6 lead at the intermission. He added a fourth from two yards away on the first play of the fourth quarter en route to 133 rushing yards on the night.
The four touchdowns tied the FAU single-game record originally set by Doug Parker and matched by Alfred Morris.
“If we do the stuff around him, get guys blocked he makes those plays,” FAU coach Lane Kiffin said. “It kind of came together today.”
FAU hadn’t defeated MTSU since 2007. Last year the Blue Raiders embarrassed the Owls in a blowout victory that saw the MTSU score 77 points despite playing the final three quarters without a true quarterback.
“There was some bad blood there from that game,” Kiffin said. “Obviously, it was embarrassing.”
FAU’s defense, one of the worst nationally when it comes to stopping the run, limited MTSU to only 62 yards on Saturday.
The defensive players who said throughout the week that they were looking for redemption from last year’s game held MTSU out of the end zone until the second half.
“You’d have thought they won the world championship in there,” Kiffin said of the locker room celebration. “That was good to see. It was good to see them have fun.”
Jason Driskel drew his second consecutive start at quarterback and played one of his best games as an Owl. The redshirt junior wasn’t exactly spectacular, but he did what the Owls needed of him to win the game – get the Owls into the right alignment and limit mistakes.
Driskel completed 22 of 29 passes for 187 yards without an interception. His four-yard touchdown pass to tight end Harrison Bryant with 5 minutes remaining slammed the door on the thought of a potential MTSU comeback.
“I just thought he managed the game really well,” Kiffin said “We don’t put a lot of things on him – a lot of down field throws – because we were running the ball really well.”
FAU amassed 252 rushing yards on the night – the third consecutive game the Owls eclipsed the 200-yard mark on the ground.
After missing the Owls’ loss to Buffalo last week Buddy Howell returned to rush for 88 yards on 16 carries. Driskel added 23 yards and Kerrith Whyte chipped in eight.
“One of the themes of the week was, let’s play really well – win this game as kind of a gift to everybody,” Kiffin said. “Here’s one of the better teams in the conference, let’s go beat them and snap the streak so we can start our own.”
GameBrowser: FAU (2-3, 1-0) 38, MTSU (2-3, 0-1) 20
TURNING POINT: FAU led throughout the game but MTSU grabbed a bit of momentum with a fourth-quarter TD. The Blue Raiders had the ball looking to draw within one possession. FAU cornerback Raekwon Williams made sure that didn’t happen. Williams picked off John Urzua and the Owls immediately marched 41 yard for a touchdown that removed any question as to the outcome.
- As big of a day as Saturday was for Singletary, it was even more important for FAU’s defense. FAU held a Blue Raiders team that scored 77 points on them less than one year ago to 20 points. Owl defensive players said they wanted to make a statement on Saturday. They did.
- Daniel Parr may have the better physical tools, but Jason Driskel’s mind gave FAU everything it needed on Saturday. Driskel played nearly mistake-free football, allowing the Owls’ running backs and offensive line to drive the offense. His numbers won’t win any awards and he still missed some open receivers, but Driskel played well on Saturday.
- Throughout fall camp Lane Kiffin constantly explained that offensive coordinator Kendal Briles’ offense didn’t throw frequently to the tight ends. On Saturday it did. Harrison Bryant and John Raine combined for 10 catches and 114 receiving yards. Perhaps the Owls should consider looking their way more often.
- Cornerback Shelton Lewis lit up fall camp, intercepting nearly a pass per day. Williams was right behind him. But heading into Saturday neither had intercepted a pass this season. Both plucked their first picks of the year in the victory. That bodes well for the Owls, who will primarily face spread offenses moving forward.
- Great decision by Kiffin and FAU to have quarterback De’Andre Johnson serve as a team captain for the game. Johnson was expected to be part of the battle for the Owls’ starting QB spot, but hasn’t been able to play since the opening week after having surgery to remove blood clots from his arm. He isn’t expected to return this season.
0 -Turnovers for FAU’s offense on the night. FAU’s defense forced three.
4 – Third down conversions in 12 opportunities for FAU. That’s not great, but it’s an improvement on the Owls’ season average.
4 – Penalties committed by FAU, costing the Owls only 27 yards. That pleased Kiffin.
7 – Tackles for linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair, who returned to action after missing last week’s loss to Buffalo with an arm injury.
8 – Tackles for FAU safety Jalen Young, most among the Owls. He also intercepted a pass.
9 – Rushing touchdowns on the season for Devin Singletary – only four shy of the FAU single-season mark set by Buddy Howell last season.
20 – Receiving yards on three catches for DeAndre McNeal, a down day for the Owls’ big-play receiver.
368 – Combined rushing yards for Singletary in two career games against MTSU. He’s also scored seven touchdowns against the Blue Raiders.
UP NEXT: FAU heads to Virginia to face Conference USA foe Old Dominion on Saturday. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.