Despite a dominant rushing performance, the Owls (3-5, 1-3) couldn’t overcome their passing woes in a 21-13 penalty-filled home loss to Louisiana Tech.
The defeat snapped FAU’s 10-game home winning streak and placed their chances at earning a second consecutive bowl bid in jeopardy.
Rafe Peavey started at quarterback for the Owls in place of usual-starter Chris Robison, who was dealing with an ankle injury he sustained against Marshall last week.
The results weren’t pretty.
Peavey managed a mere 115 yards on 26 passing attempts, turning the over the ball twice. He was pulled for Robison midway through the fourth quarter with FAU trailing by eight, but the change failed to amount in the game’s equalizing points.
FAU came into the night the second most penalized team in Conference USA (51), and continued the trend. The Owls committed 11 penalties against Louisiana Tech (6-2, 4-1). And it might have cost them the game.
“It was just that feel of a game when you can’t keep giving people opportunities,” coach Lane Kiffin said.
With 2:42 left on the clock, the Bulldogs were set to punt the ball with the Owls trailing by eight. A touchdown and two-point conversion would have tied the game, but FAU never had its chance.
Officials called Tyrek Tisdale for a leaping the shield penalty, giving Louisiana Tech what turned out to be the game’s final possession.
“We killed ourselves,” Kiffin said of his team’s penalties. “It’s just ridiculous – the things we do.”
While FAU couldn’t get anything going through the air, it was quite the opposite on the ground.
Devin Singletary hit the century mark in yardage in the first half alone, finishing the game with 171 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. Kerrith Whyte added 64 yards on 11 carries of his own.
“We did run the ball well today, you know Motor had 9, 10 yards a carry,” Kiffin said. “You usually don’t lose games when that’s the case.”
The loss was FAU’s first at home in over a year and dropped the Owls to two games below .500. Singletary is confident things will change, however.
“I’m not really concerned about us bouncing back,” Singletary said. “I know we are going to go back next week, keep finding ways to get better – something’s got to happen.”
The Owls travel to Miami to take on FIU in the Shula Bowl next Saturday, kickoff at 7:30 p.m.