Late in the second quarter quarterback Chris Robison and running back Malcolm Davidson both left the field with injuries. Neither returned.
Leading 21-3 in the final minute of the first half, Robison escaped the pocket and raced toward the left sideline, searching for a first down.
Derek Wilder caught Robison from behind two yards shy of the mark, driving Robison’s head and left shoulder into the artificial turf. Robison remained down for a couple minutes before walking to the sideline. He spent the second half on the sideline wearing a baseball camp.
“He was ruled out by the medical staff, so it wasn’t a choice we had to put him back in,” Kiffin said.
Robison finished the day having completed 14-of-21 passes for 184 yards, with two touchdowns against one interception.
Davidson’s injury could be more series. The Owls starting running back appeared to be walking back to the line of scrimmage when he simply sat down on the field. Trainers were examining Davidson’s groin area. He missed all of last season after undergoing knee surgery.
The redshirt freshman’s 21-yard untouched touchdown run through the middle of the Owls’ defense gave FAU its first rushing TD of the day. Davidson carried the ball six times but only netted 17 yards.
The loss of their starting quarterback and starting running back didn’t make much of a difference because the Owls’ defense easily shutdown the Monarchs, sacking their quarterbacks six times and limiting one of the nation’s worst offenses to 204 total yards.
FAU started slowly on Saturday before finding it’s groove midway through the first quarter.
After a short punt gave FAU the ball inside Monarch’s territory, the Owls needed only four plays to take a 7-0 lead, with a Robison-to-John Raine connection covering the final 15 yards.
Thanks to Davidson’s TD, the Owls led 14-0 when Robison made his only major mistake, forcing a throw into coverage on a flea-flicker that resulted in an interception.
Then ensuing ODU possession led to the Monarchs’ lone points – a 30-yard field goal.
Robison and FAU responded with a 12-play, 75-yard drive that resulted in Harrison Bryant’s first touchdown of the season. The 14-yard score, during which Bryant broke several tackles, was part of a big night for the senior tight end, who led the Owls with 92 receiving yards on eight catches.
“It wasn’t an easy one,” Kiffin said. “He worked his way through it. It was good to see.”
Wide receiver Deangelo Antoine also enjoyed a marquee outing, catching nine passes for 69 yards. His 48-yard third-quarter reverse sealed the Owls victory.
Willie Wright, Antoine’s backup, completed FAU’s scoring by taking a jet sweep 21 yards around the right side for a touchdwn, his first score since the second game of last season.