“I did not, no,” Kiffin said.
Drikel completed only eight of his 17 first half attempts. He didn’t complete a pass in the third quarter and only connected on one pass for positive yardage in the fourth.
Of course, that one completion changed the game. On second-and-15 from the WKU 49 Driskel hit a wide-open Willie Wright streaking down the middle of the field for a 49-yard touchdown that gave the Owls the lead for good.
Driskel completed only 10 passes on 24 attempts for 93 yards, tossing one touchdown and an interception, in Saturday’s 42-28 victory over Western Kentucky that kept FAU undefeated in Conference USA play.
Kiffin said Driskel’s contributions on Saturday aren’t measured by passing stats alone, which is why he didn’t turn to Parr.
“Outside of the passing stuff, there’s stuff Jason does really well, with the speed of (the offense), management, getting guys in the right spots, protections and that stuff,” Kiffin said. “And that’s a tough game, that temperature, to come off the bench and play really well – especially when we’re handing off most of the time.”
Driskel’s poor passing performance came a week after he earned Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week honors by throwing for 357 yards and two touchdowns, and rushing for a third score.
A redshirt-junior, Driskel replaced Parr as the Owls’ starting quarterback for the fourth game of the season. The Owls lost Driskel’s first start, at Buffalo, but haven’t lost since – a streak that’s given FAU its first four-game winning streak since 2013.
Under Parr, the Owls enjoyed more success with their downfield passing game, but the overall inconsistency within the passing game, along with struggles getting into the right plays, dismayed coaches.
Kiffin didn’t want to bring a cold Parr off the bench – temperatures dropped into the low 40s in Bowling Green, Ky., on Saturday – but he also wouldn’t use the cold weather as an excuse for Driskel’s play.
“Their guy was on fire,” said Kiffin, referring to WKU quarterback Mike White’s 371-yard, two touchdown stat line.
With the passing game faltering, WKU keyed on stopping running back Devin Singletary.
“They did a good job early with him,” Kiffin said. “We weren’t able to loosen them up at all because outside of the one play we really didn’t do anything in the passing game.”
Fortunately for FAU, Singletary found room late. He exploded for 144 yards and two touchdowns in the final quarter – part of a 244-yard, four touchdown game – to rally the Owls to a come-from-behind win.
Kiffin cautioned his Owls that they can’t always rely soley on Singletary to deliver victories because defenses will continue to stack the line of scrimmage to stop the run.
“If we don’t start hitting these passes we’re going to get played like that all the time,” Kiffin said. “We’ve got to improve our passing game.”