Brenden Knox’s 17-yard touchdown run with 36 seconds remaining, the final yards on his 220-yard rushing night, capped a late Marshall comeback.
“Really disappointing because this was a chance for us to go five straight wins and 3-0 in the conference, and take front seat in the conference,” said Coach Kiffin
FAU quarterback Chris Robison threw his lone interception on the night on the ensuing play from scrimmage to seal the loss for the Owls.
Had FAU defeated Marshall, the Owls would have controlled their own destiny in the final half of C-USA play. With the loss they drop into a pool of one-loss teams in the East Division that trail 3-0 Western Kentucky. FAU and Western Kentucky meet in Bowling Green on Nov. 2.
Marshall constantly pressured Robison, sacking him seven times and recording a total of 12 tackles for loss. The Thundering Herd stymied FAU’s rushing game, limiting the Owls to 57 yards total on 36 carries.
“I don’t remember ever having seven sacks in a game,” Kiffin said. “That’s a lot of freaking sacks.”
Not long before Knox’s game-winning run, FAU rallied for the second time in the fourth quarter to take a late lead.
A 35-yard Robison-to-Deangelo Antoine hook-up, set up a two-yard Malcolm Davidson leap over the pile at the goal line to give FAU a 31-30 lead in 3:36 remaining.
Marshall benefited from a controversial penalty call against themselves, when officials ruled that a flag already in the air before the Owls tackled Knox on a 30-yard run came after the play. The ruling gave Marshall the ball at the FAU 35 as opposed to sending the Herd back to their own 35 for a third-and-16 play.
Kiffin had issues with the officiating throughout the night.
FAU’s defense struggled early, committing three pass interference penalties in the first quarter, including two on Marshall’s initial drive. Officials also flagged FAU for a face mask penalty on the opening drive, and Marshall used the 45 yards of penalties to take an early 3-0 lead over the Owls.
Two apparent pass interference calls against the Owls didn’t draw flags.
Officials flagged FAU for nine accepted penalties, totaling 90 yards. Marshall committed six infractions for 68 yards.
“It was there for us and we gave it away,” tight end Harrison Bryant said.
Knox rushed for 220 yards and two touchdowns. The Owls surrendered FAU 254 yards rushing and 460 total yards to Marshall.