No. 4: Hurricane Chaos Precedes Crushing Loss
Though players may argue that every loss feels the same, FAU’s 28-23 loss to Charlotte was something of its own. Despite some evidence that wide receiver Kamrin Solomon caught a Jason Driskel Hail Mary in bounds on the final play of the game, the catch was overturned following a video review, negating the game-winning touchdown and handing the Owls their fifth straight loss.
After a trying week that saw the Owls evacuated to Tampa to escape the effects of Hurricane Matthew, FAU returned to Boca Raton for a Sunday game – pushed back one day because of the storm – against a team still looking for its first FBS win. Entering the game at 1-4, all seemed to be on FAU’s side – Trey Hendrickson shined on defense, Buddy Howell rushed for three touchdowns, and the stadium had a nice turnout – all things considered – with over 7,000 people announced in attendance.
Still, FAU needed a late drive to overcome a late 5-point deficit.
Taking over at their own 28 yard line with 40 seconds left following a Hendrickson fumble recovery, two completions to Nate Terry – one of which went for 23 yards – got the Owls to the 49ers’ 38 with 6 seconds remaining. Heaving a deep pass to the right corner of the end zone, Driskel connected with Solomon in what was originally called a touchdown…one that replay review reversed after officials controversially determined that Solomon didn’t get a foot down in bounds.
What We Wrote:
Why It’s Important
After a Monday Night Football loss to the Chicago Bears in 2006, then-Arizona Cardinals coach Dennis Green infamously proclaimed that the Bears “are who we thought they were.” This was the game that showed the Owls to be who they were: a team that played to the level of their competition despite enough flashes of brilliance to win ballgames. What got lost as a result of the overturned Hail Mary going viral is FAU shouldn’t have even been in the position where it needed a game-winning touchdown heave on the last play.
Even in a game where Buddy Howell dominated on the ground, Trey Hendrickson shined on defense, and quarterback Jason Driskel looked competent, FAU found itself snakebit by the same repeating issues – ball control, allowing long drives on defense, and the inability to mentally rebound after calls players disagreed with: a fourth-and-short that the 49ers controversially converted to a first down was immediately followed by a 37 yard touchdown pass from quarterback Hasaan Klugh.
Early season losses to Miami and Kansas State were to be expected, but this was FAU’s third straight loss to teams – Ball State, FIU, and Charlotte – that wound up finishing a combined 12-14 on the season. Given that the Owls finished 3-9 in a season where several sub-.500 teams made bowl games, those three games may have been enough to give FAU a postseason berth…and, potentially, get Charlie Partridge a fourth year as coach.
This was also one of the first times where Partridge began his constant changing of the quarterbacks between Driskel and Daniel Parr, with the latter completing five of his ten passes for 50 yards.
However, the one positive that (rightfully) gets forgotten is how well FAU – both the university and the athletic department – handled the hurricane. Both Partridge and Pat Chun did a great job managing a difficult week.
No. 10: Baseball Relationship Ballpark of the Palm Beaches
No. 9: Football Beset by Injuries
No. 8: The Quarterback Battles
No. 7: Schmidt Complex: It’s a Start
No. 6: Buckeye Surprise
No. 5: The Sirens Call
No. 4: One Stormy Week
No. 3: Partridge Fired
No. 2: Forgettable Seasons
No. 1: The Lane Train