Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.

UNIVERSITY PRESS

Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.

UNIVERSITY PRESS

Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.

UNIVERSITY PRESS

Owls Still Can’t Solve Cowboys

STILLWATER, OK – It has now officially been determined that the color orange disagrees with the Owls. For the third straight season Oklahoma State defeated FAU, this time by the score of 42-6.

“I knew we were running into a hornets’ nest after what happened over in Athens, and I was absolutely right. They were well prepared and really into it at the outset of the game,” said Owls Coach Howard Schnellenberger, referring to the Cowboys’ season opening loss at Georgia and subsequent enthusiasm in their home debut.

From the outset it appeared that the Owls (1-1) were overmatched by the Cowboys (1-1) again. Wide receiver Chris Bonner bobbled quarterback Rusty Smith’s initial pass and Andre Sexton snatched it out of the air and dashed into the end zone just 13 seconds into the game. It was the quickest a team has ever scored ever against the Owls.

From there the Owls didn’t wilt, but instead forced a turnover of their own and Warley Leroy kicked a career-long 45-yard field goal to get the 23-point underdogs back in the game.

In the second quarter Smith led a 15-play, 71-yard drive that took over six minutes off the clock and ended in Leroy’s second field goal of the day. It was the longest drive in the three all-time meetings between the teams and it proved to all 38,176 fans inside Boone Pickens Stadium that the Owls would not be going away without a fight. Smith ended his day 14 of 22 for 125 yards and one interception.

With the second quarter ticking away the Cowboys launched their first impressive drive of the game, leading 14-6. Much of the yardage was covered through the air by All-America candidate wide receiver Adarius Bowman. On third-and-goal from the seven Bowman and Owls’ cornerback Corey Small both leapt for the ball in the corner of the end zone on a fade pass from quarterback Zac Robinson. They simultaneously caught the ball and Small ripped it away as the two tumbled to the turf. It was originally ruled an interception on the field but after a ten-minute delay to review the play it was overturned with the referee sighting a rule stating that a simultaneous catch goes to the receiver, no matter that Small retained possession.

“That call was a real kick in the stomach going into the second half,” said Owls defensive end Josh Pinnick. “Without that call and the [early] interception, it’s 7-6 going into halftime.”

The delay was the first of several. There were three official reviews of plays in the first half. Then, in the second half the lights went out on one side of the stadium leading to another lengthy delay. The crowd, all decked out in orange and black, cheered loudly as each individual light bulb came back on.

Sean Clayton replaced Smith at quarterback and led the Owls on a drive that took them down to the ten-yard line. On second-and-goal Clayton threw an interception that ended FAU’s hope for their only touchdown of the game.

The game began to get out of hand once the second half started. The Cowboys scored two quick touchdowns within the first five minutes of the third quarter. The most spectacular was a 77-yard touchdown reception by Bowman, the longest of his career. Bowman broke away from coverage to make the catch, then eluded Taheem Acevedo and Tavious Polo before throwing the final defender, Kris Bartels to the turf. Overall, Bowman had six catches for 135 yards and two touchdowns. He was the favorite target of Robinson, who replaced starter Bobby Reid after Reid left early in the game with an injury.

In the end, the contest turned into another of Schnellenberger’s “advanced training” education by brutal defeat for the Owls.

“I don’t like that word at all, advanced training. That’s my head coach and I love him to death but that is bullshit. I want to beat OSU, I want to beat UF and Kentucky,” said Acevedo, who recorded his second interception of the season late in the game.

The Owls’ running game that was so crucial in last week’s win over Middle Tennessee was virtually non-existent. The FAU leading rusher was Jeff Blanchard, who came in once the score had gotten out of hand. Incumbents Charles Pierre, BJ Manley and Willie Rose were never able to get anything going on the ground.

“They have a solid defense and our offensive line did their best,” said running back BJ Manley, who could only muster one positive yard on six attempts. “We tried our best and we gave it our all.”

The Owls’ aerial attack was successful in spurts despite the lack of healthy receivers. Bonner never returned to the game after his initial error, leaving FAU with just two wide receivers. Lester Jean made his first career catch and Conshario Johnson was the only other available at the position. Tight end Jamari Grant lined up at receiver for much of the game.

Compounding the loss on the scoreboard, the Owls suffered physically as well. Team officials reported injuries to Bonner, Rose, Small, running back Willie Floyd and offensive lineman David Matlock.

FAU hits the field again on Saturday at Dolphin Stadium in Miami Gardens against the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

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