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


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


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


Stuck in the Mud

Ft. Lauderdale – With one broken tackle and a burst of speed, the best running back in the Sun Belt crushed the Owls’ hopes for a perfect season on a rainy night at Lockhart Stadium.

University of Louisiana-Monroe senior Calvin Dawson bounced to the outside and scampered down the muddy sideline for a 31-yard TD in the third overtime period to set off a raucous celebration in the corner of the end zone and propel ULM (3-5, 3-2 Sun Belt) to a 33-30 victory. The conference’s leading rusher ended up with 114 yards on 26 carries and two TD’s.

“Sadly, they made one more play than we did,” said FAU fullback Willie Rose.

“[Dawson] bounced it outside, broke a couple of tackles, and that was it,” said Owls defensive lineman Jervonte Jackson.

Just getting to overtime was a feat in and of itself for the Owls (4-4, 3-1 Sun Belt). Trailing by 10 in the fourth quarter, Warley Leroy made a 36-yard field goal with 6:39 left to bringing the score to 24-17. Then the FAU defense forced the Warhawks to punt and the Owls got the ball back.

FAU quarterback Rusty Smith was in familiar territory and brought his best stuff for the second straight week. Starting from his own 12-yard line and trailing 24-17 with 4:18 left, Smith took the Owls down the field to tie the game. He completed passes to Jamari Grant and his most reliable receiver, Cortez Gent to get to the ULM 33. From there, a pass interference call and a first down pass to BJ Manley set up a Charles Pierre TD run from the one yard line.

The tying TD did not ensure that the game would go into overtime. The Warhawks still had 1:12 left on the clock and drove the ball down to the Owls’ 30-yard line and lined up for a 47-yard field goal attempt with 13 seconds left. Instead, they executed a trick pass that took them to the Owls 12-yard line with just five ticks on the clock.

“Block that kick! Block that kick,” the poncho-clad FAU crowd chanted as the Warhawks lined up for what would have been a game-winning 29-yard field goal. It was a good thing the Owls’ special teams unit listened.

Mauricio Riquer blocked the kick and sent the Owls into overtime for the second consecutive week. The block sent what remained of the 16,902 soggy fans into a celebratory frenzy

“I knew if we didn’t block it we were going to lose,” Riquer said, “I pushed my guy back, jumped in the air and blocked it.”

In the first overtime period, the Owls advanced the ball near the goal but had to settle for a short field goal try. Warley Leroy’s kick was blocked and the Warhawks took possession of the ball with a chance to win.

Then, Warhawks kicker Cole Wilson slipped and fell while attempting a game-winner of his own, leaving the score even.

That moved the action away from the muddy end of the field, and from the area in front of the crowded bleachers to the empty ones. As the second overtime period started a surreal mass migration of fans occurred from the west to east end zone, emptying one side of the stadium and filling the other. Once there, Wilson made a 33 yard kick that put the Warhawks up by three, with the Owls having a chance to tie.

The Owls didn’t move the ball much and Leroy was left with a 37-yard attempt to tie the game. The ball fluttered up in the air before dropping, ever so softly, over the cross bar to tie the game. As the officials signaled that the kick was good, the students quickly moved back to their original position on the other side of the stadium.

“I know they have confidence in me to make the kicks,” Leroy said. “I was just worried about the footing.”

In the third OT Leroy was good again, this time from 24 yards and the pressure was on the Warhawks to match with the Owls leading 30-27. Two penalties pushed ULM back to the 31 yard line and then Dawson broke loose to end the marathon.

“We played our hearts out,” Riquer said. “The momentum came back to us, we thought we were going to win and we just came up one play short.”

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