Football: FAU squeaks by WKU 17-16

Mark Gibson

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FAU improved to 3-5 (2-3) as it squeaked out a 17-16 win over Sun Belt Conference foe Western Kentucky University (1-8, 1-4) at L.T. Smith Stadium in Bowling Green, Ky., on Saturday, Nov. 6.

WKU scored early with an 11-yard touchdown run by running back Bobby Rainey on its first drive, but FAU responded later in the first quarter with a 19-yard run by running back Alfred Morris.

Mistakes were a constant plague for both teams. FAU made its first big mistake early in the second quarter on a punt attempt. A high snap saw the ball go over punter Mickey Groody’s head, giving the Hilltoppers two points, the lead and possession of the ball.

Later in the second quarter, quarterback Jeff Van Camp threw a 62-yard touchdown bomb to wide receiver Lester Jean, making the score 14-9 in favor of FAU at the end of the first half.

In the third quarter, FAU made its second big mistake as the Hilltoppers recovered a fumble from Morris near midfield. WKU capitalized on the Owls’ mishap as Rainey helped drive the ball down the field and eventually scored on a one-yard touchdown rush. Rainey had a big game, finishing the day with 152 yards and two touchdowns.

The Owls continued to shoot themselves in the foot as a bad snap caused WKU kicker Monte Merrick to miss a point-after attempt, but a roughing-the-kicker call on FAU negated the missed attempted.

Merrick’s second attempt was good, giving the Hilltoppers a 16-14 lead.

The Owls reclaimed the lead early in the fourth quarter on a 26-yard field goal by Ross Gornall.

Later in the quarter, cornerback Tavious Polo intercepted a pass from WKU quarterback Kawaun Jakes. Having caught the ball nine yards deep into his end zone, Polo opted to attempt a return, but he fumbled. WKU had a chance to react; however, cornerback Marcus Bartels recovered for the Owls.

As possession of the ball continued to bounce back and forth, it was FAU who held the ball on the final drive. An offside call on WKU gave the Owls a first down and sealed the one-point victory.

FAU will return home to play University of Louisiana at Lafayette on Saturday, Nov. 13, at Lockhart Stadium.