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.


Owls’ season essentially over after conference loss to ASU

Jonesboro, Ark. — Stick a fork in these Owls. Their season is all but over.

FAU (1-5, 0-3) lost its fifth consecutive game on Saturday, Oct. 23, against the Arkansas State Red Wolves at ASU Stadium, essentially crushing the Owls’ slim hopes of reaching a bowl game.

Knowing this just halfway into the season is bad enough, but FAU will rue the missed opportunity that was this game. Not only did the Owls stand toe-to-toe with their Sun Belt Conference foes, they also had a real chance to win the game.

Leading 13-9 late in the third quarter, and as quarterback Jeff Van Camp and his offense stood four yards away from the end zone, FAU committed three penalties on three consecutive plays, pushing the Owls back and nullifying two touchdowns.

“Those penalties killed us,” said Van Camp. “I don’t know how they made those calls.”

It all went downhill after that.

On the ensuing kickoff, FAU managed to recover Ross Gornall’s kick in Red Wolves territory, but an offsides call negated the play. Instead of having the ball with good field position to work with, the Owls had to re-kick.

ASU took advantage of that second chance, scoring on that drive with a 28-yard pass from Ryan Aplin to Anthony Robinson to tie the game at 16-16.

Then, the Owls — and their season — were lost in the blink of an eye. On the ensuing FAU possession, Van Camp attempted to make a throw to Willie Floyd, who could not hang on to the pass after getting hit hard. The ball popped into the air and was tipped and intercepted by Adrian Hills before he returned it 37 yards for the go-ahead score.

FAU’s next possession was equally bad. On third and 10, Van Camp fumbled the ball and the Red Wolves recovered it on their own one-yard line. That set up a one-yard touchdown run by Jermaine Robertson to give ASU a 30-16 lead.

“The total collapse that happened there in the late third quarter and the fourth quarter may have shown how good we were doing in the early part of the game,” said head coach Howard Schnellenberger. “They really turned it up and we pretty much laid it out there up for grabs on a silver platter.”

An erratic throw from Van Camp on the Owls’ following possession was picked off, allowing ASU to score its 28th unanswered point in the fourth quarter and giving it a crucial Sun Belt victory.

As for FAU, dropping its third conference fixture in as many chances means the Owls are done for in the hunt for Sun Belt supremacy. And while FAU could still technically be bowl-eligible should it win the remainder of its games, it won’t. Not when it has a remaining schedule that includes Troy and Texas, and not with the way this team is playing.

“Right now we are not a good football team,” said Schnellenberger.

So what’s next for FAU? Not much besides bragging rights, with a game at Lockhart Stadium against rival FIU looming. That conference clash is pretty much the main thing FAU has to play for in the second half of the season, as continuing the long-time dominance over its southern neighbors is basically a prerequisite for every season as far as Owls fans are concerned.

“We’ve just got to keep fighting,” said wide receiver Lester Jean, who finished the day with two catches for 99 yards and a touchdown (an 80-yard pass from Van Camp). “For all the seniors, we just have to keep fighting and we’ve got to just keep fighting.”

For FAU, that’s the only option left in what has already become a floundering season.

For the FAU-ASU game story, click here.

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