Football: FAU loses seventh straight game, falling 38-14 to Middle Tennessee

Dating+back+to+2010%2C+Howard+Schnellenberger+and+the+Owls+have+lost+10+consecutive+games%2C+a+school+record.+Photo+by+Christine+Capozziello

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Dating back to 2010, Howard Schnellenberger and the Owls have lost 10 consecutive games, a school record. Photo by Christine Capozziello

Zack Duarte

Dating back to 2010, Howard Schnellenberger and the Owls have lost 10 consecutive games, a school record. Photo by Christine Capozziello

The Blue Raiders of Middle Tennessee State took advantage of a school-record six FAU turnovers to take out the Owls 38-14 Saturday night.The Owls have now lost 10 consecutive games dating back to the 2010 season and head coach Howard Schnellenberger doesn’t seem to know what is wrong.

“With all the experience I’ve had doing this I can’t figure out why we have the problems that we have,” said Schnellenberger.

Middle Tennessee took a 21-0 lead in the first quarter on three consecutive scoring drives of 63, 68 and 80 yards, respectively. Blue Raiders quarterback Logan Kilgore was 18-for-18 on those drives and it wasn’t until his 20th pass attempt that one fell incomplete.

The Blue Raiders had Buster Faulkner calling the plays on offense for the first time as former offensive coordinator Willie Simmons resigned eight days ago. Faulkner used a formula that has helped MTSU beat FAU the last three meetings — the no huddle offense. Their longest drive in the first quarter was 3:02 and it was a 10 play 80 yard scoring drive.

FAU running back Alfred Morris bolts down the sideline, heading for endzone. Morris would finish the game with 153 yards on 18 carries. Photo by Melissa Landolfa.

“We weren’t ready for that,” said senior defensive back Marcus Bartels. “All the short passes and short screens — thought they were gonna go down the field a little more. They had a good gameplan.”

Trailing by 21 to start the second quarter, Alfred Morris jump-started the offense with a 48 yard run to set up FAU at the Blue Raiders 8 yard line.

Graham Wilbert, who started after sitting out last week due to an injury, went 3-for-3 on the drive. A 5-yard pass to Darian Williams made the score 21-7 but more importantly it was the first Owls touchdown in the new stadium.

“Having milestones like that always feels good,” said Williams. “At the same time we got the loss and it kinda evens itself out.”

Wilbert was 9-for-15 with 80 passing yards in the first half and Morris had 105 rushing yards but the turnovers plagued the Owls all night long

The Owls picked up momentum with defensive stops in the second quarter but the offense struggled. Morris fumbled on the next possession giving MTSU the ball at the Owls 48 yard line.

The defense made a stop on 4th-and-1 and the Owls got the ball back. Inside Blue Raiders territory however,  Wilbert was sacked and fumbled the ball which was recovered by MTSU at their own 44 yard line.

The Owls struggled again in the third quarter, allowing the Blue Raiders to score 10 more points and make the score 31-7 going into the fourth quarter. The Owls have now been outscored this year 71-6 in the third quarter of games.

On the Blue Raiders’ first drive of the fourth quarter running back William Pratcher fumbled the ball and Marcus Bartels recovered for the Owls at the Raiders 27 yard line.

A Stephen Curtis 1 yard quarterback sneak made the score 31-14 but that was the closest the Owls comeback attempt came.

A three-and-out on the next possession and a Curtis fumble thwarted any shot the Owls had of making the game close.

The Owls finished the game with eight total fumbles and five lost fumbles, both team records. As well, FAU is ineligible for a bowl game and is now guaranteed its third consecutive losing season.