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


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


Football: FAU defeats UAB 38-35 for first win of the season

FAU defensive back Treon Howard celebrates after giving FAU a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter on a 23-yard interception which he returned for a touchdown. Photo by Melissa Landolfa.

Running back Alfred Morris set multiple school records, as the Owls defeated the Alabama-Birmingham Blazers 38 – 35 at FAU Stadium for the first win of the season. The victory saw nine records broken, mostly from Morris.“I’m just thankful we didn’t go winless”, said Morris.

FAU started the first quarter with a pick-six interception at the UAB 23-yard line from defensive back Treon Howard for a 7-0 lead only two minutes into the game.

“I just made the best opportunity I had,” said Howard after the game.

However, UAB tied the game with a 2-yard touchdown by running back Jackie William on the next possession.

With the ensuing UAB kickoff, wide receiver Willie Floyd became FAU’s all-time leading returner.

FAU failed to convert on a 29-yard field goal, missed by Vinny Zaccario, after taking the ball 63 yards. The drive was scoreless despite FAU’s all-time leading rusher Alfred Morris carrying the ball frequently.

UAB would open up the second quarter with an 80-yard drive, ending with a 1-yard run from quarterback Jonathan Perry to give the Blazers a 14-7 lead with 13:09 remaining in the second quarter.

The Owls would put together a successful drive on their next possession, reaching the Blazers 20-yard line before running back Xavier Stinson fumbled, as Blazers linebacker Marvin Burdette returned the ball to the UAB 16. The FAU defense stopped the UAB drive 2:49 later, their first stop of the game.

FAU’s next drive was highlighted by a critical 4th and 1 quarterback rush from quarterback Graham Wilbert for a first down. FAU would eventually score on a 1-yard rush from Morris to tie the game again 14-14 with 3:18 remaining the first half.

FAU quarterback Graham Wilbert threw for 181 yards. Photo by Melissa Landolfa.

FAU linebacker Randell Johnson forced a fumble on a play action roll out at the UAB 9-yard line, as the ball was recovered by FAU linebacker Andrae Kirk. After a dropped pass and a penalty, FAU would have to settle for a field goal with ten seconds left in the first half, which put the Owls in the lead 17-14.

On a scoring drive early in the second half, Alfred Morris became FAU’s all-time rushing touchdown leader with his second score, giving FAU a 24- 21 lead.

The two teams would once again exchange scores as UAB put together a 59-yard drive to go ahead 28-24 on a Jamarcus Nelson 3-yard rushing touchdown with 1:26 left in the third quarter.

Morris converted a 4th and 1 on the next possession at the 11-yard line. He would cap the drive with a 10-yard rushing touchdown, giving FAU a three point lead 31- 28 with 11:27 remaining in the game.

The touchdown marked Morris’s first ever game with three rushing touchdowns, as he also eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for the second straight season during the drive. His two consecutive 1,000-yards seasons were the first time Coach Schnellenberger has ever had a player accomplish the feat.

“I strive not to get complacent. We didn’t tonight, so I’m thankful,” said Morris.

The Owl’s defense forced UAB to a three and out series late in the fourth quarter. The Owls pushed the ball down to the UAB 11 before calling a timeout with only 2:23 remaining in the game. Faced with another fourth down, Morris was again given the ball and picked up the first down on a 2-yard rush.

A 9-yard rush by Morris ended the drive, as he picked up his fourth rushing touchdown, a FAU record, putting the Owl’s ahead 38-28 with 1:38 to go. Morris also broke an FAU records for single game rushing yards record with 198 yards and carries(38).

“I was just determined to end the drive,” said Morris. “It was a long drive. I had to get off the field.”

The Blazers went with a no huddle offense for a majority of its 92-yard drive that ended with a touchdown  in only a little over a minute.

FAU tight end Darian Williams led the team in receiving with 4 catches for 55 yards. Photo by Melissa Landolfa.

UAB, down by three with 33 seconds remaining, elected to onside kick, but the ball was kicked out of bounds, giving FAU possession.

“This is a good feeling for all of us,” said head coach Howard Schnellenberger.

FAU finished with 416 yards of offense, and was 5 of 5 on fourth down conversions.

“Kind of seemed like he broke 100 tackles” said FAU quarterback Graham Wilbert of Morris’s performance.

“The guy’s my hero. He’s a great player,” said FAU defensive back Marcus Bartels of Morris.

Next week the Owls take on Louisiana-Monroe (3-8 record) at home for the final game of the season.

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  • R

    Rachel BoyettNov 28, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Having visited Florida teams as a UAB football parent, I want to say that FAU wins hands down as the best host for visiting football teams! Thank you for a great experience despite the loss for UAB. Good luck with your next game and future seasons in your new stadium!