FAU loses 24-23 to Marshall on last-second field goal

Wesley Wright

FAU head coach Carl Pelini was visibly upset following the last-second 24-23 loss to Marshall at FAU Stadium on Saturday. Photo by Ryan Murphy.
FAU head coach Carl Pelini was visibly upset following the last-second 24-23 loss to Marshall at FAU Stadium on Saturday. Photo by Ryan Murphy.

For 59 minutes and 54 seconds, FAU appeared poised to win back-to-back games for the first time since 2010.

The Thundering Herd, however, dashed the Owls’ hopes.

With six seconds left in the game, Marshall kicker Justin Haig drilled a 41-yard field goal to defeat FAU (2-5 overall, 1-2 in Conference USA), 24-23, on Saturday night at FAU Stadium.

Like the Rice game two weeks prior, a sloppy fourth quarter doomed the Owls to a gut-wrenching loss.

FAU held a 23-21 advantage with 2:06 remaining in the fourth quarter, but allowed Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato to drive down the field and set up the game-winning kick.

Holding a nine point lead before field goal, FAU saw its 23-14 lead shrink to just two after a 41-yard touchdown pass from Cato to wide receiver Gator Hoskins with 6:47 left in regulation.

Earlier in the fourth quarter, Johnson, who led the team in rushing with 78 yards, gave FAU some breathing room by scoring on a one-yard touchdown run with 10:01 remaining.

Late in the third quarter, Johnson gave the Owls a 16-14 lead by finding tight end Nexon Dorvilus for a five-yard touchdown pass with 22 seconds left. Dorvilus had two catches for 18 yards and the touchdown.

Anderson missed the extra point, much to the chagrin of a home crowd of more than 19,000.

Before Dorvilus’ score, Marshall took a 14-10 on a one-yard touchdown run by running back Kevin Grooms.

FAU initially took the lead early in the third quarter, scoring on a two-yard run by running back Jonathan Wallace, who gave the team a 10-7 advantage. Wallace finished with 20 carries for 75 yards and the score.

After a scoreless first quarter, the Owls entered halftime trailing 7-3 following a 64-yard punt return touchdown by Marshall’s Devon Smith. This game marked the first time that Marshall did not score an offensive touchdown in the first half.

Anderson hit a 26-yard field goal in the second quarter, but shanked a 40-yard attempt in the first. The miss was Anderson’s sixth of the season and the woes continue to anger FAU Head Coach Carl Pelini, who spoke very briefly after the game.

“I have a week to get it fixed,” Pelini said of the kicking game.

The game began positively for the Owls, with cornerback DJ Smith picking off Cato on the game’s first play. Smith leads the team with four interceptions.

The loss came in spite of another solid performance by Johnson, who finished with 265 total yards and two total touchdowns. His only blemish was a second quarter interception that came by way of a deflected pass.

The FAU offense amassed 395 yards, and were superior to Marshall in almost every offensive category –– first downs (24-18), time of possession (35:11 to 24:49), and rushing yards (208 to 139).

FAU has a bye week, but returns to action on Oct. 26 in a road game at Auburn. Kickoff is TBA.

[tn3 origin=”album” ids=”315″]