Owls overcome halftime deficit, defeat Western Kentucky 45-38


Despite showing flu-like symptoms prior to the game, Lucky Whitehead totaled 125 receiving and the game-winning touchdown. Photo by Max Jackson

A slow start didn’t derail the Florida Atlantic University Owls as they stormed back from an early 14 point deficit. Western Kentucky opened the game with two explosive drives scoring twice in the first three minutes of the game.

Quarterback Jaquez Johnson amassed 95 rushing yards, and 325 passing yards. He and wide receiver Kalib Woods connected for the Owls first touchdown of the day on an 11 yard pass.

The Owls had issues stopping WKU in the first half, though. They entered halftime down 31-14, but head coach Charlie Partridge said that his team was not worried.

“It wasn’t a situation where we had to motivate them,” he said.

Freshman running back Greg Howell brought the Owls (3-4, 2-1 C-USA) back from 31-38 deficit with a late four yard touchdown run with 7:51 left in the fourth quarter to give the Owls their first lead of the day.

The Coconut Grove native had 21 carries for 118 yards and a touchdown on the day. His early first half fumble was the only blemish on an otherwise productive debut, a day he credited to running backs coach Roger Harriott.

“Coach [Harriott] always told me, never to get complacent,” Howell said. “When he moved me up, he was like, ‘I told you,’ he said. Howell is referring to being moved from the practice squad to the game day roster.

Wide receiver Lucky Whitehead scored on a 61 yard touchdown catch and run from Jaquez Johnson in the fourth quarter to give the Owls a 45-38 lead late in the fourth. Whitehead had 8 receptions for 125 yards and a total of 217 yards from scrimmage.

The Owl defense halted Western Kentucky (2-4, 0-3 in Conference USA) with timely defensive stands in the second half. They came in with one of the most prolific offenses in the nation. Averaging 430 passing yards per game, they managed only 335 yards passing today.

Defensive end Trey Hendrickson had a sack-fumble which was recovered by defensive lineman Trevon Coley with 40 seconds left. The defense only surrendered seven total points in the second half, and cornerback DJ Smith said that at halftime, the defensive unit changed its course. “We buckled down and played Florida Atlantic football,” he said.

The Owls’ next game is versus the undefeated Marshall Thundering Herd on October 25.