Football: Owls fail to stop Hurricanes, lose 44-20

In front of largest home crowd ever, Owls fall to Miami.

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Football: Owls fail to stop Hurricanes, lose 44-20

Sophomore running back Greg Howell attempts to get past Miami defensive back Jamal Carter during Friday's 44-20 loss. Max Jackson| Staff Photographer

Sophomore running back Greg Howell attempts to get past Miami defensive back Jamal Carter during Friday's 44-20 loss. Max Jackson| Staff Photographer

Max Jackson

Sophomore running back Greg Howell attempts to get past Miami defensive back Jamal Carter during Friday's 44-20 loss. Max Jackson| Staff Photographer

Max Jackson

Max Jackson

Sophomore running back Greg Howell attempts to get past Miami defensive back Jamal Carter during Friday's 44-20 loss. Max Jackson| Staff Photographer

Ryan Lynch, Sports Editor

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The Florida Atlantic Owls (0-2) could not stop the Miami Hurricanes (2-0) in their home opener Friday night, falling 43-20 in front of the largest recorded crowd at FAU Stadium.

“There was (sic) times where I was very proud of this football team, but there were also times that we need to take the next step,” head football coach Charlie Partridge said. “We’ve proven we can play with the likes of bigger conference schools, or Power Five or whatever you call it. What we need to do is grow up.”

Miami started the game’s scoring with a 4-yard rush from running back Mark Walton with 9:47 left in the first quarter, after quarterback Brad Kaaya led the team on a 75-yard drive on their first possession of the game to lead 7-0.

FAU’s first drive resulted in a 23-yard field goal from Greg Joseph at the 6:10 mark, giving the Owls their first points 7-3.

Lightning in the area stopped the game’s momentum before the ensuing kickoff after the score, causing a delay that lasted over an hour.

Coach Charlie Partridge’s problems were bigger than the stop of play.

Starting quarterback Jaquez Johnson came limping off the field with an ankle injury in the team’s final offensive drive before the delay.

“We do have some depth at quarterback so it’s like all coaches say the mantra, next man up,”  Partridge said.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Jason Driskel came on for FAU’s first post-delay drive. Playing his first game as an Owl, Driskel led the offense to its first touchdown of the game, a 4-yard pass to sophomore tight end Nate Terry to make the score 14-10 in favor of the Hurricanes.

“You know as a back up you always have to be ready,” Driskel said. “You’re one play away. I saw Quez get tackled, looked a little funky. From my perspective, I just have to go in there and do what I came here to do, play football.”

After a 48-yard field goal by UM kicker Michael Badgley, making it 17-10 at the start of the second quarter, the Owls answered back. At the 9:48 mark Jay Warren ran for a 9-yard touchdown to tie the game at 17.

Warren later left the game with a torso injury with 5:41 left in the half, after being tackled hard by defensive back Jamal Carter. The running back fumbled on the play to give up possession to the Hurricanes.

Warren ran for 132 yards and a touchdown in the first half, and was replaced by sophomore Greg Howell for the remainder of the game. Howell finished with 78 yards in the ground.

Badgley made a 21-yard field goal on Miami’s next drive to give the Hurricanes the lead once again 20-17.

With 1:46 left in the first half, Miami punted to FAU senior returner Jenson Stoshak, but he bobbled the catch. Miami recovered close to their end zone.

The Owls didn’t allow the Hurricanes to score despite the favorable position, forcing a three-and-out again on Brad Kaaya’s offense. Badgley would miss from 24 yards to give the ball back to FAU.

Miami struggled in late down situations throughout the first half, going 1-for-7 on third down. Brad Kaaya threw for 102 yards and a touchdown against an Owls’ secondary that gave up 200 against Tulsa, the opening half the week before.

Driskel threw for 112 yards and a touchdown in the first half, going 11-for-15 on pass attempts.

“Kid came in and did a nice job in a tough situation,” Partridge said.

FAU tied the game early in the second half. A 32-yard Greg Joseph field goal with 9:44 in the third quarter evened the score at 20.

Miami responded with a touchdown after the score, with Joseph Yearby running for 2 yards to earn his second of the game, giving his team a 27-20 lead with 7:32 left in the quarter.

Yearby totaled 146 rush yards during the game.

Miami closed out the third by putting 10 more points on the board, with a 23-yard Badgley field goal and a one yard rush by Mark Walton all within the last five minutes of the quarter.

The Hurricanes closed out the game with a 4-yard rush by Mark Walton to extend their lead 44-20.

After not turning the ball over in the first game, the Owls had five turnovers (three fumbles, two interceptions).

“There’s signs of us growing up, but we need to grow up now. Enough. You know what I mean? Let’s finish some games and get some victories,” Partridge said of the mistakes.

The Owls also did not force a single turnover in the game and gave up 300 yards of passing to UM’s Brad Kaaya.

FAU Stadium saw its first sellout since being built in 2011, with an announced crowd of 30,321 fans in attendance at the game. The mark set the record for the largest crowd at the FAU Stadium, as well as the largest crowd at a Palm Beach County sporting event.

The Owls will play at home versus Buffalo on Saturday, Sept. 19 at noon.

Ryan Lynch is the sports editor for the University Press. For tips regarding this or other articles, he can be contacted at [email protected] or on Twitter.