Football: Owls fall to Tulsa Golden Hurricane 47-44 in OT

Despite comeback, team unable to convert late opportunities.

Wide+receiver+Jenson+Stoshak+completes+a+from+Quarterback+Jaquez+Johnson+in+the+first+quarter+of+last+year%27s+game+vs+Tulsa.+Stoshak+led+all+recievers+with+114+yards+and+a+touchdown+in+this+season%27s+47-44+OT+loss.+Photo+by+Michelle+Friswell
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Football: Owls fall to Tulsa Golden Hurricane 47-44 in OT

Wide receiver Jenson Stoshak completes a from Quarterback Jaquez Johnson in the first quarter of last year's game vs Tulsa. Stoshak led all recievers with 114 yards and a touchdown in this season's 47-44 OT loss. Photo by Michelle Friswell

Wide receiver Jenson Stoshak completes a from Quarterback Jaquez Johnson in the first quarter of last year's game vs Tulsa. Stoshak led all recievers with 114 yards and a touchdown in this season's 47-44 OT loss. Photo by Michelle Friswell

Michelle Friswell

Wide receiver Jenson Stoshak completes a from Quarterback Jaquez Johnson in the first quarter of last year's game vs Tulsa. Stoshak led all recievers with 114 yards and a touchdown in this season's 47-44 OT loss. Photo by Michelle Friswell

Michelle Friswell

Michelle Friswell

Wide receiver Jenson Stoshak completes a from Quarterback Jaquez Johnson in the first quarter of last year's game vs Tulsa. Stoshak led all recievers with 114 yards and a touchdown in this season's 47-44 OT loss. Photo by Michelle Friswell

Ryan Lynch, Sports Editor

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Owls football opened their 2015 season Saturday in Tulsa, with a 47-44 overtime loss to the University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane, despite coming back in the second half and holding two double digit leads.

Heat was a major issue throughout the game. The 96-degree temperature affected both players and officials. Several Owls and Golden Hurricane players were escorted off the field by athletic trainers.

“There was cramping on both sides,” FAU head coach Charlie Partridge said. “And there were times their guys were cramping too. I mean we had an official cramp too. I don’t know if I necessarily see that as a factor.”

In the first half, sophomore running back Greg Howell scored the first Owl touchdown of the season on an 11-yard run with 4:34 left in the first quarter. The score gave the Owls a 7-0 lead.

Tulsa quickly answered the touchdown with one of their own. Quarterback Dane Evans found wide receiver Keevan Lucas on a 39-yard pass to even the score at seven with 2:45 left.

Lucas extended his team’s lead with a nine yard rush on a reverse, making the score 14-7 with 39 seconds left in the first quarter.

Evans once again hit Lucas for a pass touchdown to start the second quarter. The 43-yard reception pushed the Tulsa lead to 21-7 with 12:49 left in the second quarter.

FAU started their comeback at the 6:18 mark in the second; two catches in succession by Jenson Stoshak and a 17-yard touchdown reception brought the Owls within a touchdown 21-14.

Tulsa kicker Redford Jones struck a 26-yard field goal attempt off the left upright, giving FAU a chance to flip the score. Kicker Greg Joseph took the opportunity to hit a 40-yard field goal with 56 seconds left in the first half.

Senior defensive tackle Trevon Coley forced a fumble at midfield with a second left, but the Owls were unable to score.

FAU’s secondary had trouble in the first half against Evans, giving up over 200 pass yards along with two pass touchdowns.

In the second half, junior running back Jay Warren started the Owls off on the right foot, rushing for a 38-yard touchdown to give them a 24-21 lead.

Senior linebacker Freedom Whitfield forced Evans to fumble at midfield and recovered, continuing the momentum that was building for his team at the 13:53 mark.

Greg Howell found the endzone for the second time with 11:14 left in the third quarter, making it 31-21. He had 138 yards during the game, and was a major factor in gaining short yardage when the Owls needed him.

Running back Zack Langer brought Tulsa within a field goal when he ran for a five yard score with 8:21 in the third quarter, making it 31-28.

On fourth and two with 5:51 left, senior quarterback Jaquez Johnson threw a two yard pass to redshirt sophomore wide receiver Kalib Woods, giving the Owls a 38-28 lead.

In the fourth quarter, Langer ran for another rushing touchdown, this time for one yard, bringing his team within three points once more (38-35) with 13:23 left in the game.

After failing to convert on a 40-yard Greg Joseph field goal attempt, Redford James hit his first field goal of the game, a 32-yarder to tie it at 38 with 5:41 left.

With 1:48 left in the game, Joseph hit a 47-yard field goal to give the Owls a 41-38 lead. The two 47-yarders were the longest of his career.

After a converted fourth and one run by Langer, Tulsa settled for a 39-yard field goal to tie the game again at 41 with seven seconds left.

“We realize that Tulsa has a high up-tempo offense and we knew they were going to score points just like we do,” Jenson Stoshak said. “We knew the touchdowns we had to get and we just didn’t pull it off.”

With the game tied, the teams went into overtime.

FAU was the first team to have the ball, making it all the way to the one yard line before an illegal formation penalty and a failure to convert on second and third down forced a Joseph field goal to make it 44-41.

With the game on the line, Tulsa drove all the way to the three, where a Zach Langer rush gave them the 47-44 victory.

Penalties took a large chunk out of the Owls’ forward progress, with 13 penalties accounting for over 130 lost yards.

“It’s the penalties throughout,” Partridge said. “And you could point at all the penalties. Some of them I am anxious to see the film of. There is a lot of holding that was going on throughout the game, and we got a number of them called our direction.”

With this loss, the Owls have yet to win a road game with coach Partridge, going 0-8 in the current stretch of two seasons.

The Owls had most of their success running the football, with over 300 yards between Jay Warren, Greg Howell and Jaquez Johnson. FAU did not turn over the ball once, while forcing four turnovers (two fumbles, two interceptions).

The Owls will face the Miami Hurricanes next, in their home opener on Sept. 11. The game is expected to have a capacity crowd.

Ryan Lynch is the Sports editor for the University Press. To contact him on this or other stories, he can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter.