Football: Owls stumble in second half during 33-15 loss to Buffalo

Sub-par second half play and turnovers cause third straight loss.

Defensive+back+and+kick+returner+Cre%27von+LeBlanc+runs+past+a+defender+during+the+Owls%27+33-15+loss+against+Buffalo.+The+senior+returned+four+kicks+for+85+yards.+Max+Jackson%7CStaff+Photographer+

Max Jackson

Defensive back and kick returner Cre'von LeBlanc runs past a defender during the Owls' 33-15 loss against Buffalo. The senior returned four kicks for 85 yards. Max Jackson|Staff Photographer

Josh Talero, Contributing Writer

Suffering their third straight loss of the year, poor play in the second half of the game caused Florida Atlantic football to lose 33-15 Saturday against the University of Buffalo Bulls. The Owls committed five turnovers during the game, three of which (two fumbles and an interception) were returned for a touchdown.

“With five turnovers, it’s a disappointing performance,” head coach Charlie Partridge said of the team’s turnover issues. “It’s pretty simple, we have to take care of the football.”

Usual starting quarterback Jaquez Johnson did not dress to play because of the ankle injury he suffered in the first half of the Miami game last Friday, leaving redshirt freshman Jason Driskel to make his first career start against the Bulls.

Under Driskel, the offense began the game with a quick pace and moved the ball successfully, converting four first downs on their first four plays of the game. Driskel’s first touchdown pass of the day came by a six yard pass to sophomore wide receiver Nate Terry to lead 9-0 with 5:33 left in the first quarter.

Driskel finished with 387 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. His 55 pass attempts set a program record, which was previously held by Rusty Smith (54).

During the first half, the Owls’ defense was able to prevent Buffalo from gaining any offensive momentum, holding the Bulls to five first downs and 106 total yards, while also forcing an interception by freshman defensive back Jalen Young.

“It was a big momentum shift,” said Young. “All week in practice we want to get turnovers to energize the offense, and that’s what we did.”

FAU’s defense only allowed Buffalo to convert three of 17 total first downs during the game.

Turnovers caused the Owls to lose the lead, and later the momentum the team had established during the first half.

Buffalo began the half with 19 unanswered points, coming from behind to lead 19-9. The Bulls’ defense forced the Owls offense to commit two turnovers and a safety during that stretch.  

The Owls did not score again until the first play of the fourth quarter, when Driskel connected with sophomore wide receiver Kamrin Solomon on a 64-yard pass to make it 26-15 with 14:48 left in the game.

Senior wideout Jenson Stoshak and Driskel were in sync throughout the game, connecting six times for a total of 116 yards.

With the loss FAU falls to 0-3 on the season, while currently on an eight-game losing streak going back to last season. Buffalo now has a 2-1 record on the year.

The Owls open up their conference season on the road next week to play the Charlotte 49ers on Sept. 26 at 7 p.m.

Josh Talero is a contributing writer for the University Press. To contact him on this or other stories, he can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter.