Football: Missed opportunities lead to 33-17 loss against Marshall

Freshmen shine as Owls drop second straight game to a conference opponent.

Owls+players+run+out+before+Saturday%27s+33-17+loss+versus+Marshall.+FAU+is+now+0-3+all+time+versus+the+Thundering+Herd.+Photo+by+Mohammed+Emran%7CAsst.+Creative+Director

Owls players run out before Saturday's 33-17 loss versus Marshall. FAU is now 0-3 all time versus the Thundering Herd. Photo by Mohammed Emran|Asst. Creative Director

Brendan Feeney, Contributing Writer

Football fell to Marshall 33-17 Saturday afternoon after allowing 500 total yards of offense to the Thundering Herd. The loss is Florida Atlantic’s second in a row and sixth straight at home.

“I’m disappointed in the result, there’s no question,” said head football coach Charlie Partridge. “[Marshall] is a heck of a football team. They’re a team we’re working to emulate”.

Marshall senior running back Devon Johnson started the scoring for his team with a 75-yard touchdown run on the Herd’s second play from scrimmage. Johnson, who ran for 272 yards and four touchdowns during last year’s meeting against the Owls, ran straight up the middle and was untouched on the play.

“[Marshall] spreads you. We had a defensive lineman get out of a gap,” Partridge said. That gap allowed Johnson to score his lone touchdown of the game.

Sophomore wide receiver Hyleck Foster also broke off a big run for Marshall, taking the ball 66 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter. Marshall finished the game with a total of 326 rushing yards.

FAU answered on their first drive with a field goal from junior kicker Greg Joseph. The 14 play drive featured seven runs from freshman running back Trey Rodriguez, resulting in 41 yards. This was Rodriguez’ first start of his collegiate career.

Rodriguez finished the game with 74 yards on 16 carries with one touchdown.

“He’s certainly electric with the ball,” said Partridge. “He’s got a lot of gifts and he’ll help us as we continue to evolve.”

Rodriguez’s second touchdown of the season occurred in the third quarter after redshirt freshman quarterback Jason Driskel connected with tight end Tyler Cameron for a 71 yard pass to the four yard-line. Cameron finished the game with a team-high 111 receiving yards.

“I have complete confidence in Jason,” said Cameron. “I think he’s going to do great things here at this program.”

Driskel, who started for the injured Jaquez Johnson, finished the game with 203 yards through the air and an additional 17 rushing yards.

Down 13 at the start of the fourth quarter, Driskel threw a fourth-down pass that deflected off multiple Thundering Herd defenders before being picked off.

“I wasn’t good enough to win and that’s what I came here to do,” said Driskel. “I need to play better.”

The pick was the lone Owls turnover of the game.

“He looked young out there, but he’s getting great, valuable learning experience and he’ll get better as we go along,” said Partridge of his quarterback.

According to Partridge, Johnson (who was limited this week at practice) sat due to a combination of injury and Driskel performing well in practice.

Down 13 points before halftime, Driskel was able to convert on a third and 11, giving FAU a first-and-goal from the three yard line with less than a minute left. After three straight incomplete passes, Joseph missed a 20 yard field goal.

“We should have scored a touchdown there, it’s my fault,” said Driskel.

Freshman defensive back Ocie Rose returned a 95 yard interception with 4:35 left in the second quarter, giving the Owls their first touchdown of the game, making it a one possession game, 16-10 in Marshall’s favor. The 95 yard interception return is a new record, breaking former Owl Willie Hughley’s record of 87 yards.

“I just jumped in front of him and I just started running,” said Rose. “It juiced the whole defense up, seeing a freshman making plays. The whole defense started making plays.”

Rose benefited from freshman defensive lineman Jayson King, who hit Marshall quarterback Chase Litton causing him to miss his target. It was Rose’s third interception of the year and second which he has returned for a touchdown.

“[Rose] is a young player with a lot of talent,” said Partridge. “Ocie, at times is electrifying….I love the way he approaches the game.”

The Owls next game will be played on Saturday, Oct. 24 when they visit the UTEP Miners.

Video by Mohammed F. Emran | Asst. Creative Director

Brendan Feeney is a contributing writer with the University Press.To contsct him on this or other stories, he can be emailed at [email protected] or followed on Twitter.