Football: Missed chances result in 35-19 loss at Western Kentucky

Defense unable to hold Hilltopper pass attack.


Redshirt senior quarterback Jaquez Johnson runs out of the pocket during the Owls’ 31-17 win versus Florida International. Emily Creighton | Features Editor

Ryan Lynch, Sports Editor

After a 31-17 Shula Bowl win over Florida International that included 397 offensive yards and a seven-sack performance by the defense, it seemed Florida Atlantic football had momentum in their favor coming into their matchup versus Western Kentucky.

That momentum didn’t carry, as Florida Atlantic fell to the Hilltoppers 35-19 Saturday afternoon.

The Owls (2-7, 2-4 C-USA) were unable to contain WKU quarterback Brandon Doughty, who was involved with every single offensive score during the game. He threw for 273 yards, totaled four passing touchdowns and recorded a receiving touchdown.

Doughty did not feel much pressure during the game, as the Hilltoppers (8-2, 6-0 C-USA) prevented FAU’s line from getting to the senior quarterback and recording a sack. His lone mistake of the game was an interception to senior defensive back Cre’von LeBlanc with 1:03 left in the first half.

After throwing for 114 yards and a touchdown by halftime with his team trailing 14-13, redshirt senior quarterback Jaquez Johnson couldn’t lead the offense to convert on their chances in the redzone. The team went 4-of-5 from within 20 yards of goal, scoring a touchdown on only two of their drives.

Johnson finished the game with 185 yards passing and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 36 yards.

Offensively, the team found success keeping drives alive on fourth down, tying a program record with six, fourth down conversions during the game. This included a fake punt run by freshman running back Trey Rodriguez during the second quarter that went for 22 yards.

Rodriguez finished with 74 yards on 15 carries.

Jason Driskel came into the game during the second quarter for a single drive to replace Johnson, much like he did during last week’s game versus FIU. The redshirt freshman went 3-for-6 with 48 yards during his time on the field, leading the team to a 21-yard field goal.

With the loss, FAU falls to 5-2 all time versus the Hilltoppers, and can no longer reach the six wins necessary for bowl eligibility. Western Kentucky remains undefeated in conference play for the first time in team history.

The Owls return home next week to play the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders on Nov. 14, at noon.

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