Football: FAU defeats UTEP to win consecutive games for the first time under Charlie Partridge

Jason Driskel found Nate Terry in the end zone for the game-winning touchdown with just 25 seconds remaining.


FAU freshman running back Devin Singletary (5) high steps the last 5 yards into the endzone after a 36-yard rush. Singletary had two touchdowns and 145 yards of rushing on the night. Max Jackson | Staff Photographer

Hans Belot Jr., Contributing Writer

Facing a three-point deficit with a little under three minutes remaining, Florida Atlantic football found itself 96 yards away from the end zone. Sophomore quarterback Jason Driskel led his team down the field before finding junior wide receiver Nate Terry for a 7-yard touchdown pass to defeat UTEP 35-31 in Boca Raton.

Senior defensive end Trey Hendrickson made the biggest defensive play of the night when he chased down Miners running back Walter Dawn on a third and four, forcing a UTEP punt that led to the game winning drive and touchdown.

‘It’s hard to put that into context,” said head coach Charlie Partridge. “But it was a very big play for tonight certainly because that gave our offense a chance to go down the field and win the game.”

That offense picked up right where it left off last week and marched 77 yards on its first series. A 4-yard touchdown run by freshman running back Devin Singletary capped the two-minute and 53-second drive.

The score broke FAU‘s record for most touchdown runs by a freshman, passing Trey Rodriguez’s record of five that was set last season.

“I always feel like as a competitor, I always tell myself let’s get better, each and every week,” Singletary said after breaking his second team record in two weeks.

The freshman finished the first half with 101 yards and two touchdowns on 11 rushes, but was held to just 41 yards in the second half. He finished with 145 yards on 20 attempts.

In the second series of the game, UTEP’s Brendan Royal intercepted Driskel and the Miners immediately took advantage by marching down the field, capped off by a 2-yard touchdown run by Aaron Jones.

Driskel bounced back and completed 20-of-25 passes for 233 yards along with a touchdown.

“You can’t let one play ruin your night,” Driskel said of his interception. “Things happen, people throw picks. You’d like not to, obviously, but you can’t let one play dictate your night … I was pretty successful through the air and it worked out.”

Sophomore quarterback Daniel Parr replaced Driskel in the third series and followed the starter with his own interception, this time picked by Kolbi McGary. Parr did not see anymore time on the field and finished 0-for-2 with the lone interception.

The Miners would once again take advantage of the turnover and turned it into seven points when Ryan Metz hit Sterling Napier for a 4-yard touchdown pass to capture a 14-7 lead.

The Owls offense bounced right back on the next series to even the game at 14. Singletary finished off a five-play, 71-yard drive with his second touchdown of the game, a 36-yard run.

FAU committed its third turnover of the half when sophomore safety Jalen Young muffed a punt at the Owls own 25-yard line. His night only got worse after the turnover.

The safety got flagged for a targeting call for a hit on Metz, resulting in an automatic ejection.

Despite the good field position, FAU held UTEP to only three points, and the Owls would even the score at 17 going into halftime with a field goal with 30 seconds remaining.

UTEP began the second half by extending its lead to 24-17, as Jones found the endzone for the second time. Jones 1-yard touchdown run completed a six-play, 75-yard drive.

After a field goal in the third quarter cut the deficit to four points, the Miners took their time on their next possession — spending the next 7:42 driving down the field — eventually throwing a touchdown pass from Metz to Hayden Plinke.

Jones finished the game with 229 yards on 27 carries, and became UTEP’s all-time leading rusher in the process.

“[Jones] is not just a good running back but a great running back,” said Partridge. “We knew that and we knew they were going to continue to feed him the ball. We did everything we could to stop him and give ourselves a chance in second and third down, but he’s just a great player.”

Junior wide receiver Kalib Woods got back on track, recording his first 100-yard receiving game since week week seven at Marshall. He finished with 104 yards on eight catches.

Sophomore Azeez Al-Shaair led the Owls in tackles with 11 total tackles, including 8 solos.

The Owls will host Old Dominion for their last home game of the season next Saturday, Nov. 19, at 6 p.m.

Video by Mohammed F. Emran

Hans Belot Jr. is a contributing writer with the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him  @Don_Phenom_.