Football: Lane Kiffin earns first ever win with Owls in 45-0 victory over Bethune-Cookman

The Wildcats were held scoreless for entire game.


FAU redshirt sophmore quarterback Daniel Parr (13) runs toward the end zone to score FAU’s first touchdown against Bethune-Cookman. Parr had two rushing touchdowns on the night. Alexander Rodriguez | Photo Editor

Ryan Lynch, Business Manager

After two straight losses to start the season, Lane Kiffin was content. Florida Atlantic football had won its first game of the season 45-0 over the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats, helping him become the fifth head coach with a win in the books for the Owls.

Kiffin mentioned to his players before the game the program’s first ever victory was against Bethune-Cookman, and said it was ironic his win came against the same school.

“It’s good,” Kiffin said. “To me it’s way more about the players. I talked to them about them coming together and winning as a team.”

Kiffin’s last win as a college head coach came with the USC on Sept. 21, 2013 in a 17-14 victory versus the Utah State Aggies. A huge night from the Owls’ (1-2) offense helped break that almost four year gap.

Quarterback Daniel Parr was able to have his best performance of the year so far in what was also his first win, throwing for 165 yards and a touchdown. The redshirt sophomore also racked up 38 rushing yards and two touchdowns, including the game’s first touchdown on a 9-yard run with 6:53 left in the first quarter.

“I think it was just little things (changing,)” Parr said. “Miscommunication was a big thing, but I think we’ve made improvements seeing signals and knowing assignments. From game one to now, I think we’ve progressed in leaps and bounds.”

Parr’s offense also received help from a program best rushing performance. His team rushed for 439 yards, beating the previous team game record of 370 yards set in 2003.

Sophomore running back Devin Singletary and senior Greg Howell combined for 284 yards and two touchdowns. Howell had the leading presence between the two backs, rushing for a career high of 175 yards.

“You can either get down on yourself or take advantage of your opportunities, and that’s what I was doing on special teams” Howell said on his lack of reps coming into the week. “Sometimes you just have to have fun with it and be a team player.”

It was far from a perfect performance for FAU though, as it did make a few mistakes. Singletary fumbled the ball into the endzone from the two-yard line during his team’s first possession of the game and an offensive pass interference call also wiped out a five-yard pass to DeAndre McNeil in the second quarter.

On defense, the Owls were able to hold the Wildcats (1-2) to 117 total yards of offense and no scores. The 129th best rushing defense in the nation was able to hold Bethune-Cookman to 61 yards of rushing as well.

Bethune was kept to only 92 total offensive yards by the end of the first half.

FAU’s aggressiveness on both sides of the ball was apparent throughout the game. That included a surprise onside kick after their first score, which the Owls recovered after the ball was batted forward several times.

“At the end of the day, I wanted to say we played physical in all phases of the game,” Kiffin said. We ran the ball really well, our offensive line moved guys, we didn’t run out of bounds, we finished runs.”

Sophomore tight end Harrison Bryant’s touchdown reception with 3:57 in the first quarter was the first of his career. Sophomore defensive tackle William Davis also recorded his first collegiate sack.

Graduate student kicker Greg Joseph hit his lone field goal attempt of the game, a 46-yard attempt with 7:42 left in the game. Redshirt junior quarterback Jason Driskel saw his first action of the year at quarterback in the fourth quarter, going 4-for-6 with 15 yards of passing.

FAU is now 3-1 all-time versus the Wildcats.

The Owls will next play at the University of Buffalo on Sept. 23 at 7 p.m. The Bulls won the lone meeting between the two teams, a 33-15 loss in 2015.

Ryan Lynch is the business manager of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @RyanLynchwriter.