Third and long: FAU vs. Bethune Cookman

The UP’s weekly takeaways from the Owls’ most recent performance.


FAU junior running back Devin Singletary (5) outruns a defensive Bethune-Cookman player before scoring a touchdown for FAU. Photo by: Alexander Rodriguez

The Owls handled business yesterday, taking down the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats 49-28 for a second straight home win.

While they won by three scores, it wasn’t a perfect performance from FAU. The UP sports staff takes a look at where the Owls can improve ahead of next Friday’s matchup with nationally ranked UCF.

Here are the three things that caught our eyes.

First down: FAU’s special teams are still struggling.

Zachary Weinberger: The Owls’ most glaring flaw over the past three games has been its special teams. In its first two games of the season, against Oklahoma and Air Force, FAU allowed blocked punts returned for touchdowns. Those special teams woes continued last night against the Wildcats. On one play in particular, punter Sebastian Riella was forced to evade defenders who immediately penetrated the line and sprinted to the sideline before somehow getting off a 25-yarder. While the Owls did dominate Bethune-Cookman, FAU head football coach Lane Kiffin has to be concerned with the play of his special teams. It wouldn’t be a shocker if that’s something he keys on in practice this coming week. If the special team woes continue for FAU against a Top 25 team like UCF, the Owls will be in trouble.

Second down: The Owls’ defense needs to get it going.

Nathan Shaller: While the Owls decidedly defeated the Wildcats by three scores, they still gave up 28 points defensively. With No. 18 UCF up next on the schedule, the defense needs to step up its game to give FAU a fighting chance to pick up a road win. The Owls committed six penalties, giving the Wildcats 69 free yards. FAU also allowed them to finish 8-15 on third down attempts. Letting the lowly Wildcats convert on over half of their third down conversions is unsettling considering there are much more talented teams left to play. Kiffin will have to clean up his team’s defensive mistakes in anticipation of next Friday’s showdown with UCF.  

Third down: FAU’s dominant running game could be even better.

Colby Guy: In a game where Devin Singletary scored five touchdowns and Kerrith Whyte ran for over 100 yards, FAU’s rushing attack still showed room for improvement. Singletary said his team’s effort on the ground was “average,” and that communication needs to be fine-tuned to fully maximize their potential offensively. Despite the high scoring output, there were some plays left on the field that could have had the Owls in an even more convincing win over the Wildcats. But, the fact that a game where FAU rushed for 376 yards and six touchdowns left players somewhat unsatisfied just goes to show how far the Owls have progressed as a rising football power.

Colby Guy, Zachary Weinberger, and Nathan Shaller are contributing writers with the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet @UnivPressSports