Miami Sports Day

FAU: Owls Edged Out on the Road by Buffalo, 34-31

Photo Courtesy FAU Athletics

BUFFALO, N.Y. – The Florida Atlantic University football team was topped by the University of Buffalo in a Saturday night road matchup, 34-31.

“We got off to a slow start, 14-0 … and again, third downs, 3-of-10 on third downs,” said Head Coach Lane Kiffin. “I thought we’d win this game and after 0-2, get us back to 2-2 … but we’ve got to go back and get ready for our first conference game.”

After the Bulls (2-2) scored on their opening drive, “Motor” Devin Singletary got two first downs for the Owls (1-3), but an interception turned it back over to Buffalo Off the turnover, the Bulls found the end zone again with 5:31 to go in the 1st to make it 14-0.

FAU scored on a Kerrith Whyte, Jr. touchdown down the left sideline from 37 yards out. For the sophomore, that was his longest career gain, and second score with the Owls. The other came against Ball State in 2016.

The Owls kept it on the ground to tie things up at 14-14. Singletary went for his fifth first down of the game, Whyte raced for 23 yards, and Singletary finished it off from 34 yards out.

Ernest Bagner stopped a Buffalo drive with a 3rd down sack, and on the ensuing punt, freshman Willie Wright returned it 28 yards to start the Owls’ drive on the Bulls’ 16. A holding penalty wiped out an FAU touchdown, and Greg Joseph was good on a field goal from 35 yards out to give the Owls their first lead, 17-14, with 6:35 to go before halftime.

UB had the ball last before the break, and strung together a 16-play drive, including six from inside the 10. But the Owls’ defense held the Bulls to a field goal for a 17-17 halftime score.

The first score of the second half came just before the 3rd quarter ended, on a rushing touchdown by Buffalo \ at the 2:17 mark, to push the Bulls back ahead, 24-17. Haiden Nagel notched the Owls’ second sack of the night on the final play of the 3rd

The Bulls extended the lead to 27-17 on a 42-yard field goal early in the final quarter.

The next Owls’ drive looked like it might stall, but on 4th down, QB Jason Driskel found DeAndre McNeal for nine yards.

Singletary rushed for eight, McNeal caught another pass for eight, Singletary had an 18-yard run, and he then finished it off from three yards out to cut the deficit to three, 27-24, with 7:30 left.

After holding UB to a 3-and-out, the Owls faced 4th down from their own 13 and fell just a football’s length short to give the ball back to the Bulls with 2:51 to go

After a rush of no gain and a loss of two yards, a 20-yard touchdown pass with 2:37 left again pushed the Bulls up by 10 (34-24). Driskel responded by marching down the field, finding three different receivers for 10+-yard gains, Wright for 13, Tavaris Harrison for 14 and Kamrin Solomon for 20, along with a 13-yard scramble prior to that last completion

Another Singletary touchdown, from one yard out, again cut it back down to three, 34-31, with 1:13 to go, but UB came up with the onside kick and ran out the clock. Singletary made it back-to-back 100-yard rushing games with 156, on 22 carries, and had eight first downs.

Whyte was next with 72 yards on just five carries. McNeal led the team with seven catches, and Wright added four.

Freshman defensive back Zyon Gilbert had a career-high 15 tackles, and linebacker Rashad Smith added 12 along with two pass breakups.

The Owls return home to open up the Conference USA slate, hosting Middle Tennessee next Saturday, Sept. 30. The Blue Raiders evened up their record at 2-2 on the early season with a 24-13 win at home versus Bowling Green on Saturday. Kickoff at FAU Stadium is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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