BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
Prior to last week’s home game vs Marshall, the FAU Owls had a 12-game home winning streak and needed just one win to become bowl eligible.
This game was the 250th contest in program history.
Both teams were tied for first place in Conference USA East.
During their series history, Marshall owned a 7-1 advantage.
Would this be the day that FAU could get their second win vs the Thundering Herd?
Marshall struck early as Jayden Harrison took the opening kickoff 99-yards and just like that, FAU trailed 7-0.
FAU responded with a drive of it’s own that went six plays, 75 yards and lasted 2:01 to even the score 7-7.
The Owls added a two more field goals in the second quarter, 37-yard field goal from Aaron Shahriari and a 38-yarder to take a 13-7 lead.
Marshall would score 21 unanswered points and held the Owls scoreless in the second half to win the ballgame 28-13.
The home winning streak wouldn’t reach 13.
There are two important numbers that summarize this game.
First, special teams play resulted in 14 Marshall points.
Second, the Thundering Herd scored seven points off of turnovers.
In addition to the opening kickoff for a touchdown, Marshall had a 29-yard punt return which led to a touchdown.
Owls QB N’Kosi Perry went 15-29 for 198 yards and one touchdown. He also rushed for 67 yards.
Running back Johnny Ford rushed for 139 yards.
Leading the way for Marshall was QB Grant Wells, who completed 26 passes for 351 yards and one touchdown. Rasheen Ali rushed for 94 yards and two touchdowns. Willie Johnson led Marshall in receiving with 140 yards and a touchdown.
Coach Willie Taggart said, the team, “dropped the football, couldn’t get rid of it quick enough and if the deep balls would have been caught, it would have been a different game. N’Kosi could have gotten rid of the ball quicker, but did some good things. The kickoff return and punt return were killers.”
Perry added, “we played sloppy football, drops and fumbles. We can’t have missed opportunities, drops and we left a lot out there.”
Perry’s point is well documented as FAU amassed 441 total yards and 21 first downs.
The Owls led in Time of Possession 30:19-29:41.
Would things improve on Saturday in Norfolk, VA., against Old Dominion?
Nick Price kicked three second-half field goals and Old Dominion scored on two first half safeties to defeat the Owls 30-16.
With the Owls leading 3-0 in the first quarter, Marcus Haynes sacked Perry in the end-zone for a first quarter safety. Perry was flagged for intentional grounding in the end zone with 4:06 left in the first half for a second safety. Blake Watson ran 11 yards in the final minute of the half to send Old Dominion into the intermission with an 11-3 lead.
Monarch’s QB Hayden Wolff completed 21 passes for 289 yards and a touchdown while Watson had 23 carries for 163 yards. Old Dominion improved it’s record to (4-6, 3-3 Conference USA).
Ford carried 19 times for 101 yards while Perry completed 12 of 21 passes attempts for 187 yards.
The loss dropped FAU’s record to 5-5 and 3-3 in Conference USA.
Unfortunately, things will get more difficult next week as FAU travels to Western Kentucky to face the Hilltoppers on Saturday at Noon.
Western Kentucky brings a 6-4, 5-1 Conference record into this contest.
The Hilltoppers throttled Rice 42-21 on Saturday as Bailey Zappe threw five touchdown passes, including three during a four minute span.
With two games left for the Hilltoppers regular season and Conference USA, Zappe leads the nation with 42 touchdown passes. He has thrown at least three touchdown passes in every game this season and has thrown five or more scores in a game four times.
To say that FAU has it’s work cut out in Bowling Green, Kentucky is mildly stating the obvious facing a QB that could be playing in the NFL.
Scott Morganroth can be reached at at email@example.com. You can follow him on Twitter @TribuneSouth.
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