FAU drops opener to Navy in start of Lane Kiffin Era

Written by Brian Pohl
Boca Raton, FL- The Lane Kiffin era has officially begun at FAU, as the Owls looked to start the season off on the right foot against the triple option attack of the Navy Midshipmen. The biggest question coming into the season for the Owls was who would be starting quarterback, as FAU has 3 solid options with Jason Driskel, De’Andre Johnson, and Daniel Parr.

​Redshirt Sophomore quarterback Brandon Parr was the man whose name was called to start, and he impressed throughout the first half, completing 16 of 21 passes for 198 yards that included a 95-yard touchdown pass to Willie Wright, breaking FAU school records for longest play and longest touchdown in school history. The offense as a whole though wasn’t able to capitalize and build momentum, only scoring 10 points in the first half. Running the ball was particularly difficult in the first half for the Owls with just 22 yards on 9 attempts. With both a field goal and extra point in the first half, grad student Greg Joseph tied the school records for most field goals and extra points made.

On defense, the Owls had a difficult time slowing down the triple-option offense. Navy QB Zach Abey was the standout, rushing for 140 of the Midshipmen’s 205 first half rushing yards, including a 40-yard touchdown run. Typically, Navy won’t throw much with their triple-option offense, and the first half was no different. Abey only completed 2 of his 6 passes, although he was able to reach 71 yards after a 56-yard completion. The Owls were able to force and recover a fumble in the second quarter, as Haiden Nagel pounced on the ball. Azee Al-Shaair led the team with 7 first-half tackles. These two weren’t enough to slow down the Navy attack, who took a 21-10 lead into the half.

The second half did not start well for the Owls. Navy received the ball to start the half, and scored off of a 48 yard run by RB Joshua Walker, his second touchdown of the game. FAU was able to eventually answer with a 54-yard field goal by Greg Joseph, the longest field goal in school history, as well as giving Greg sole possession of the school record for career field goals made. However, Navy came right back and scored on a 23 yard run by Zach Abey, extending their lead to 35-13 right before the end of the third quarter.

Before the start of the 4th quarter, lightning entered the area causing a delay. After 59 minutes, the teams retook the field to try and finish the game. In just over a minute of game time, both teams had managed to score long touchdowns, bringing the score to 42-19. Before FAU could attempt a two-point conversion, more lightning entered the area, leading to a multiple hour delay that caused the game to not resume until 1 am. The game would eventually resume though and the score would settle at 42-19.

Overall it was a disappointing debut for Lane Kiffin’s FAU Owls, who were unable to slow down the Midshipmen, but there were bright spots. Daniel Parr was impressive, especially in the first half. The 95-yard touchdown pass to Willie Wright was a great throw and catch, and put them both into the FAU record books. Kicker Greg Joseph broke 3 school records, with most career field goals, most career extra points made, and the longest field goal in school history with a 54- yard field goal.

When Head Coach Lane Kiffin was asked about his debut he was disappointed by the showing, “There was so much buildup to the game around here with the fans, around the school, the energy, I really feel like we let them down. We have a lot of work to do. It was obvious.” The Owls will look to bounce back next week when they travel up to Wisconsin for another tough game early in the season.

​FAU moves to 0-1 on the season and will next travel to Wisconsin to take on the Badgers on Saturday September 9th, with kickoff at noon.

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