Friday’s season opener between the Navy Midshipmen and the Florida Atlantic Owls was a game many would want to forget, and even the winning team would throw the game film away. But it was unforgettable and puzzling.
Lane Kiffin’s debut at Florida Atlantic lasted nearly six hours, featured three lightning delays and ended with almost no one left in the stands.
Zach Abey ran for 235 yards and two touchdowns, and Navy spoiled the start of Kiffin’s era at FAU by frosting the Owls 42-19 in a peculiar game that ended at 1:47 a.m. Saturday.
It took more than three hours to play the fourth quarter with the delays — and when the game ended, even the cheerleaders were long gone and cleaning crews were already at work inside the stadium.
Daniel Parr, who won the starting job over Jason Driskel, threw a 95-yard touchdown pass to Willie Wright for FAU, a play that gave the Owls a brief lead in the second quarter. Parr finished 19 of 30 for 281 yards and two touchdowns, the other being a 62-yarder to DeAndre McNeal.
Wright’s reception was the Owls’ first TD of the season moreover the longest play in FAU history.
“That was pretty embarrassing there as a build up to the game around here with the fans, the school, energy we let them down,” Kiffin stated. “We have a lot of work to do. We are not productive on offense.”
The Owls had only 40 rushing yards, though they lost 39 on plays that went down as team rushes following bad snaps. The Midshipmen improved to 6-4 in openers under coach Ken Niumatalolo. Navy ran 68 rushing plays, as opposed to 10 passes.
The announced attendance for Kiffin’s debut was 28,481, the third-largest crowd in FAU history. The legend of Kiffin continues. He tweeted a photo of a box holding new sneakers — adidas’ Yeezy Boost 350, size 12, part of the brand’s collaboration with Kanye West, hence Kiffin’s usage of the hashtag “thxkanye.”
Forget the debut, this is going to be an interesting season for the Owls.