I was part of the Lane Kiffin experience for the first time this past Saturday. I enjoyed the ride as did Kiffin … I think, tallying his first win as head coach of the Florida Atlantic Owls, 45-0 over the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats.
The experience started well on the opening drive, but came to a crashing halt as the Owls drove down the field then turned it over. On 2nd and 2 from the Wildcats 16-yard line, Devin Singletary ran for 14 yards but fumbled in the end zone, one of two turnovers in the game for the Owls.
Daniel Parr came to the rescue for the Owls as he put the first points on the board with a nine-yard touchdown run with 6:53 to play in the opening quarter. Parr gained rhythm but did force throws at times illustrating as a redshirt sophomore there is still time to develop by watching game film.
“Anytime I throw a pick it is obviously on me,” Parr stated. “I just think I got a little greedy trying to force that throw late in the first quarter.”
Parr ran for two touchdowns along with 38 yards and threw another to go along with 165 yards in the air.
The Owls defense shut out the Wildcats, but there was added motivation in this game for a team that that remained in Madison, Wisconsin, where the Owls lost to Wisconsin 31-14 last Saturday. FAU did not reopen until this past Wednesday because of Hurricane Irma. “Preparation is why the defense was able to build a great game plan around them,” Owls defensive end Ernest Bagner stated.
Prepare is what this Owls team had time to do as they kept their minds off Hurricane Irma that displaced them Sunday, as they waited for Hurricane Irma to pass and for officials to determine when they can come home leading up to the game.
Kiffin called for an onside kick in the first quarter with the Owls up a touchdown. “We saw a break down by them on film,” Kiffin stated. “I told the team opening kickoff we were going to go down and score … which we fumbled on the one end … then go back and get the onside kick. I think it is good when you put belief in your players.”
The Owls crushed their single-game rushing record with 439 yards beating their previous mark of 370 versus Siena. Florida Atlantic outgained Bethune-Cookman in total yards 619 to 117. It was the Owls’ first shutout since November 25, 2006 (31-0 at FIU) moreover their largest margin of victory, since their 55-10 win over New Mexico State on November 23, 2013.
The Kiffin experience is officially in motion after the Owls first win with their newly-minted coach. The Owls travel to upstate New York to face Buffalo next.