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FAU beats Marshall for the first time, clinches bowl eligibility

Florida Atlantic University

For the first time since 2008, it appears Florida Atlantic will not end its season in late November.

The Owls can all but book their reservations for a bowl game after a 30-25 victory against Marshall on Friday at FAU Stadium. They now have the required six wins to play in the postseason. They were once again led by running back Devin “Motor” Singletary, who rushed for 208 yards and a touchdown while catching another.

“Obviously, exciting times for these players, for our University, all of our former players,” FAU coach Lane Kiffin said. “Any time you do something that hasn’t been done before, as far as beating Marshall for the first time ever, this is about these players. It’s just been really exciting for me to work for them.”

The Owls (6-3, 5-0) have a two-game lead in the East Division standings as they continue the chase for their first Conference USA championship. The win was also their fifth straight, which ties the longest streak in school history.

After a mid-game scare, the Owls restored order behind their longshot Heisman Trophy candidate. When the Thundering Herd tied the score at 16 in the third quarter, FAU turned to Singletary. He caught a 60-yard touchdown pass from receiver Kamrin Solomon on a trick play. Quarterback Jason Driskel threw a backward pass to Solomon, who then found an open Singletary. It awakened the crowd of 15,880 that had gone silent when Marshall pulled even.

“I was real excited,” Singletary said of when the play was called. “As soon as I saw it, I knew it was a touchdown. All he had to do was throw the ball.”

After a defensive stop on the next possession, Singletary put the Owls ahead 30-16 with 10 minutes, 37 seconds left in the game. It was his nation-leading 19th rushing touchdown this season. A sophomore, Singletary also led the Owls in receiving with 72 yards.

The game started as if the Owls were headed toward another rout at home. They had won the past three games here by a combined score of 152-51. Things were no different in the early goings, with the Owls taking the opening drive 74 yards and ending it with a 2-yard touchdown run by Driskel.

After a Jalen Young interception on Marshall’s first possession, the Owls needed little time to take advantage. On the first play, receiver Willie Wright took a handoff and raced 19 yards for a touchdown to put FAU ahead 13-0.

The Owls were in position to break it open when they were driving midway through the second quarter when they faced a fourth-and-3 at the Marshall 45, but an incomplete pass stopped the drive. The play seemed to shift momentum.

The Thundering Herd then drove 44 yards in eight plays to get their first points on a 28-yard field goal by Kaare Vedvik. A field goal by Greg Joseph made it 16-3 at halftime but the swing was already in effect.

Marshall opened the second with an impressive seven-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a 5-yard touchdown pass from Chase Litton to Ryan Yurachek. The Thundering Herd then hit the Owls with a little trickery when Vedvik recovered his onside kick.

Marshall turned the extra possession into a one-yard touchdown run by running back Keion Davis that tied the score at 16 before FAU regained control.Trailing by seven, Marshall got the ball back with 3:14 remaining but Young intercepted Litton for a third time, which tied the single-game school record.

“I felt like in a zone this game,” Young said. “I felt like I was totally locked in. This game meant a lot to FAU.”

The Owls can now turn their attention toward the final stretch. They play at Louisiana Tech, are home against Florida International and finish on the road at Charlotte. With those three teams having a combined record of 10-13, the Owls are in prime position to having the most successful season in school history. The Owls’ best record since joining Division I-A was 9-3 in 2004.

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