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Singletary rushes for 194 yards and two TDs as FAU crushes Old Dominion

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Florida Atlantic used a devastating rushing attack and opportunistic defense to pummel Old Dominion 58-28 and hand coach Lane Kiffin his first Conference USA victory Saturday at Foreman Field.

Devin “Motor” Singletary, the reigning Co-C-USA Offensive Player of the Week, notched his fourth straight 100-yard game before halftime and was closing in on the 200-yard mark inside of three quarters. The electrifying sophomore finished with 194 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.

On this day, though, Singletary was just one of the Owls’ potent rushing weapons on display. Quarterback Jason Driskel ran for four scores - two on runs of 39 and 35 yards - before checking out the game with the Owls up 51-21 early in the fourth quarter. And running back Gregory “Buddy” Howell had 109 yards and yet another touchdown for the Owls (3-3, 2-0) in their follow-up to last week’s 38-20 victory over Middle Tennessee.

FAU came in averaging 219.8 rushing yards; the Owls hung 453 rushing yards and eight touchdowns on the Monarchs, who seemingly had no answers no matter who lined up in the backfield.

With little need to throw, Driskel finished an efficient 13 of 22 for just 97 yards. He also threw and interception late in the first half, one of two turnovers by the Owls on the day.

In addition, in building on their 31-14 halftime lead, the Owls also showed they may not be prone to the same inability to finish games that hampered them a year ago. In 2016, FAU also dominated the first half against the Monarchs, only to give up four touchdowns in the third quarter on their way to a 42-24 loss.

Saturday, though, they kept pouring in on after the break. After the Monarchs (2-3, 0-1) closed to within 10 points early in the third quarter, the Owls responded with 20 unanswered points to put ODU away.

For the Monarchs, ODU freshman quarterback Steven Williams, who won’t turn 18 until Nov. 4, was picked off four times in a nightmarish introduction to C-USA play.

In just his second career start, Williams’ day actually began promisingly as he directed a 75-yard drive on the Monarchs’ opening possession and finished it by firing a 12-yard TD strike to tight end Melvin Vaughn.

From there, however, the combination of FAU blitzes and ballhawking covermen along with a few ill-advised deliveries repeatedly sabotaged ODU drives. Williams finished 16-of-39 passing for 163 yards and two touchdowns along with the four picks.

Vaughn, in a strong return after missing the first four games with a knee injury, had two touchdown receptions. And the struggles in the passing game obscured a brilliant performance by Monarchs running back Jeremy Cox, who ran over, around and past Owls’ defenses on his way to 202 yards and two touchdowns, including a 75-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter.

By that point, though, the Owls already had had 51 points.

The loss was Old Dominion’s third straight following setbacks to ACC foes North Carolina and Virginia Tech.

FAU’s victory evened the series record with ODU at 2-2. Interestingly, the road team has won each meeting. The Owls will have a bye week before hosting North Texas on Oct. 21.

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