Florida Atlantic University capped off its best season at the FBS level with a dominating bowl performance, giving first-year head coach Lane Kiffin one final positive to end his impressive debut season at FAU.
FAU came into the game as a heavy favorite, with the opening line more than three scores. The Owls started a bit slowly, missing a field goal on their first possession and only scoring seven points in the first quarter. That changed quickly, though, as the FAU offense found its rhythm from then on.
Led by quarterback Jason Driskel and running back Devin Singletary, the Owls scored touchdowns on five consecutive possessions. In a bit of a classic Lane Kiffin move, FAU went for two after its fifth touchdown, supposedly to get revenge for some trash talk from an Akron staff member.
The Owls thoroughly outclassed the Zips on both sides of the ball. Akron’s first two drives were pretty successful, as the Zips moved into field goal range on both, but it was uphill sledding after that. FAU was clearly faster and the superior team on both sides of the ball, and there was no doubt as to the result from early in the second half.
Kiffin’s Owls started out the season slowly, going 1-3 in nonconference play–including an embarrassing loss to Buffalo. After the switch to Driskel at quarterback, along with some other improvements, FAU has been unstoppable since. The Owls ran through Conference-USA play and are now on a ten-game winning streak, the longest in FBS.
Before the game, FAU signed Kiffin to a contract extension that runs for ten more years. Kiffin is known for publicity stunts and attention-grabbing moves, so this shouldn’t be too much of a shock. Nor will anyone be surprised if he leaves long before those ten years are up. Regardless, Kiffin has done numerous things this season that will have long-term positives for the FAU football program. This bowl result and the contract extension are just two of them.
As I mentioned in my preview for this bowl, both teams certainly deserved better. FAU definitely could have kept up with a tougher opponent, possibly even a decent Power 5 team. Akron, on the other hand, deserved a chance to win a bowl game, something the Zips didn’t really have against FAU.
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