FAU Football Earns Wright His First Coaching Victory
After an emotional week on campus, the Florida Atlantic University football team scored 27 unanswered points and kept its bowl game hopes alive with a 34-17 victory over Tulane on Homecoming Saturday night.
Interim Head Coach Brian Wright earned his first victory as a head coach after taking over the position on Wednesday.
FAU intercepted Tulane on four-consecutive pass attempts in the second half to keep the Green Wave at bay. D'Joun Smith racked up three of those interceptions to tie a school record and now has the most interceptions in the nation with seven on the season. Smith became the first player to intercept Tulane three times in a contest since Clinton Burrell of LSU on Nov. 22, 1975.
Quarterback Jaquez Johnson set a school record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in a season with his seventh and eighth scores on the year. Johnson threw for 107 yards and ran for 114 and two scores.
The FAU defense held Tulane to just 167 yards of offense and recorded four interceptions and two sacks. The Owls allowed only nine first downs, the third fewest by an opponent in FAU history. The defense stymied Tulane in the second half, giving up only 56 yards and three first downs.
Tulane scored on FAU's first possession of the game when Jaquez Johnson was intercepted by Lorenzo Doss who returned it 69 yards for a touchdown. Johnson would respond by leading the Owls on a nine-play, 63-yard drive, all on the ground, to tie it at seven. The sophomore quarterback teamed up with Jonathan Wallace for all 63 yards with Johnson punching it in from one yard out.
FAU fumbled on the next possession, giving the Green Wave the ball at the Owls' 25-yard line. The Owls stuffed Tulane on the five-yard line, holding them to a 22-yard field goal and a Tulane 10-7 lead at the start of the second quarter.
Tulane extended its lead to 17-7 late in the half after pinning the Owls at their own five-yard line. Orleans Darkwa rushed on four-straight plays to get into the end zone, giving the Green Wave the halftime lead.
Mitch Anderson kicked a 26-yard field goal to cap FAU's opening drive of the second half after the Owls marched 66 yards on 11 plays. From there, it was all FAU as the Owls earned 243 of its 331 yards of offense in the second half.
Smith picked off Nick Montana on Tulane's next drive, but the Owls were unable to capitalize.
The junior cornerback then intercepted Tulane's Devin Powell on the first play of its second possession of the half, returning it 11 yards to the Green Wave 20-yard line. After a penalty for holding, wide receiver Daniel McKinney threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to William Dukes to tie the game at 17.
Two plays later, FAU's Christian Milstead picked off Nick Montana and returned it 15 yards to the Tulane 28-yard line. That turnover set up Anderson for a 20-yard field goal to give the Owls the 20-17 lead.
Smith intercepted Montana again on the next Green Wave pass attempt, setting up Fortner's 24-yard touchdown rush to put the Owls up 27-17. That score marked Fortner's first touchdown since Nov. 10, 2012 against Western Kentucky.
FAU's final score came on a third-and-ten, 49-yard touchdown run by Johnson, the longest touchdown rush of his career.
The Owls' defense allotted Tulane only six yards of offense in the fourth quarter to FAU's 120.
The Owls have a bye week before traveling to face Southern Miss on Nov. 16 in Hattiesburg, Miss. Kickoff for the contest against the Golden Eagles is slated for 12:30 p.m.
· Cory Henry's 13th quarterback hurries is one away from tying the FAU career record.
· Jaquez Johnson's eighth rushing TD is the season record for rushing TDs by a quarterback.
· FAU's D'Joun Smith now leads the nation with seven interceptions this season after grabbing three picks tonight.
· Last time a player had three interceptions against Tulane - Clinton Burrell of LSU 3 on Nov. 22, 1975.
· Damian Fortner scored his first touchdown since Nov. 10, 2012 vs. Western Kentucky.