By Brett Shweky/ Sports Director
Devin Singletary paved the way to a 49-14 victory for the FAU Owls Saturday night as the star-studded running back scored three touchdowns against the FIU Panthers in 17th annual Shula Bowl at Riccardo Silva Stadium on Nov. 3.
Heading into the game, the Panthers (6-3,4-1 C-USA) were a top of the Conference USA East Division with Middle Tennessee trailing by one game.
The Owls (4-5, 2-3 C-USA) even with the win are among the bottom dwellers of the division and are almost mathematically eliminated from the postseason race.
On the first drive for FAU, Singletary got his team rolling as he recovered his own fumble in the end zone for the opening score.
Singletary originally tried punching it in on a two-yard run from the goal line.
“These kids know he’s a very good running back. But to allow them to have over 400 yards rushing is very disappointing,” said head coach Butch Davis.
Safety Richard Dames was ejected from the game during the first quarter following a targeting penalty for his hit on FAU wide receiver Willie Wright.
Due to the ejection, the Panthers were forced to turn to their third-string safety Benny McCray.
Starter Olin Cushion III missed the first half of the game because of his targeting call last week against Western Kentucky.
FIU benefited from stellar field position following an Owls’ turnover on downs as wide receiver Austin Maloney hauled in an acrobatic catch to score the equalizing touchdown with 7:21 remaining in the first half.
FAU’s offense responded the next drive with Singletary finding paint turf for the second time on a four-yard run.
Heading into halftime, the Owls’ playmaking back already totaled 98 yards rushing along with his two scores.
With the Panthers looking to respond in the third quarter, wide receiver Bryce Singleton hauled in a one-handed touchdown grab to tie the game up for the Panthers.
Singleton contorted his body to extend over the FAU defender to make the potential Sportscenter top-10 play.
The sophomore concluded the matchup with five receptions for 97 yards and one touchdown.
With 4:50 remaining in the third, FAU backup quarterback De’Andre Johnson found wide receiver Jovon Durante for a 28-yard touchdown pass to push the Owls out front 21-14.
Johnson entered the game for the Owls during the second quarter and helped fuel the FAU offense.
The redshirt junior is famously known for being a part of the Netflix TV show “Last Chance U.”
The former Eastern Mississippi Community College product finished the night completing four of his six passes for 67 yards and two touchdowns.
Singletary extended the lead for the Owls as he found the end zone for the third time of the night on a seven-yard touchdown run.
The star-studded running back ended the game with 27 carries for 185 yards and three total touchdowns.
The Owls pulled away from the Panthers in the fourth with three additional touchdowns from running back Kerrith Whyte, Jr., Durante and quarterback Rafe Peavey to make the score 49-14.
Whyte, Jr. contributed 168 rushing yards and one touchdown on the ground for the Owls. FAU’s offense totaled 439 rushing yards.
Running back Anthony Jones took his first carry since suffering an injury in the unfortunate drive-by shooting earlier this year.
Jones ended his first game back with eight carries for 31 yards and zero touchdowns.
“When the incident occurred, it was an act of god for him and Mershawn [Miller] to be alive,” said Davis on Jones and Miller’s comeback. “Mershawn potentially might get a chance to play next week. For those two kids to come from where they were, it’s just an amazing thing.”
Quarterback James Morgan struggled to orchestrate scoring drives for the Panthers as he ended the game completing 18 of his 32 passes for 223 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
With the two passing touchdowns, Morgan’s 21 touchdowns on the year ties the FIU program record for most touchdown passes in a single season. Former quarterback Alex McGough initially set the record.
On the defensive side of the ball, Dorian Hall led FIU with nine total tackles, while Tyree Johnson was second on the team with eight total tackles.
Next up, for the Panthers, the team will travel to San Antonio, TX on Saturday, Nov. 10 to take on the UTSA Roadrunners.