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FAU’s 77-56 loss to Middle Tennessee leaves many questions

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Florida Atlantic’s long season came to an end on Saturday in Murfreesboro, Tenn. on Saturday in the most inglorious of fashions. The Owls surrendered 77 points to the Blue Raiders in a 77-56 stinker.

FAU surrendered 495 rushing yards on the day. I’Tavius Mathers and Richie James both rushed for more than 200 yards and each scored three touchdowns. James also had 120 receiving yards and a touchdown.

If there is a bright spot, it was the running of freshman back Devin Singletary, who rushed for 35 yards and three touchdowns. Sophomore quarterback Jacob Driskel threw for 291 yards and two touchdowns, but also threw three interceptions. One was returned for 20 yards and a touchdown by D.J. Sanders.

This must be an unsettling time for Owls’ Coach Charlie Partridge. Today he completed his third season at FAU and all three have ended with 3-9 records.

This is the first time FAU has endured three consecutive losing seasons.

It is not just the record, but the way it ended. Middle Tennessee is a good offense, scoring more than 40 points in nine of their 12 games. But Saturday’s fiasco is humiliating.

Saturday’s output was a full three touchdowns better than any previous game they played the entire season. He will certainly have to present a sound plan for going forward to Athletic Director Pat Chun.

If Partridge returns, he will have key players returning like Singletary, Driskel, running back Gregory Howell, Jr. and receivers like Kalib Woods in addition to others. Saturday’s game shows there are a number of defensive holes to fill.

Before looking toward next season, the Owls must identify their problems and come up with a plan to fix them. Another 3-9 season will not be acceptable to fans as well as the university.

Today’s offensive output of 56 points is the most in the Partridge era. Somehow that does not soothe the bruised psyche of the Owls’ program.

Some decisions will be made in fairly short order in the coming days.

 

Bob Sparks is President of Ramos and Sparks Group, a Tallahassee-based business and political consulting firm. During his career, he has directed media relations and managed events for professional baseball, served as chief spokesperson for the Republican Party of Florida as well as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Attorney General of Florida. After serving as Executive Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Charlie Crist, he returned to the private sector working with clients including the Republican National Committee and political candidates in Japan. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife, Sue and can be reached at Bob@ramos-sparks.com.

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