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FAU rallies against North Texas, but drops 12th straight Sun Belt game


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For 72 seconds, things couldn’t have been better for Florida Atlantic University on Saturday night.

It’s those other 58 minutes and 52 seconds that were the problem.

The Owls scored two touchdowns in 72 seconds but couldn’t manage much else in losing 20-14 to visiting North Texas.

FAU dropped to 1-4 amid a litany of familiar problems, especially an offense that struggled to move the ball and was unable to hold onto it when it could. Two red-zone turnovers helped shove the Owls into a 17-0 hole it couldn’t escape in losing their 12th consecutive Sun Belt Conference game.

“It’s the same old thing,” FAU coach Carl Pelini said. “We don’t know how to win. We have to learn how to win as a football team. When the game is on the line, we couldn’t get over the hump. When the score is 0-0, we make mistakes. Over and over again — didn’t covert in the red zone, made mistakes defensively, gave up the big play. When we’re down 17-0, then we start to play until it gets close again and the pressure is on us again, and then we don’t perform.”

The Wildcat formation jump-started FAU’s offense in the third quarter, producing a 73-yard drive capped by Damian Fortner’s 11-yard run, and following a Keith Reaser interception three plays later, FAU quarterback Graham Wilbert added another 11-yard scoring run to pull within 17-14.

“It seemed like momentum had changed sides,” Reaser said. “We just didn’t finish it up.”

The ensuing defensive series was bizarre. The Mean Green (2-3) drove to the FAU 18-yard line before Zach Olen kicked a 36-yard field goal, but North Texas chose to take the points off the board after FAU was called for leaping over the line in an attempt to block the kick.

Four plays later, Olen made a 39-yarder, but again, North Texas declined the points. This time, D’Joun Smith roughed Olen. Finally, four plays and four minutes after Olen began the exhibition of his kicking prowess, his 28-yard field goal actually did stay on the scoreboard.

“It gobbled up a lot of time,” Pelini said.

read more: http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/sports/college-football/fau-rallies-against-north-texas-but-drops-12th-str/nSP5m/

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