Soon­ers: Later, FAU

No. 7 Soon­ers su­pe­rior across the board in rout

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Front Page - By Ja­cob Un­ruh Correspondent

Oklahoma tram­ples the Owls in opener, 63-14.

NOR­MAN, OKLA. — Florida Atlantic coach Lane Kif­fin tried to keep things light with a joke to open Satur­day’s postgame news con­fer­ence.

“Did you guys en­joy that pre­sea­son game,” Kif­fin asked. “It didn’t re­ally count, right?”

But he quickly turned se­ri­ous.

“We played as bad as you can play,” Kif­fin said.

FAU was dom­i­nated in ev­ery facet dur­ing a 63-14 drub­bing by No. 7 Oklahoma in front of 86,402 fans at Gay­lord Fam­ily – Oklahoma Memo­rial Sta­dium, a dis­ap­point­ing open­ing for a team loaded with ex­pec­ta­tions.

“We played as bad as you can play.” Lane Kif­fin, FAU head coach

With lit­tle re­sis­tance, the Owls al­lowed the Soon­ers to pile up 650 of­fen­sive yards. The Soon­ers scored on their first five of­fen­sive drives and mixed in a spe­cial teams touch­down to grab a 42-0 lead by half­time. FAU was sim­ply over­matched. “Ob­vi­ously, we didn’t score un­til the sec­ond half,” Kif­fin said. “That’s ridicu­lous. Giv­ing up 650 yards is ridicu­lous and we gave up a score on spe­cial teams. We did the tri­fecta to­day, so that’s very dis­cour­ag­ing.

“At the end of the day, we’re 0-1. We’ve just got to go back to work. It’s the same record we started with last year.”

FAU opened last sea­son 0-2 be­fore win­ning 11 of its fi­nal 12 games, in­clud­ing the Con­fer­ence USA cham­pi­onship and the Boca Ra­ton Bowl. But then it spent the bet­ter part of the past eight months build­ing up the matchup at Oklahoma.

And it got away from the Owls.

Oklahoma quar­ter­back Kyler Mur­ray was nearly per­fect in less than a half of work. He has signed to play pro­fes­sional base­ball af­ter be­ing se­lected by Oak­land in the first round. But his lone foot­ball year re­main­ing started with a 301.4 quar­ter­back rat­ing. He was

9 of 11 for 209 yards and two touch­downs. He rushed for

23 yards.

“He makes some plays, as you saw out there just run­ning around mak­ing plays with his feet,” FAU line­backer Azeez Al-Shaair said. “That’s what he does best. He made those plays. Just got to get him on the turf. We got a few chances to get him down, but he’s a slip­pery guy and moves a lot.”

Even Hol­ly­wood na­tive and Cham­i­nade-Madonna grad­u­ate Mar­quise Brown shined, catch­ing six passes for 133 yards and a touch­down. His 65-yard touch­down re­cep­tion in the sec­ond quar­ter was the third scor­ing play of at least 65 yards by Oklahoma in the half.

It was sim­ply that kind of af­ter­noon. Oklahoma had the big plays. FAU did not.

“That’s what hap­pens with teams like this,” Kif­fin said. “They can knock you out real fast. They’re like we were last year in our con­fer­ence. Once you get rolling, you can all of a sud­den look up and it’s 21-0 be­fore you know it.”

But the day started

promis­ing for FAU.

The Owls drove to Oklahoma’s 33 with new quar­ter­back Chris Ro­bi­son find­ing his way, but a penalty de­railed the drive.

Oklahoma quickly scored. FAU went nowhere on the next three plays and then punter Se­bas­tion Riella mis­han­dled the ball, lead­ing to a block, scoop and score by the Soon­ers, ig­nit­ing the rout.

“Ac­tu­ally, that’s how I thought the game would

prob­a­bly go,” Kif­fin said. “I thought how the game started would be like that, go­ing up and down the field on both sides prob­a­bly. I think a num­ber of peo­ple thought it’d be like that.

“But I didn’t think we’d per­form this poorly tack­ling-wise on de­fense.”

Now, FAU is look­ing to next week’s home opener against Air Force. The goal is to be pre­pared for con­fer­ence play.

That’s when the games re­ally do count.

“I’ve been say­ing it all week that this game is not go­ing to de­fine our de­fense, it’s not go­ing to de­fine our sea­son be­cause that’s a re­ally good team and the chances were we weren’t go­ing to beat them,” Kif­fin said. “That’s why ev­ery time I get asked I say the same thing: Our goal is to win the con­fer­ence. That’s al­ways what our goal will be.”

SUE OGROCKI/AP

Florida Atlantic run­ning back Devin “Mo­tor” Sin­gle­tary, mid­dle, goes for some tough yardage in­side against the Oklahoma de­fense on Satur­day in Nor­man, Okla.

SUE OGROCKI/AP

Oklahoma wide re­ceiver Mar­quise Brown (5) catches a pass against FAU safety James Pierre (23) in the first half Satur­day.

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