FAU linebacker Randell Johnson, right, who started vs. Michigan State, and defensive end Cory Henry walk off the field after Sunday's practice. (FAUOwlAccess.com photo)
FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger apologizes to team for ‘not giving them the opportunity to win the game’ by kicking a late field goal instead of going for a touchdown late in Saturday’s 30-17 loss to Michigan State.
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BOCA RATON – Florida Atlantic coach Howard Schnellenberger apologized Sunday for his decision to kick a field goal with the Owls trailing by two touchdowns late in Saturday’s 30-17 loss to Michigan State in Detroit.
“I met with my staff and with my team today and talked to them about the last five minutes of the game,” Schnellenberger said after Sunday’s practice. “I apologized to them for not giving them the opportunity to win the game which is the responsibility as the head coach. I think it was important that I had to do that. It was needed because I was wrong in what I did.”
Schnellenberger was criticized after he opted to kick a 24-yard field goal with 2:50 remaining in the game with FAU trailing 30-14 instead of going for a touchdown. If the Owls had scored a touchdown and converted a two-point conversion, the Owls would have been within a touchdown and another two-point conversion of tying the game if they had successfully recovered an on-sides kick.
Schnellenberger said attempting the field goal only entered his mind after the Owls were penalized for a false start on a 4th and goal play from the 1-yard line and the ball was moved back to the 6.
“At that juncture I thought it would be better to end up with three points than going through the exercise of getting an onside kick and scoring two touchdowns,” Schnellenberger said.
Gornall made the field goal to cut the MSU lead to 30-17 and attempted a squib kick on the kickoff that MSU was able to field and run out the clock.
“We had a good meeting,” Schnellenberger said. “Everyone understands and accepted my apology and we go on from here.”
Straight Flushes: Stars of Sunday;s Toilet Bowl
3 FLUSHES: CB Keith Reaser
played in Saturday’s game with a cast on his hand and pulled double duty by playing in Sunday’s Toilet Bowl, for players who didn’t see extensive time in the game. The hand isn’t bothering Reaser who picked off a pass from QB Nick Bracewell
and ran it back for a 55-yard touchdown.
2 FLUSHES: RB Michael Barasch
channeled Alfred Morris with a long run where he bounced at least three tacklers, sending one defender’s helmet flying. FAU is loaded at running back this season, but if he keeps improving Barasch could be in the mix next season.
Fresh off his college debut QB Graham Wilbert
started the Toilet Bowl and after throwing a nice 17-yard TD pass to TE Alex Fick
, led the Owls’ offense on another drive on the next possession, earning the unit the rest of the afternoon off.