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Shula shame

The Shula Trophy is going back to Miami where it will stay for the foreseeable future after FIU defeated FAU 34-24 in the Shula Bowl at FAU Stadium on Friday.

Originally published on 11/17/2012

by Alyssa Barbieri

BOCA RATON – Florida Atlantic coach Carl Pelini’s first Shula Bowl had the same result as former Owls coach Howard Schnellenberger’s last one did, with FAU losing to FIU.

FAU dropped its second consecutive Shula Bowl—which is likely the last for a while due to FIU's move to Conference USA in 2013—in a 34-24 loss to the Panthers on Friday night at FAU Stadium.

Pelini wasn't worried about the future of the rivalry but rather the missed opportunities and uncharacteristic play of his team.

"I just thought that we played, in a lot of ways, we played outside of who we are,” Pelini said. “We did things tonight that were uncharacteristic of who we’ve been in the last four or five weeks. We didn’t look like a very disciplined football team.”

The ground game was nonexistent. FAU netted -11 yards at halftime and -12 yards by game's end. The passing game was the only offense the Owls managed to muster.

“We felt like we could run the ball and it was important for us to be able to run the ball in order to get our passing game going,” Pelini said. “They were more physical than we were up front and I just didn’t think we executed the game very well.”

But despite the early offensive woes, FAU (3-8, 2-5 Sun Belt) only trailed by four heading into the second half.

Following a roughly 30-minute lightning delay in the opening minutes of the third quarter, the second half turned into a shoot-out between the two squads in the third and fourth quarter. Despite FAU’s ineffectiveness running the football, they found strength in their passing game.

“I think the passing game, in between our mistakes, was effective enough to keep the chains moving for the most part,” said Wilbert, who had two touchdowns and a career-high 403 yards passing on the night. “We just tried to stick with that because it was working and it just wasn’t enough.”

Wilbert had a career day, setting personal records for completions (28), attempts (51) and a career-long touchdown pass of 60 yards to walk-on wide receiver Jenson Stoshak in the third quarter.

But Wilbert was more concerned about the play of the offense as a whole than personal accolades.

"Offensively we didn’t execute well at all. Pretty much the whole game,” he said. “We weren’t running the ball well. I had a lot of missed throws I’m going to be thinking about all night. It’s just frustrating. We didn’t put our best game together at all.”

After the Owls took a 17-14 lead off a Jonathan Wallace 1-yard touchdown run, FIU’s Richard Leonard responded with a 100-yard kickoff return, the longest play of any kind ever against FAU. The second longest also came in the Shula Bowl back in 2011 when T.Y. Hilton took a punt back 97 yards for the score.

“I thought really the play that really broke our backs was that kickoff return,” Pelini said. “That’s got to be fixed. As much time as we spend on special teams that should never happen.”

FAU’s defense had similar struggles in trying to contain FIU quarterback Jake Medlock as he used both his arm and his legs to make plays.

Linebacker David Hinds, who recovered a muffed punt by FIU (3-8, 2-5) in the second quarter, said it all came down to lack of execution.
“I feel like we had a good game-plan on containing him,” Hinds said, “We just didn’t get the job done.”

FAU has two weeks to prepare for the final game of the 2012 season when it faces Louisiana-Lafayette on Dec. 1.

"“These next two weeks will be a test to their endurance and their character." Pelini said. "(We are) not going out that way. I thought we’ve come too far as a football team to put out another display like that.”

GameBrowser: FIU 34, FAU 24

After FIU scored a touchdown on a 1-yard run by Kedrick Rhodes to take a 34-24 lead with 10:45 remaining in the game, the Owls desperately needed to answer and looked like they were going to do just that. On first down with the ball on the FAU 35-yard line, quarterback Graham Wilbert hit wide receiver William Dukes on a post pattern for a 43-yard gain to the FIU 22. Two plays later, however, Wilbert's pass was picked off by Panthers senior safety Johnathan Crypien near the goal-line ending the Owls' drive and chance to rally.

Trending Topics

  • It was uncharacteristic of FAU to do such a poor job of tackling. FIU ball carriers gained plenty of yards after contact to get free into the secondary.
  • FIU didn't look like a team that had only won two games and went for the kill when it sensed it had FAU on the ropes.
  • The Owls had a short week to prepare for the game. FIU was off last week and had extra time to get ready for the game and it showed.
  • Thanks to a weather delay and sloppy play, the last Shula Bowl for the foreseeable future was a dud.

Key Stats
(-12): Rushing yards by FAU, tied for the third worst in school history with games vs. Troy in 2004 and UConn in 2002 and trailed the -15 yards FAU had vs. James Madison in 2002 and their -36 yard performance vs. USF the same season.

2: FAU players with more than 100 yards. William Dukes had 116 yards on six catches and Jenson Stoshack had 108 yards on five catches. It was the first time since Chris Bonner (139) and Corez Gent (108) did against FIU in 2008.

250: Consecutive attempts without an interception by Graham Wilbert before he was picked off in the fourth quarter.

8: Number of victories for FAU in 11 games vs. FIU in the Shula Bowl. FIU won the final two games of the series and vacated its 2005 victory vs. the Owls due to NCAA sanctions



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Breakdown Box

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> Pelini Press Conference


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>  By The Numbers: Official Boxscore

> Photo Gallery: Pre-game Tailgating

 Re-Tweet Replay

  • FIU won the toss and has elected to defer. #FAU will receive the ball to start the Shula Bowl #OwlNation
  • Sean Kelly with a 64-yard punt to pin FIU on its own 1-yard line. #FAU 0, FIU 0, 1st
  • FIU drives 99 yards to score on a 38-yard TD pass from Medlock to Wright. FIU 7, #FAU 0, 1st, 8:43
  • END 1ST; FIU 7, #FAU 0
  • Wilbert connects with McKinney for 36-yard gain. Owls in the redzone for the first time today. FIU 7, #FAU 0, 2nd
  • Three plays later Wilbert hits Dorvilus for 17-yard TD. #FAU 7, FIU 7, 2nd, 9:56
  • Rupert Bryan with a 5-yard TD run. FIU 14, #FAU 7, 5:39, 2nd
  • That TD by the Panthers was a lateral to Bryan, the FIU right tackle. Interesting play. Wasn't pretty, but worked and had #FAU fooled.
  • David Hinds recovers an FIU muffed punt. Owls have the ball at their own 33. FIU 14, #FAU 7, 2nd
  • Mitch Anderson connects on a 37-yard FG. #FIU 14, #FAU 10, 2nd, 0:48
  • END 1ST HALF; #FIU 14, #FAU 10
  • FAU has minus-11 yards rushing. The program low is minus-36 vs. USF in 2002
  • Second half is underway. #FIU starts on their own 24. #FIU 14, #FAU 10
  • #FAU defense forces a 3-and-out. Owls' first possession will begin on their own 36-yard line. #FIU 14, #FAU 10, 3rd, 13:24
  • This will not be well-received by those in attendance at The Shula Bowl, but from the press box it looks like it has started raining hard
  • Shula Bowl is being suspended due to lightning. #FIU 14 #FAU 10 , 3rd 12:17
  • Game should resume around 10:30 p.m. #FIU 14, #FAU 10
  • #FAU Football: Players will be heading back to the field in about 5 minutes. Will have a 10-minute warm-up before game resumes
  • Shula Bowl has resumed. #FAU punts and #FIU will start from its own 27-yard line. #FIU 14, #FAU 10, 3rd, 11:52
  • Wilbert hits Dukes for a 47-yard pass. Owls on #FIU's 19-yard line. #FIU 14, #FAU 10, 3rd
  • Looks like plenty of people at the Shula Bowl have headed home after the lightning delay of approximately 30 minutes.
  • Jonathan Wallace puts the Owls ahead with a 1-yard TD run. #FAU 17, #FIU 14, 3rd, 6:43
  • Richard Leonard with a 100-yard kickoff return. It's the longest play of any kind against the Owls. #FIU 20, #FAU 17, 3rd, 6:30
  • Shula Bowl will obviously run over its ESPNU TV block, scheduled to end at 11 p.m. Could impact the North Carolina-LBSU basketball game
  • The FIU 100-yard kickoff return by Leonard was longest play vs. FAU. 2nd longest was TY Hilton's 97-yard punt return in 2011 Shula Bowl.
  • Medlock hits Wayne Times for 15-yard TD. #FIU 27, #FAU 17, 3rd, 0:39
  • END 3RD; #FIU 27, #FAU 17
  • Wilbert hits Jenson Stoshak for a 60-yard TD, a career-long TD pass for Wilbert. #FIU 27, #FAU 24, 13:38, 4th
  • Kedrick Rhodes with a 1-yard TD run to put #FIU up by 10 once again. #FIU 34, #FAU 24, 10:45, 4th
  • Wilbert is picked off by Johnathan Cyprien. That's Wilbert's first interception in his last 250 pass attempts. #FIU 34, #FAU 24, 4th
  • Jack Griffin's 36-yard FG attempt is blocked. #FIU 34, #FAU 24, 3:18, 4th
  • Anderson's 45-yard FG attempt is wide right. #FIU 34, #FAU 24, 1:04, 4th
  • FINAL: #FIU 34, #FAU 24; Owls lose second consecutive Shula Bowl
  • #FIU 34, #FAU 24: Announced attendance of 15,405 for what could be final Shula Bowl for some time.
  • #FIU 34, #FAU 24: Owls finished with (minus-12) yards rushing. Wilbert has 403 yards passing and was 28-51-1 with 2 TDs


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