Boca Raton - BOCA RATON � Florida Atlantic's first preseason scrimmage Saturday had the opposite outcome than expected, as the veteran offense struggled against an inexperienced defense that wanted to prove itself.

Consider that accomplished, as the defense forced four turnovers and ran two interceptions back for touchdowns on its way to a 35-24 win.

"We have been grinding all camp and just came out today and tired to put on a show for everyone," said defensive back Tarvoris Hill, who returned an interception 45 yards for a score.

"The offense had some great plays and had some terrible plays. They were disjointed and didn't put many things together," coach Howard Schnellenberger said.

"The defense beat us today because we turned the ball over too many times," said quarterback Rusty Smith, who was 7-of-12 for 75 yards and one interception.

Another problem was dropped passes, something that plagued the Owls last season.

"If we drop the ball how are we supposed to be able to keep momentum and move the football? It takes the life and energy out of the offense when you drop the ball," Smith said.

Quick hits

Morris the real deal: Tailback Alfred Morris showed that his strong performance in the spring was no fluke, as ran for 73 yards on eight carries and scored on runs of 40 and 15 yards.

"I just followed my blocks and do what I do best," said Morris, a sophomore.

Making his running even more impressive was the fact Morris was running behind the blocks of tight ends, since FAU was without its No. 1 and No. 2 fullbacks.

Jamari Grant and Rob Housler took turns at the position, something Schnellenberger called the "Polecat" formation.

Worn out: Defensive lineman Dino Cox (6-3, 240) tipped a pass by Rusty Smith at the line, grabbed it out of the air, and rumbled 59 yards for a touchdown.

Asked if he had ever run a ball back for a score before, Cox said, "In my dreams."

Cox said he felt good while running, but "afterwards I was exhausted."

Pass rush plus: The defensive line helped cause most of the turnovers by putting pressure on the quarterbacks, led by end Kevin Cyrille. "We did real good today," Cyrille said.

Cyrille knocked down one of Smith's passes and had several sacks.

"That is what we have needed the last couple years," Cyrille said about the pass rush. .

"It is a real study in what happens when a defense gets pressure on the quarterback, which many times turns into interceptions and turnovers," Schnellenberger said.

Injury report: DL Andy Czupynski, who was in the starting lineup, went down with a high ankle sprain early in the scrimmage, given Jarvis Givens and Dino Cox more work.

Held out of the scrimmage were WR Chris Bonner (hamstring), WR Avery Holley (hamstring), LBs Ed Bradwell and Yourhighness Morgan (both with head injuries); FBs Willie Rose (hip) and Xavier Stinson (ribs).