Owls ease to season's first victory

By Marcus Nelson

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Friday, October 07, 2005

LAFAYETTE, La. Maybe Florida Atlantic learned something after all in those tough losses against established programs this season.

After losses to Kansas, Oklahoma State, Minnesota and Louisville, the Owls earned their first victory of the season by rallying to defeat Louisiana-Lafayette 28-10 in front of 14,208 Thursday night at Cajun Field.

The Owls had hoped that going up against tough teams would pay off when they began Sun Belt Conference play.

"Obviously it looked bleak the first eight minutes," FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger said. "But thank goodness we have some very resilient players."

After trailing for most of the game, the Owls took a 14-10 lead on the first play of the fourth quarter when senior Danny Embick passed to senior tight end Darrion Porter-Isom, who first looked to the sideline for the first down before cutting upfield at the 20-yard line and beating the defenders to the end zone for his first career touchdown reception.

"This was a big win for us," Porter-Isom said. "It feels like we have something to play for now. If we would have come out and lost tonight, our season would have been over with. Now we have something to look forward to."

The Owls (1-5, 1-1 Sun Belt) widened the lead to 21-10 after a 19-yard pass by Embick to senior receiver Thomas Parker with 11 minutes remaining.

Embick added a 3-yard touchdown run to make it 28-10, and an interception by senior linebacker Shomari Earls shut the door on Louisiana-Lafayette (1-4, 0-1) as FAU earned its first conference victory in program history.

"Danny Embick was very accurate, prolific and made good judgments," Schnellenberger said. "He almost single-handedly won the game for us."

It was the best offensive showing of the season for the Owls, but early on it didn't look like it was going to be their day.

After receiving the opening kickoff, the Ragin' Cajuns drove 68 yards all on the ground to take a 7-0 lead after freshman running back Tyrell Fenroy went into the end zone from the 1-yard line just 3:11 into the game.

The Owls countered on the ensuing possession with a long drive of their own, helped by a late hit penalty call on a third-down play when Embick scrambled and was tackled 10-yards short of the first down. The Owls marched 75 yards in 14 plays in 7:14 to tie the score after Embick connected with sophomore fullback Dominick Walker on a 5-yard pass for his first career touchdown.

The Ragin' Cajuns retook the lead with 1:20 remaining in the first quarter when Sean Comiskey booted a 34-yard field goal to give Louisiana-Lafayette a 10-7 lead.

The Owls threatened to tie the score in the second quarter after the offense began to click. The Owls drove to the ULL 30-yard line but couldn't come away with any points after Daniel Kennard, who kicked a 50-yard field goal last week vs. Louisville, missed wide left on a 47-yard attempt.

After forcing the Ragin' Cajuns to a three-and-out series, the Owls took over at their 44.

A 23-yard run by DiIvory Edgecomb on first down gave the Owls a first down at the Ragin' Cajuns 33. However, the offense sputtered and Kennard trotted out for another field goal attempt. After a 5-yard penalty for 12-men on the field, Kennard's 48-yard attempt was blocked.

Kennard missed another attempt, from 35 yards, in the third quarter.