FAU receiver enjoys TD turnabout

Special to The Palm Beach Post

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Florida Atlantic wide receiver Cortez Gent made good on his playful midweek boast to quarterback Rusty Smith when he connected on a 33-yard touchdown pass to Chris Bonner on the Owls' first drive Saturday against UAB.

"Coach said we were probably going to call that play on the first drive," said Gent, whose only other pass at the college level fell incomplete. "I told Rusty early in the week, 'Unfortunately, you only threw one touchdown against Texas, so if coach would call the play and it works we'll be tied up 1-1.' "

Smith finished with three touchdown passes Saturday.

Gent, who was an option quarterback at Chiefland High School, took a pitch from Smith and headed toward the right sideline. He pulled up before reaching the line of scrimmage and lofted a pass to Bonner, who was uncovered in the end zone.

"I was just hoping it would come down and it would be inbounds," Bonner said of his lone catch of the afternoon that gave FAU a 7-0 lead. "I knew it was a touchdown right in the beginning of the play when I saw the defense bite."

Gent, a redshirt junior who entered Saturday with nine career touchdowns, scored in a more traditional way near the end of the first half on a 30-yard reception from Smith. Gent led all receivers with eight catches for 146 yards.

Positive protection

Offensive linemen Kevin Miller and David Matlock swapped positions for Saturday's game. Miller started at center in place of injured Nick Paris, who missed a second consecutive game with a foot injury. Matlock, who started at center last week at Texas, moved to right guard.

The Owls have yet to allow a sack of Smith this season.

Cramped style

Cornerback Corey Small had to be carted to the locker room shortly before the end of the third quarter with cramps. He was able to return for UAB's final two drives of the game.

Smith said he also suffered from cramps for the first time he could remember. Trainers helped Smith stretch and gave him fluid on the sidelines. He did not miss any action