Florida Atlantic put up 633 yards of offense but the story was their defense. North Texas was held scoreless in the first half. The Owl defense stifled the league’s second best offense on the way to a 27-0 lead at half.
North Texas managed just 141 to FAU’s 382 in the first half as NT put the cornerbacks on an island in an attempt to stop the run game and were burned for it.
FAU did something similar and was rewarded, thanks to the pass rush that sacked Mason Fine 5 times in the first half and 9 in the game. North Texas couldn’t throw the ball, thanks to FAU’s secondary matching up well with the NT receivers and also getting to Fine early.
There were coverage sacks and also just bad offensive line play that contributed to the terrible pressure on Fine.
Fine was able to come unstuck late to put up 367 passing yards and 1 score along with 2 INTs as he forced the ball into coverage, trying to make plays for the offense that could not move early. NT mounted a mini-comeback that was ended when FAU scored to put them up 41-17 after facing 3rd and 11.
Devin Singletary had 164 yards and 3 scores on 26 TDs. FAU pulled out some trickery early gobble up big yards but NT’s defense held them to FGs early. Still, NT’s offense could do nothing and so it did not matter very much at all.
What it means
FAU won its first ever CUSA title. Both teams were playing in their first CUSA title game after having won at least one Sun Belt title previously. FAU went 9-0 against CUSA teams. NT went 7-2, both losses coming to FAU in Boca Raton.
North Texas and FAU will both find out their bowl destinations tomorrow, but North Texas is all but a lock to go to the New Orleans Bowl on December 16th.
NT is now 9-4, 7-2 in conference.
FAU is 10-3, 9-0 in conference.