BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) — Lane Kiffin ended his first Florida Atlantic season with a flourish, with Devin Singletary running for 124 yards and three touchdowns as the Owls rolled past Akron 50-3 in the Boca Raton Bowl on Tuesday night.
Singletary finished with 32 touchdowns this season for the Owls (11-3), who ended the year on a 10-game winning streak and matched the school record for wins in a season — set during the team’s run to the Division I-AA semifinals in 2003.
Jason Driskel threw for 270 yards and two touchdowns, plus ran for two more scores for FAU.
The Owls had a massive turnaround in Kiffin’s first year and may have an even brighter future. Earlier Tuesday, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press that FAU and Kiffin have agreed to extend his contract six more years through 2027.
Kato Nelson threw for 80 yards for Akron (7-7).
The game was a perfect microcosm of FAU’s season: Once the Owls got rolling, they never stopped.
And Kiffin held nothing back.
FAU got three touchdowns on fourth-down tries, unsuccessfully tried an onside kick in the first quarter, went for a 2-point conversion in the third quarter to make it 36-3 and even tried a halfback pass in the fourth quarter with a 47-point lead. The Owls didn’t punt on their first nine possessions, getting seven touchdowns and two missed field goals out of those.
Even on the last play of the game, FAU threw a pass — a 10-yard gain, one that gave the Owls a 582-146 edge in total yards. The Owls left no doubt: Only two bowl games since 2000 had a bigger margin of victory than FAU’s 47-point romp in this one.
Both teams missed field goals on their opening drive, and after that it was all FAU. Willie Wright’s 4-yard scoring grab got the Owls on the board late in the first quarter, and Driskel went in from 3 yards out midway through the second quarter to make it 14-3. Both of those scores came on long drives — one 13 plays for 79 yards, the other 14 plays for 75 yards.
The backbreaker might have come late in the half. Getting the ball 87 yards from the end zone with 1:35 left, FAU went to the big play and took total command. Driskel and Kamrin Solomon connected for a 63-yard gain, Singletary ended up going in from 6 yards away and the Owls took a 21-3 lead into the break.
Akron: The Zips finished the season 7-0 in games where they led at halftime and 0-7 when they trailed at the break. … Akron is now 1-2 in bowl games since moving up to the FBS level, winning the 2015 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl and falling in the 2005 Motor City Bowl.
FAU: The only players with more rushing touchdowns than Singletary in the last 50 years of major college football were Barry Sanders (37 in 1988) and Montee Ball (33 in 2011). He has 43 TDs in his first two seasons, and had only two in his first three games this year — before getting 30 more in the final 11 games.
Kiffin and Akron coach Terry Bowden are, of course, the sons of football coaching legends. Monte Kiffin and Bobby Bowden were both at the game and took part in the pregame coin toss.
Kiffin got his first bowl win in three tries as a head coach, and now has been part of seven consecutive postseason wins. When he was Alabama’s offensive coordinator, the Tide won the SEC crown and two College Football Playoff games en route to the national title in 2015, then repeated as SEC champions and won the CFP semifinal last year. (He wasn’t there for Alabama’s loss to Clemson in the CFP title game.) This year, FAU won the Conference USA title game and the bowl.
Akron: Nebraska’s first game under Scott Frost will be at home against the Zips on Sept. 1.
FAU: The Owls take their 10-game winning streak into 2018, which starts Sept. 1 at Oklahoma.