Though FIU made nothing in the second quarter of FAU freshman Sean Kelly’s 15-yard shank, going three-and-out from the Owls’ 36, it did produce a minor bit of funkiness.
On fourth-and-8, FIU redshirt sophomore quarterback Jake Medlock quick-kicked for the first time this season.
Despite the efforts of senior wide receiver Wayne Times, Medlock’s punt made the end zone for a touchback.
Wesley Carroll, who was working the FIU Internet broadcast Friday night, quick-kicked five times as FIU’s starting quarterback in 2010 and 2011, dropping three of them inside the 20-yard line.
Offensive tackle Rupert Bryan’s 5-yard touchdown run was the first score in FIU history by an offensive lineman.
The only other time an offensive lineman made a positive-yardage play with the ball, four-year center Brad Serini ran 3 yards with a fumble in 2008 against Iowa.
Junior wide receiver Willis Wright’s 38-yard touchdown opened the scoring and extended Wright’s team lead in big-play touchdowns (touchdowns of 20 or more yards).
Wright has four of FIU’s 16 such scores. Tied for second with two are senior running back Darian Mallary and junior wide receiver Glenn Coleman.
Coming into this season, Wright’s only career touchdown was a 9-yard catch against FAU last season.
Friday’s touchdown meant FIU has held a lead in nine of 11 games this season and 22 of 24 games over the last two seasons. In 2011, FIU held a fourth-quarter lead in 10 of 12 games. This season, FIU led in the fourth quarter four times in the first 10 games.
Lightning halted the game for 37 minutes of real-world time with 12:17 left in the third quarter.
During the delay, the public address system whimsically went back to 1969-70, playing B.J. Thomas’ “Raindrops Are Falling on My Head” and Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Who’ll Stop the Rain?” and “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?”
This and that
• The game matched one of the most experienced teams in the nation, FIU, with one of the least in FAU. The Owls have only nine seniors, tied with Marshall and Wisconsin behind Indiana, Colorado and Rice, each of which has eight.
• Senior running back Jeremiah Harden saw the field for the first time since the Oct. 4 loss to Arkansas State. Harden came in for a second and 9 on FIU’s first possession of the second quarter. He false started.
• FAU Stadium represented the sixth different stadium to host the Shula Bowl. FIU home games have been at the first incarnation of FIU Stadium, which was razed after the 2006 season; the Orange Bowl (2007); and the current Alfonso Field at FIU Stadium. FAU home games have been at the current, 30,000-seat, multi-level luxury box stadium; Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale; and Sun Life Stadium.