BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) — Andrew Conrad kicked five field goals after Gerald Green’s 18-yard first-quarter touchdown run and East Carolina cruised to a 22-7 victory over Florida Atlantic on Saturday.
The game’s lone touchdown came after Julien Davis blocked a punt by Florida Atlantic’s Logan Lupo that Jackson Barker recovered at the Owls’ 27-yard line. Green found the end zone three plays later.
“We talked about it yesterday and again this morning,” Houston said. “We’ve been close, we’ve been close, we’ve been playing better, but we hadn’t made it over the hump and put one away. It may have not been the pretty thing at times, but I’m telling you what, it was a vary decisive victory here tonight in Boca.”
Conrad kicked a 46-yard field goal to give East Carolina (2-8, 1-5 American Athletic Conference) a 10-0 lead 52 seconds into the second quarter. Michael Johnson Jr. answered with a 3-yard touchdown run to pull Florida Atlantic (4-6, 3-3) within three points. Conrad added a 47-yard field goal to put the Pirates up 13-7 at the half.
After a scoreless third quarter, Conrad was successful from 43, 46 and 40 yards out to complete the scoring.
Alex Flinn completed 18 of 30 passes for 156 yards with one interception for East Carolina. Chase Sowell had five catches for 72 yards.
Daniel Richardson completed 24 of 36 passes for 151 yards with one interception for the Owls.
“A lot of those guys have been playing since they were freshmen, and they’ve been built over a lot of tough times,” Houston said of his defense. “The one thing I said coming into the season that I knew about this team is we had a tough, physical, hard-nosed defense. That’s just the way those kids are built. You know what you’re going to get every single week. It was as good as ever tonight against a very talented team.”
East Carolina finished with 237 yards of offense, 63 more than FAU.