Lane Kiffin made a lot of bettors unhappy on Friday night and then joked about it on Twitter.
You see, Kiffin’s Florida Atlantic Owls were 6.5-point favorites Friday night at home against Marshall. FAU held a 30-23 lead in the final minutes, but took a late intentional safety while attempting to run the clock out to ensure victory.
That safety was devastating for anybody who bet on FAU to cover the spread, but Kiffin was more worried about securing a victory rather than appeasing those who bet on his team.
— Lane Kiffin (@Lane_Kiffin) November 4, 2017
A tweet like that didn’t sit too well with many in Vegas and led some to wonder whether the spread was actually on Kiffin’s mind late in the game.
Well, it wasn’t.
No matter how it looks, taking the safety was the right decision.
After Marshall QB Chase Litton threw an interception, FAU regained possession with 2:14 to go with a 30-23 lead. Marshall had no timeouts, so with one first down, FAU would win the game by seven points, cashing in the bet in for those who picked FAU to cover the 6.5-point spread.
But it didn’t go that way. For some reason, Kiffin and his staff thought they could just take a knee three times to run out the clock. Instead, FAU was forced to call timeout with 14 seconds left. Kiffin then brought out his punt team and instructed Owls punter Ryan Rickel not to kick the ball.
Instead of risking a punt block or a big punt return, Kiffin smartly told Rickel to take as much time as he could off the clock before running out of the back of the end zone for a safety.
That safety made the score 30-25 in favor of FAU and swung the bet back in favor of those who bet on Marshall. After the safety, FAU kicked back to Marshall with eight seconds left. Marshall tried a bunch of laterals after receiving the kick but couldn’t break free as time expired and sealed the win for Florida Atlantic.
The win was FAU’s fifth straight and clinched bowl eligibility. FAU is 6-3 overall and a perfect 5-0 in Conference USA play.
With three regular season games and a bowl game remaining, FAU has a chance to break a program record for single-season wins in Kiffin’s first year. FAU’s best record was 8-5 in 2007 under Howard Schnellenberger. That season marked the program’s first bowl appearance and bowl win, plus its first conference championship (FAU was the Sun Belt co-champ with Troy). The only other bowl appearance was the following year, when the Owls beat Central Michigan in the Motor City Bowl.
– – – – – – –