BOCA RATON (AP) — Graham Wilbert threw a 39-yard pass to Byron Hankerson early in the fourth quarter and Florida Atlantic beat Wagner 7-3 on Friday night to give coach Carl Pelini a victory in his first game with the team.
Pelini, the former Nebraska defensive coordinator, replaced the retired Howard Schnellenberger.
Wilbert took over for starter Stephen Curtis at the start of the second half, and finished 10 of 13 for 126 yards, and also had six carries for 23 yards.
“They were stacking the box and we didn’t have the quarterback run game going for us so we sat down at halftime and made the decision to make the change,” Pelini said. “It makes me look like a decent coach but honestly, Graham did this.”
The Owls’ offense finished with 327 yards after managing 86 in the first half.
“Nobody ever told me this was going to be easy,” Pelini said. “I didn’t think it was going to be easy and I knew it wasn’t going to be perfect.”
Hankerson had with five catches for 93 yards, and Marlese Jackson ran for 71 yards on 20 carries.
Wagner scored on David Lopez’s 30-yard field goal in the second quarter.
Dominique Williams led Wagner in rushing with 117 yards on 24 carries. Nick Doscher was 7 of 17 for 91 yards and threw an interception.
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