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BY J.T. WILCOX | Staff Writer

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BOCA RATON (CBSMiami) – Turnovers are usually considered the “great equalizer”.

But turnovers ended up being the great separator for Miami Friday.

Florida Atlantic lost three fumbles and Rayshawn Jenkins and Artie Burns each intercepted passes for the Hurricanes as Miami picked up a 44-20 road victory over the host Owls on Howard Schnellenberger Field at FAU Stadium in front of 30,321 fans – a stadium record and a Palm Beach County record for attendance at a single sporting event.

The Owls (0-2) racked up 389 total yards of offense and made Hurricanes fans uneasy when they tied the game at 17 late in the second quarter and evened it up again at 20 early in the third quarter.

Miami (2-0) took the lead for good on the ensuing drive, using a 52-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Brad Kaaya to Joe “Novocain” Yearby to set up a 1-yard plunge by Yearby – which put Miami ahead 27-20.

The Canes, who will host Nebraska next Saturday, then scored 24 unanswered points – punctuated by a 4-yard fourth down touchdown run by freshman Mark Walton in which he appeared to be stopped short by the Owls defense put pushed the pile into the endzone.

The Hurricanes scored 13 points off of turnovers, ended up with 526 total offensive yards and won the time of possession battle 35:12 to 24:48.

Yearby was Miami’s best offensive weapon Friday.

The former Central Rocket racked up 243 total yards from scrimmage – a game-high 146 rushing and 97 receiving – and scored two touchdowns. Walton, who led the team in rushing last week against Bethune-Cookman, added just 42 yards on 14 carries but scored three touchdowns.

After the game, Yearby said that he came into Friday game’s with a singular mindset.

“Since the offseason people having been saying that I’m too little, so I was determined this year that one man wasn’t going to be able to bring me down,” Yearby said. “I’m not surprised by the way things went for me tonight. I worked hard all week and worked on everything that I needed to work on.”

The 5-foot-9, 202-pound sophomore also showed a bit of veteran presence when asked about Walton getting carries near the goal line after he made long plays to put the team in scoring position.

“Mark and I are a one-two punch…I’m glad to have a running back like him behind me. We grew up together, played little league ball together and I always tried to take him up under my wing. He’s like my little brother…well little-big brother,” Yearby said.

Many consider the 2015-16 season a “make or break” year for Golden and the Hurricanes.

Things did look broke early as the Owls, who lost a 47-44 shootout to Tulsa in the opening week of the season, used some an up-tempo, no-huddle offense to move the ball seemingly at will on the Canes defense during the first half.

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FAU junior running back Jay Warren rushed for 132 yards and a 9-yard touchdown in the first half, sophomore running back Greg “Buddy” Howell added 50 yards and quarterback Jason Driskel – playing for injured Owls starter Jaquez Johnson, who left the game in the first quarter with an ankle injury – was 11-of-15 for 113 yards and a touchdown in the first half.

Even though Miami had its own 100-yard rusher by halftime, FAU had outgained the Hurricanes 292 to 231 and the Owls had completed 5 of 8 third downs.

Hurricanes head coach Al Golden said he warned his team about what it would face against the Owls.

“We knew what we were getting into coming up here,” Golden said. “I thought we faced a lot of adversity early on. We didn’t tackle as well as we needed to in the first half. [FAU] had 600 yards last week and scored [44] points and there were a couple of plays where we were in the wrong gaps and they made some explosive plays.”

“It took us a while to push [FAU] back but we made some corrections at halftime. We tackled better and we stopped the run better in the second half…we did a good job of limiting them after halftime,” Golden said.

The second half was much better defensively for the Canes.

Driskel only completed 6 of his 15 second half passes for 42 yards and was picked off twice. Warren finished with the same 132 rushing yards and Howell ended with 78 yards on 13 attempts.

Kaaya was solid in the second half, distributing the ball to six different receivers; with Herb Waters recording game highs in receptions (5) and receiving yards (102). Malcolm Lewis caught four passes while Yearby and Walton combined for seven receptions and 117 yards – making up the production missed from injured starters Braxton Berrios and Stacy Coley.

With the Cornhuskers coming to town, Golden knows his team still has some things to clean up.

“There’s a lot to learn from tonight,” Golden said. “We’re going to watch the film and clean up all those negative things that stand out. Right now my main concern is getting these guys back healthy and ready to go next week.”

*For the second straight week, the Hurricanes had to endure an hour-plus long weather delay. Leading 7-3 with 6:10 left in the first quarter, officials elected to suspend the game because of lightning in the area. However, unlike the weather delay last week at Sun Life Stadium where there were multiple visible lightning strikes near the stadium, Friday’s weather was much calmer.

The delay lasted 67 minutes and the officials shortened halftime to combat the added length to the game, yet the first quarter didn’t end until 10 p.m. and the final buzzer didn’t sound until after midnight.

*Miami still struggled on third downs Friday. The Canes converted just three of their 13 third down situations – continuing the troubling dynamic that began last week against Bethune-Cookman when UM only converted 3 of 11 tries.

*Sophomore linebacker Darrion Owens left the game during the first quarter with a right knee injury. The 6-foot-3, 247-pound linebacker had to be helped off the field and did not return. The initial injury did look serious. Miami Sports Radio 560 WQAM Hurricanes sideline reporter Josh Darrow reported that Owens was visibly shaken up about the injury; however Owens was seen riding a stationary bike on the sideline.

Coach Golden said his initial prognosis was positive.

“They think everything is good, we’re going to get an MRI tomorrow to check – but they think everything is good,” Golden said postgame.

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*Former University of Miami and Florida Atlantic head football coach Howard Schnellenberger was at midfield for the coin toss and was introduced as the “father of both programs” and received a loud ovation from the crowd. Schnellenberger led Miami to a national championship in 1983 and was the inaugural coach of the Owls.