[ UH FOOTBALL ]
RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Florida Atlantic's Anthony Crissinger-Hill pulled in a pass in front of Hawaii's Leonard Peters during overtime last night.
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Even without his clutch game-tying grab, Florida Atlantic tight end Anthony Crissinger-Hill put in a career performance in the Owls' 35-28 overtime upset of Hawaii at Aloha Stadium.
FAU's all-time leading receiver in a handful of categories caught 15 passes for 183 yards, and he made it possible for the surprise outcome.
The big 31-yard TD catch deep in the middle of the end zone from Jared Allen came with 23 seconds left, tying it 28-all.
"I kept telling Coach (Howard Schnellenberger) that the middle was wide open for the first five plays (of the drive)," Crissinger-Hill said. "He finally called it and Jared found me with a great pass. I ran behind the DB (Lamar Broadway) and when he didn't get a hand on it, I noticed the path of the ball was still coming right to me and it's my job and responsibility to catch it."
All FAU needed was an extra point, and when the Owls didn't get it, it took a tiny bit of luster off Crissinger-Hill's grab. It wasn't the game-winner that it could have been.
Despite Crissinger-Hill's heroics, there are two plays that may continue to stick in his craw when he thinks back on the game.
Both plays could have put his team in better position earlier. The first one was a 2-point conversion pass attempt from Allen that fell off Crissinger-Hill's fingertips. Instead of a 21-all tie, FAU trailed 21-19.
"That 2-point mess-up really bothered me," Crissinger-Hill said. "It kind of made me want to redeem myself later. When I get frustrated about something, I play better.
Later, on a third and long deep in Hawaii territory, he caught a pass and lost 10 yards. The Owls settled for a field goal and trailed by six (28-22) instead of pulling within at least three points.
At 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, Crissinger-Hill looks and plays more like a wide receiver than his actual position of tight end.
Despite the smaller stature, Schnellenberger is well aware of Crissinger-Hill's worth to the team.
"I've said this time and time again, he's more of a player and a better tight end and worth more money than anything that tight end from the University of Miami last year (Kellen Winslow Jr., now with the Cleveland Browns) is ever going to make."
Crissinger-Hill broke his own school records for receptions and receiving yards in a game. Previously, his highs were nine catches and 160 yards.
Owls halfback Doug Parker put his team up for the first time --and for good -- in the first part of the overtime, scoring on a 7-yard run around left end.
"Everybody thought we were going to lose," said Parker, who carried the ball 19 times for 86 yards. "We showed them tonight that we're Division I players and we're going to show people that all year."
Parker and Crissinger-Hill are roommates.
"We talked about it," Parker said. "We talked about that it was going to happen (the win). We told each other that we're going to be the 1-2 punch.
"It's because of Coach Schnellenberger. He had us running in camp. We didn't want to run. But he told us that the results come later. He showed us. He's right."