Florida Atlantic, which closed as a 6.5-point favorite, had a 30-23 lead with 14 seconds remaining when Kiffin opted to concede a safety rather than risking a blocked punt deep inside the Owls' territory. He took to Twitter after the game and joked about the Owls not covering the spread with their 30-25 victory.
— Lane Kiffin (@Lane_Kiffin) November 4, 2017
A Florida Atlantic representative said earlier Saturday that the tweet was made in jest, and Kiffin confirmed to ESPN's Chris Low that it was "a joke."
"I did not know the safety changed the result of the spread until last night after I got home," Kiffin told Low. "Someone sent me the funny tweet that I was supposedly trolling everyone by taking a safety to not cover, and as a joke, I retweeted it adding the rat poison line and put a shoutout to our players for earning a well-deserved weekend off. If that's a story, it must be a slow news day. Roll Tide tonight."
The mention of rat poison in Kiffin's tweet was a reference to Alabama coach Nick Saban's past comments about media praise being like "rat poison" to his players' focus.
Kiffin told reporters after the game that a clock-management miscalculation from the coaching booth on Florida Atlantic's final possession left the Owls with a fourth down on their own 24-yard line with 14 seconds left. Owls punter Ryan Rickel ran out of the back of the end zone for a safety, and Florida Atlantic bettors went from winners to losers.
Stacey Osburn, a spokeswoman for the NCAA, said the NCAA is "aware of the tweet, but the school is in the best position to provide any comment." A Conference USA official told ESPN that it is allowing Florida Atlantic to handle the issue.
ESPN's Mitch Sherman contributed to this report.