Saturday, October 31, 2020

Trick Or Treat

 BY SCOTT MORGANROTH 

I’ve been covering sports for 40 years and today I discovered a first.

This can only happen in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The FAU Owls (1-1) played host to the UTSA Roadrunners (4-3) and considering the contest is being played on Halloween, the famous words, “Trick or Treat” brought on an entirely new meaning.

UTSA has played five more games than FAU at this stage of the 2020 Season. This is totally unheard of. But as I mentioned welcome to 2020.

Because of COVID-19 the only question I wondered was what to expect out of the Owls?

FAU won its season opener with a 21-17 triumph over Charlotte on October 3rd.

The Owls played again on October 24 as they lost to Marshall 20-9 in Huntington, WV.

Judging by the first quarter, FAU looked good as the Owls jumped out to a 10-0 lead. 

QB Nick Tronti was 6-9 for 63 yards and had a touchdown pass. 

RB Malcolm Davidson had eight carries for 65 yards, one of those was a 28-yard run. FAU dominated time of possession 10:16-4:44.

FAU put together a late first half drive that was highlighted by a 36-yard pass from Tronti to TJ Chase where the receiver went high and hauled in the reception. Tronti proceeded to score from two yards out. FAU led 17-3. 

UTSA’s lone points came from a 49-yard field goal by Hunter Duplessis.

There would be some rain in the second half as the field started to get slippery.

The Owls added a late score with 2:35 left in the game and came away with a 24-3 win.

FAU’s defense recorded seven sacks and limited UTSA to 230 total yards. FAU improved it’s overall record to 2-1 while UTSA dropped to 4-4. 

The Owls offense was balanced. The running game produced 196 yards while they gained 136 in the air leading to 332 total yards. Davidson finished with 115 yards on the ground. His longest gain of the afternoon was 30 yards.

When the contest was over, Coach Willie Taggart was pleased that his defense did an excellent job keeping UTSA out of the end zone.

“This was a great win for us and I’m excited about the way our defense played,” he said. Our defense played lights out. Our offense just has to catch up. This was a much needed win for us.”

I asked Taggart about the game differential between his squad and his opponent. He said, “They knew more about their team than we did. It was great to play back to back games. For us, it’s important to learn about our team and we made improvement from the Marshall game.

“We have to be smart, mask-up and continue to play well. We’ll continue to get better as the season goes on getting the kinks out. What we learned today was we have a good defense, we’re not consistent on offense and we can run the football. We have a chance to be real good, but there is a lot of work has to be done.”

Taggart was extremely pleased with the performance of Davidson.

“He was running hard and did a great job,” Taggart said. “He showed what he’s capable of doing. I was hoping that he would get 20 carries. He’s a quiet guy and we need him to be the back that we know he can be.”

It’s hard to believe that this weird, wondrous and whatever season will have FAU play their home Finale, on Saturday, November 7 at 6 ET. It’s still crazy to think that this will be FAU’s fourth game of the season. 

But on this Halloween Day, FAU didn’t get tricked by losing another football game as a result of a postponement.

Instead, it was a treat to play a winning football game and learn a little more about the squad.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at southfloridatribune@gmail.com.

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