Saturday, November 7, 2020

Winning Ugly In Paradise

 BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

Prior to the FAU vs Western Kentucky Football Game, I had an opportunity to spend time with my niece Bria outside her dorm room.

She’s a freshman and is enjoying life in Boca Raton, FL.

One of the things that I told her that when I reflect back on my college experience back in the 1980’s that I won ugly to get my degree. Working full-time made it tough to reach the highest grades, but my priority was not having to pay back student loans.

By the end of the evening, winning ugly would come into play as the FAU Owls defeated the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers 10-6. The win improved FAU’s record to 3-1 while the visitors dropped to 2-6.

Why was this game ugly?

The score was 0-0 at the half and 3-3 at the end of the third quarter.

There were 10 punts, five on each side. 

The one punt that stood out was a 70-yarder with no return by Matt Hayball. 

Coach Willie Taggart challenged him all week to make a difference and Hayball did just that as his kick changed field position for WKU and had them deep into their own territory.

If you were looking for offense, this would not be the game. 

FAU out gained WKU 273-257.

Time of possession favored the visitors 33:49-26:11. 

Taggart made a gutty call and decided to not kick a field goal on fourth down and one late in the game. FAU converted and the game winning touchdown was an 11-yard TD run by QB Javion Posey with 2:27 left in the game. 

Posey took the place of Nick Tronti, who was benched. Posey provided a spark as he had nine carries for 60 yards. His lone pass was intercepted.

Taggart has now coached four games at FAU Stadium and has won all of them.

When he was coaching at Western Kentucky in 2011, he beat the Owls 20-0 to open the new on-campus stadium. 

He’s 4-0 at FAU Stadium and will face U-Mass on Friday November 20 at 8 pm.

When I asked Taggart about Winning Ugly In Paradise, he had a fun time answering this question.

“This was a great win for the Owls,” he said. “It was a tough, hard fought game and we hung in there for four quarters. We found a way to win a tough ball game. I don’t believe in ugly wins (smiling). This is gorgeous, have to embrace it, celebrate it and get excited about it. It’s tough to win games and this was pretty.”

FAU’s win over the Hilltoppers gave the Owls a 9-3 advantage in this series. It is one of the longest series in Owls history.

FAU returns to action on Friday, November 13 as the Owls travel to FIU and face the Golden Panthers in Miami for the Shula Bowl at 7 pm.

Like FAU, FIU has been facing COVID-19 issues and has been idle the past two weeks. This contest is scheduled for 7 pm. FIU is 0-3.

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

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