Friday, November 5, 2021

Tracking The FAU Owls Football Team

 BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

The FAU Owls have come a long way in the past four weeks.

When we covered the Shula Bowl as FAU faced rival Florida International University (FIU), the Owls were 2-2. 

The game with FIU was FAU’s first Conference USA Contest.

FAU lost to Florida and Air Force on the road and defeated Georgia Southern and Fordham at home.

What were we going to see on October 2, 2021 at FAU Stadium?

A lot of points.

The Owls led 34-21 at halftime and QB N’Kosi Perry was on his way to a big contest.

As I sat in the Press Box, a strange thing entered my mind. 

Would one team eclipse the 50 point mark in this game?

There is a history of this. 

On November 26, 2005, FIU hammered FAU 52-6 down in Miami, but the win was vacated by the Panthers.

On November 24, 2007, FAU hammered FIU in the last game ever in the Orange Bowl. I covered this game and it was a forgettable year for FIU which finished the campaign 0-11.

On November 29, 2008, I’ll never forget this game at Joe Robbie Stadium as FAU outlasted FIU 57-50 in a game that featured two future NFL Players. 

Rusty Smith was FAU’s QB and he would be drafted by the Tennessee Titans while Wide Receiver TY Hilton would eventually become an Indianapolis Colt. FAU’s win earned them a spot in the Motor City Bowl in Detroit, MI.

On November 18, 2017, FAU trounced FIU 52-24 in Boca Raton.

These two rivals have been played at four different stadiums through the years. They’ve played at Joe Robbie Stadium, FIU Stadium, Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale and FAU Stadium.

——————————————————————————————————————————On this day, it was the N’Kosi Perry Show as he was 18-21, threw for 329 yards and three touchdowns. 

Perry rushed for 16 yards and a touchdown. 

Perry’s primary target was Je’Quan Burton caught seven passes for 121 yards and one touchdown.

Running back Johnny Ford had a huge game as he rushed 16 times for 102 yards and a one touchdown, plus added two receptions for 91 yards and a touchdown.

The Owls offense obliterated FIU’s defense by amassing 704 yards and dominated time of possession 37:33-22:27 to win the Shula Bowl 58-21. 

FAU outscored FIU 24-0 in the second half.

FAU would improve to 3-2 with the win.

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How would FAU fare the following week at the Owls faced the UAB Blazers in Birmingham, AL?

Not very good as the Blazers knocked off the Owls 31-14 and dropped to 3-3 going into the bye week.

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FAU would have an opportunity to showcase itself on the CBS Sports Network on Thursday, October 21 against the Charlotte 49’ers. 

This is a place where FAU has had great success and this proved to be the case as the Owls crushed Charlotte 38-9. The Owls made the most of its opportunity on the big stage!

Perry threw for 225 yards and had three touchdown passes while Johnny Ford rushed for 92 yards and a touchdown, then caught one pass for 32 yards and another score.

The Owls defense held Charlotte scoreless for all of the second half.

The Owls have remained perfect in Charlotte at 4-0 and during the day, FAU accepted an invitation to leave Conference USA and join the larger American Athletic Conference (AAC). The American’s expansion date has not been announced.

Charlotte, UAB, North Texas, Rice, Texas-San Antonio will also be joining FAU in the AAC.

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Would the positive momentum carry over to the next week as a 4-3 FAU squad would host 6-1 UTEP on October 30, 2021?

You bet at FAU defeated the Minors 28-25 to win it’s 12th straight home game. 

The Owls took a 21-7 lead at the end of the third quarter, but withstood a 15-7 comeback by UTEP in the fourth quarter to improve to 5-3. UTEP dropped to 6-2.

The Miners out gained FAU 454-279 but that wasn’t enough to leave Boca Raton with a win.

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Tomorrow, FAU faces Marshall with a chance to become bowl eligible and win it’s 13th straight home game against a foe that will also be leaving Conference USA. The Thundering Herd will be moving to the Sun Belt Conference.

The game starts at 6 ET. 

FAU hits the road on October 13 and 20 to face Old Dominion and Western Kentucky before concluding the regular season at FAU Stadium on November 27, 2021 against Middle Tennessee.

There is no doubt that November will be an interesting month.

Speaking of expansion, while FIU will remain in Conference USA, like Marshall, Old Dominion is also heading to the Sun Belt Conference. 

There is talk about Western Kentucky and Middle Tennessee departing to the Mid American Conference.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at southfloridatribune@gmail.com and you can follow him on Twitter @TribuneSouth.

Also, to see his broadcasts, you can subscribe to South Florida Tribune You Tube Channel at no cost.

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