Owls race past UTSA Roadrunners 40-26

Harrison Bryant led the way with 182 yards receiving.


In his first game back since the first week of the season against Ohio State, running back BJ Emmons carried the ball 10 times rushing for 53 yards and two touchdowns. Photo courtesy of FAU Athletics.

John DeStefano, Contributing Writer

The FAU Owls took care of business Saturday night by taking down the UTSA Roadrunners, 40-26.  

The victory, along with Marshall losing 26-15 to Charlotte, puts FAU (8-3, 6-1 C-USA) one win away from an East Division crown and a spot in the Conference USA Championship game on Dec 7. 

Louisiana Tech’s 20-14 loss at UAB means the Owls can possibly earn home field advantage for the championship with a win next week against Southern Mississippi.

On Saturday, Harrison Bryant hauled in 10 passes for 182 yards, including a memorable 26 yard catch-and-run where he broke no less than four tackles en route to a first down. 

Bryant, recently named a Mackey Award semi-finalist, entered the game leading all collegiate tight ends in receptions (48) and receiving yards (708). He added handsomely to those totals and extended his margins over Washington’s Hunter Bryant. 

FAU junior RB BJ Emmons returned for his first game since breaking his ankle in Week 1 against Ohio State and formed a dynamic three-headed rushing attack with redshirt junior James Charles and freshman Malcolm Davidson.

Emmons showed his patience and his burst — and twice found the endzone with touchdown runs of 32 and 5-yards. He showed no signs of slowing during his 10 carries for 53 yards and looks to be in top form post-injury.

James only carried the ball 9 times but did so averaging seven yards per touch, gashing the Roadrunner defense at every turn. He finished the game as the Owls’ leading rusher with 63 yards and continues to prove he is deserving of his increased playing time.

Malcolm Davidson also performed well in a limited role, making all seven of his carries count by adding 53 rushing yards and a score. 

The ground attack kept UTSA’s defense on the field, and opened up wide passing lanes for the passing game led by redshirt sophomore QB Chris Robison.

Every time a big catch was needed, Robison and the Owls offense leaned on Bryant, including a 3-yard connection in the first half for Robison’s lone passing TD.

Robison was effective once again and compiled 336 yards on 27-41 passing. He now boasts 19 TDs against just four interceptions. 

Taking care of the football remains head coach Lane Kiffin’s main priority on offense, and Robison once again showed his growth from his freshman year, where he threw as many touchdowns (12) as interceptions.

But, even with the big win, it was not all smiles for the Owls. The defense allowed 26 points and over 400 yards total against a UTSA offense ranked 275th in the nation in scoring.

Redshirt senior Meiko Dotson made a fine interception early in the fourth quarter, but fumbled the ball into the pylon as he stretched towards the goal line after a 40-yard return. The play resulted in a touchback and possession went back to the Roadrunners. 

UTSA wide receivers Carlos Strickland II and Zakhari Franklin were standouts in the defeat, with each recording a touchdown with an athletic grab.

With the biggest game of the season coming up, FAU will have no time to dwell on this victory. A win next weekend in Boca Raton would guarantee them the highest conference winning percentage and allow them to host the Conference USA Championship game on Dec. 7.

The Owls will have their season on the line on Saturday, Nov. 30 against Southern Mississippi at FAU Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.

John DeStefano is a contributing writer for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @Johns_voice.