FAU Football: The Owls seek to win their first season opener since 2016 on Saturday against Charlotte

The Owls defeated the 49ers on the road last season 45-27.


FAU is on track to play their first game of the season Saturday against the Charlotte 49ers at home. Photo by Alex Liscio.

Trey Avant, Contributing Writer

The start of FAU’s football season has been hit with delay after delay with their first four games either being canceled or postponed. Barring any setbacks, the Owls will finally begin their season this Saturday at home against the Charlotte 49ers.

The last time these two teams faced off, FAU dominated Charlotte with a 45-27 win on the road.

Charlotte enters this game at 0-1 with their game against North Carolina being canceled and their contest against Georgia State being postponed due to positive COVID-19 tests. 

Stopping Charlotte quarterback Chris Reynolds is key for FAU, as Reynolds was one of the best quarterbacks in C-USA last season, but he is coming off an upper body injury he suffered in week one against Appalachian State.

Last season, Reynolds threw for 2,564 yards, 22 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. He can also make plays with his legs as he ran for 767 yards.

Expect FAU to focus on Charlotte’s rushing attack led by Reynolds and running back Tre Harbison III, who ran for 87 yards and a touchdown in week one. 

“We got to be able to stop the run. They [Charlotte] do a good job running the ball. They do shift and motion to try and mess with you, we got to do a great job of shutting down the run,” head coach Willie Taggart said.

FAU did lose 15 starters on both sides of the ball, so the combination of several new faces and the time off could prove problematic for the Owls.

Linebacker Leighton McCarthy and defensive back Zyon Gilbert are the only starters on defense for FAU to return from last season but players such as linebacker Ahman Ross could be a pleasant surprise not only in this game but beyond. 

With the loss of linebacker Akileis Leroy, Ross is making the transition from safety to linebacker. He had 39 tackles (25 solo) and one forced fumble last season.

The 49ers gave up 35 points in their week one loss so expect them to make the necessary adjustments in an attempt to slow down FAU’s explosive offense. 

FAU will start junior Nick Tronti at quarterback and will likely ease him into the offense, so expect the Owls to roll out a relatively conservative offense with high usage from running backs Malcolm Davidson, BJ Emmons, and Larry McCammon III who combined for 1,272 yards rushing and 22 touchdowns last season.

The game will kick off Saturday, Oct. 3 at FAU Stadium at 4 p.m. It will be broadcast on ESPNU.

Trey Avant is a contributing writer for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @TreyAvant3.