FAU Football: Owls beat WKU 10-6, behind dominant defensive performance

The Owls haven’t allowed a touchdown in nine straight total quarters.


FAU quarterback Javion Posey came into the game in the fourth quarter and still finished as the leading rusher with 60 yards and a touchdown. Photo by Alex Liscio.

Jensen Jennings, Sports Editor

FAU (3-1, 3-1 C-USA) defeated Western Kentucky (2-6, 1-3 C-USA) 10-6 on Saturday night in what was a defensive slugfest in poor weather conditions with Tropical Storm Eta bearing down on South Florida. 

Neither team scored a point until FAU kicker Vladimir Rivas kicked a 40-yard field goal with 8:51 remaining in the third quarter. 

“We knew going in it was going to be very windy,” head coach Willie Taggart said. “We had to be smart about what we tried to ask our guys to do and it was what we thought it would be. The good thing is we had some wind earlier in the week, so we were able to practice in it.” 

The Owls were dominant once again on the defensive side of the ball. The Hilltoppers didn’t score a point until the 2:57 mark of the third quarter when they made a 32-yard field goal. 

FAU hasn’t allowed a single touchdown since the third quarter against Marshall. That makes nine straight quarters in which FAU hasn’t allowed its opponent into the endzone. 

“We have a standard on defense,” senior linebacker Caliph Brice said. “We try not to give up any big plays [and] everybody runs to the football no matter where you are on the field, so that’s our mindset every single snap.” 

While the defense dominated from start to finish, the offense struggled to find a rhythm under junior quarterback Nick Tronti. He led the team to three points over the first three-quarters of the game before he was replaced by redshirt freshman Javion Posey in the fourth quarter. 

This was Posey’s first action at quarterback this season for FAU. He played in three games last season at wide receiver and caught one pass for a 23-yard touchdown in the Boca Raton Bowl from Tronti. 

“We talked about getting Javion some reps and having some plays for him,” Taggart said. “I felt like we needed a spark, and he gave us a spark this week in practice, and seeing the way his teammates responded to him meant a lot to me.” 

Posey’s first play at quarterback started off on the right foot with a 17-yard run to begin the drive. Four plays later though, Posey threw a pass into double coverage which was intercepted by WKU. 

“[Posey] didn’t let that throw affect the rest of the plays he was in there,” Taggart said. “He bounced back and made some big-time plays for us to help us win the ball game.” 

WKU capitalized on the interception as they kicked a 49-yard field goal to take a 6-3 lead with 8:09 remaining in the game. 

Led by Posey, the Owls were able to answer the Hilltopper field goal with a touchdown drive to seal the win. It was a heavy dose of runs from Posey and running backs BJ Emmons and James Charles. 

The key play on the drive was when Emmons was able to pick up a 4th and 1 at the 11-yard line to set up the go-ahead touchdown run from Posey. 

“I knew [I was going to score] once my running back James Charles sealed the block on the edge,” quarterback Javion Posey said. “He gave me a clear path to the corner of the endzone and I knew then I was going to be able to make it.” 

FAU finished the game with 273 yards (108 passing and 165 rushing). Posey was the team’s leading rusher with nine carries for 60 yards. Emmons had 14 carries for 56 yards and Charles had 10 carries for 53 yards. 

Tronti was the leading passer going 7-16 for 108 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. TJ Chase was the leading receiver with three catches for 47 yards. 

The Owls gave up 257 yards (163 passing and 94 rushing) on defense. The defense was unable to force any turnovers and only finished with one sack. Linebacker Chase Lasater and free safety Teja Young led the team in tackles with seven each. 

This is the first time since the 2007 season that FAU has started 3-1 to begin the year. 

FAU will go on the road next week to face off against its rival FIU in the annual Shula Bowl. Kickoff is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network. 

Jensen Jennings is the sports editor for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @Jensen_Jennings.