FAU Football: The Owls finish the regular season perfect at home with a 24-2 win against UMass

Willie Taggart is the first coach in school history to finish a season undefeated at FAU Stadium.


Quarterback Javion Posey rushes for a 70-yard touchdown in the third quarter of FAU’s 24-2 win over UMass. Photo by Alex Liscio.

Jensen Jennings, Sports Editor

Behind another strong showing from its defense, FAU (5-1, 4-1 C-USA) won its final home game of the season against non-conference opponent UMass (0-3). 

With the 24-2 win, the Owls will finish their home slate under first year head coach Willie Taggart with a perfect 4-0 record. 

“I haven’t lost in [FAU Stadium] yet, I love playing in this stadium,” Taggart said. “I wish we could play them all here, it’s awesome.” 

Both teams struggled to put up any points in the first half. The Owls were only able to score seven points in the half even though they managed to gain 143 yards. 

The lone score came on FAU’s first possession of the game. The Owls went on an eight play, 57-yard drive that was capped off with a one-yard touchdown run by running back BJ Emmons.

Quarterback Javion Posey struggled in the first half with his decision making, which left some points off the board for the Owls. 

“I thought [Posey’s] decision making wasn’t where we needed it to be, especially early in the game,” Taggart said. “[Posey] just has to learn to make better decisions, I think that comes with experience.” 

On the first drive of the third quarter, FAU went on a 15 play, 65-yard drive. Nick Tronti came into the game for Posey after he had his helmet ripped off earlier in the possession. Tronti threw a 13-yard pass to wide receiver Brandon Robinson to extend FAU’s lead to 14. 

“I talked to [Tronti] before the game and told him ‘make sure you’re ready’,” Taggart said. “[Tronti] said, ‘Coach, I’m always ready,’ and he showed that in the game. He went in with some juice and energy.” 

Posey would come back into the game for FAU’s second possession of the third quarter and score a touchdown on the first play of the drive. Posey kept the ball on a run-pass-option and ran 70-yards for the score to give the Owls a 21-0 lead. 

“The offensive line really just opened it up for me,” Posey said. “The rest was just on me to try to get there. That’s what I was trying to do and made it happen.”

With 1:55 remaining in the third quarter, UMass was finally able to get on the board after blocking a Matt Hayball punt out of the back of the endzone for a safety. 

FAU scored once more in the fourth quarter, when Vladimir Rivas split the uprights with a 30-yard field goal for the last points of the game. 

This game was another great performance by the FAU defense. They allowed just 147 yards, had three sacks and forced two interceptions. The two interceptions were the first turnovers by the FAU defense since the second game of the season against Marshall. 

“Turnovers are something that we emphasize, that’s something that’s a part of our defense,” Linebacker Ahman Ross said. “It’s something we try to emphasize every day in practice and it felt good seeing it happen.” 

FAU finished the game with 368 total yards (140 rushing, 228 passing) on offense. Posey was 13-27 for 203 yards and added another 90 rushing yards on 19 carries and one touchdown. Tronti was 2-2 passing for 25 yards and one touchdown. 

Wide receiver TJ Chase led the way in the receiving game with four catches for 79 yards. Running back Malcolm Davidson also had three catches for 63 yards. 

Ross led the way for the defense finishing the game with six tackles (four solo) and linebacker Chase Lasater also added six tackles (three solo). Free safety Teja Young had an interception and linebacker David Belvin III added another interception. 

The Owls have three games remaining, all of them on the road. FAU’s next game is Saturday, Nov. 28 against Middle Tennessee State. Kickoff is set for 3:30 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.