Staff Predictions: FAU needs a win over UMass to finish perfect at home in Willie Taggart’s first season

FAU defeated FIU 38-19 in last weeks Shula Bowl.


Photo by Alex Liscio

FAU (4-1, 4-1 C-USA) will play its final home game of the season today against non-conference opponent UMass (0-2). This will be the first-ever matchup between the two programs.

With the win, first-year head coach Willie Taggart would complete a perfect home record in his first season at the helm.

The University Press Sports Staff is back again with their predictions after going 4-0 in FAU’s win over FIU. Once again, no one guessed the correct score last week. This week, Features Editor Colby Guy will be the guest picker.

Jensen Jennings | Sports Editor (5-0)

FAU seems to have finally found the answer at quarterback. Redshirt freshman Javion Posey took over for Nick Tronti in the fourth quarter of the Western Kentucky game and hasn’t looked back.

Last week against FIU, Posey broke the school record for rushing yards by a quarterback with 182 yards on 18 carries and one touchdown. He also completed 10-16 passes for 80 yards and two touchdowns.

UMass has struggled on both sides of the ball this year. In their two games this season, the Minutemen are averaging just five points on offense and have allowed 46 points per game to their opponents.

Look for FAU to score early and often in this one. This should be a game where we see the Owls eclipse the 40 point total. The defense should also have a field day against a struggling UMass offense.

Prediction: FAU 45, UMass 6 

Trey Avant | Staff Writer (5-0)

UMass has struggled immensely on offense. They have scored 10 points in their only two games and are averaging 114.5 yards per game through the air and 76 yards per game on the ground.

For a ground game that garners 2.5 yards per carry, expect UMass to lean on quarterback Will Koch for offensive production. Koch has thrown for 99 yards and a touchdown with a 66.7% completion percentage in two games.

Last season, UMass allowed more yards and points than any team in the country. This season, they have given up 92 points in two games.

The good news for the Minutemen is that FAU has not been very good on the offensive side of the ball. The bad news is that the Owls may have found a spark in Posey. 

While FAU struggled to pass the ball, running back Malcolm Davidson continues to be the focal point of the offense. Last week, he rushed for 88 yards and a touchdown on nine attempts. This season, he is averaging 8.1 yards per carry.

The defense for FAU will feast on UMass. The Owls field a top-five scoring defense, giving up only 13 points per game. Linebacker Leighton McCarthy and defensive end Jaylen Joyner will collapse the pocket early giving FAU’s offense plenty of time to run up the score.

Prediction: FAU 41, UMass 3

Bryce Totz | Staff Writer (5-0)

The Owls will look to keep the momentum this week as they return home to play UMass.

FAU has been dominant on defense all season, as they have allowed 13 points per game. The defense will look to take advantage of a team that has scored just 10 points over two games this season. UMass lost both of its games this season by 41 points. 

FAU not only has a home-field advantage, but they have more experience too. The Owls have played five games, while the Minutemen have only played two. 

Posey will look to repeat his performance from last week, as UMass is allowing 46 points per game. The offense has established the run over the last two weeks, something they might rely on again Friday night. 

Look for Posey to start again, as a dual-threat quarterback, it will be hard for UMass to stop him. Last week, Posey broke FAU’s single-game rushing record for a quarterback in the first half. 

FAU will take a large lead and may put backups in towards the end of the game to keep their starters healthy. The Owls’ defense will shutout UMass.

Prediction: FAU 35, UMass 0

Guest Picker Colby Guy | Features Editor (5-0)

After a breakout performance by Posey against FIU, the Owls are in a prime position to keep their momentum against UMass.

The Minutemen come into the game at 0-2 and lost both of their games by 41 points, which include a 51-10 loss to No. 16 Marshall and a 41-0 loss to Georgia Southern. With FAU in a groove, the Owls should dispatch UMass fairly easily.

FAU’s defense will handle the UMass offense, as the unit went ten quarters without allowing a touchdown before last week’s game against FIU. The Owls should allow no more than six points against an offense that has been stale all season.

With Posey in at quarterback, the Owls offense has caught up to the production of the defense and FAU should blow the Minutemen out.

Posey broke FAU’s record for most rushing yards for a quarterback with 182, and with the way UMass has started its season, he could break it again this week if Taggart doesn’t opt to give Tronti some reps if the score gets out of hand.

Final Score: FAU 41, UMass 3 

For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet the staff: Jensen Jennings (@Jensen_Jennings), Trey Avant (@TreyAvant3), Bryce Totz (@brycetotz), Colby Guy (@thatguycolbs).