FAU Football: Owls host their first conference game of the season against rival FIU

This game marks the 20th annual Shula Bowl between FAU and FIU.


Photo courtesy of FAU Athletics.

Trey Avant, Staff Writer

The FAU Owls (2-2) hope to bounce back from a disappointing performance last week with a home matchup against their heated rival, the FIU Panthers (1-3). This is the first conference game of the season for both teams.

FAU lost 31-7 last week in embarrassing fashion at Air Force. Head coach Willie Taggart said, “We didn’t play with the same physicality that [Air Force] played with, and when you don’t do that against an option team, you’re going to struggle.” 

The Owls gave up 446 rushing yards as Air Force’s triple-option offense gave them fits the entire game. FAU has struggled to contain the run this season and they will not be in for an easy matchup going up against senior running back D’vonte Price. Price has 377 rushing yards and five touchdowns on 60 carries.

“I think you have an athletic football team on both sides of the ball. They have guys that can run upfront, they are big on offense, but they’re very athletic and can run, so we got to try to play to our strengths and what we’re doing,” Taggart said in regards to FIU. “On their offense, they have a really good running back we know all about [from last year] and I think their quarterback is playing well now and he’s doing a good job pushing the ball down the field.”

The good news for the Owls is that FIU lost its last three games and has struggled defensively. The Panthers have conceded 291 passing yards per game on a 61.6% completion percentage and 161.5 rushing yards per game with 4.1 yards per carry.

FIU has a solid quarterback in senior Max Bortenschlager, who has 1,105 passing yards and eight touchdowns to just three interceptions this season, but FAU ranks seventh nationally in passing yards allowed.

Even though graduate quarterback N’Kosi Perry struggled to get anything going last week, he has played well this season and he has a great opportunity to return to form against an FIU defense that struggles against the pass. 

For FAU to win this game, they need to slow down Price and force FIU to throw into their tough pass defense. From there, Perry can do just enough to get FAU the victory.

On the other hand, FIU needs to get Price going early. That will force more defenders into the box, which will leave Bortenschlager with more room to pick apart FAU’s defense.

The Owls will host FIU in FAU Stadium at Howard Schnellenberger Field on Saturday, Oct. 2. The game will be broadcast at 3:30 p.m on Stadium.

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