FAU Football: Owls torch Fordham 45-14

Head coach Willie Taggart remains undefeated at home as FAU’s coach.


Photo by Eston Parker III.

Richard Pereira, Sports Editor

The FAU Owls (2-1) took down the Fordham Rams (0-3) in convincing fashion, winning 45-14 at FAU Stadium in Howard Schnellenberger Field Saturday evening. 

With the win, FAU wins its 10th straight home game dating back to 2019 and head coach Willie Taggart remains undefeated with a record of 6-0 at home.

“I wasn’t really excited [about] how we started. We were really sloppy on offense, we missed a lot of throws that [were] out there, we had some open guys that we didn’t connect on and that really could have changed the game for them early,” Taggart said. “I was happy with how they came out the second half and found a way to play like they were supposed to play. I wouldn’t necessarily have the beginning but I was happy with the finish of our football team.”

Following two unsuccessful drives, FAU struck first with 5:13 to go in the first quarter when graduate quarterback N’Kosi Perry drove in for two yards to the endzone, giving the team their first touchdown of the game. After redshirt junior kicker Aaron Shahriari converted the extra point, FAU took a 7-0 lead.

The end of the first quarter saw FAU win both the running and passing games, having 45 rushing yards and 65 passing yards over the Rams’ 12.

Fordham, not wanting to be taken lightly early in the game, found its equalizer 3:42 into the second quarter. Senior quarterback Tim DeMorat completed a 14-yard pass to senior wide receiver Fotis Kokosioulis, who got the touchdown for the Rams. 

After a failed pass from Perry to redshirt sophomore wide receiver Je’Quan Burton, Shahriari was unable to complete a 25-yard field goal, keeping the score tied with seven minutes left in the second quarter.

The Owls bounced back with 2:28 to go thanks to sophomore running back Larry McCammon III scoring a resounding six-yard rushing touchdown, allowing the team to retake possession of the lead.

FAU continued its rhythm 3:31 into the second half, with Perry awarding freshman wide receiver LaJohntay Wester a 25-yard touchdown to give the Owls a 21-7 lead.

Redshirt sophomore defensive end Jaylen Joyner managed to get his second sack of the season with more than nine minutes left in the third, as he took down DeMorat for a loss of 11 yards. All of FAU’s total sacks have been from Joyner so far this season.

“We always emphasize getting that ball back. That’s our ball so it’s always good when we can capitalize off it,” Joyner said as he described the sack as “amazing.”

The Owls expanded its lead to 21 with 4:12 left in the third. Perry threw an excellent 17-yard pass to the endzone, where graduate wide receiver TJ Chase conveniently was to complete the touchdown. Once Perry’s day was done, he completed 27 of his 43 passes and threw for 278 yards and two touchdowns.

“We got to prepare better. I have to prepare better,” Perry said. “I can get the team behind me but it starts with me and my preparation and I feel like I have to prepare better.”

Senior cornerback Zyon Gilbert got FAU its first interception of the game less than three minutes in the fourth. Despite that, the team couldn’t take advantage as they went three-and-out. When he caught the pass, Gilbert tried to take it all the way but he stepped out of bounds before he had the chance.

“I just tried to just run as fast as I can, I tried to recover when I stumbled a little bit,” Gilbert said. “I actually did but it’s a tough one, especially when it’s coming back.”

After that, the Rams got their second touchdown due to DeMorat completing a 48-yard pass to wide receiver Dequece Carter, making the score 28-14.

FAU responded with back-to-back touchdowns, the first being a two-yard rushing touchdown from redshirt freshman Kelvin Dean Jr. at the 7:41 mark and the second resulting from a pick-six interception by redshirt sophomore safety Teja Young with 7:25 to go.

“As soon as he caught it, I told him to ‘come this way, just follow me,’” Gilbert said on Young’s pick-six. 

With 2:08 left in the game, the Owls capped off their offensive performance with Shahriari converting a 23-yard field goal to end their leading margin at 31.

Taggart said that when the team takes on Air Force next week, they have to take care of the ball and make the most of their opportunities.

“Our guys understand and they’ll work at it and know that we can’t have those things… because [playing] against Air Force offensively, you’re not going to get many possessions so we can’t turn the ball over,” Taggart said. “We can’t have those false starts, we can’t do those things, and we can’t play sloppy like we did in the first half.”

The Owls will go on the road to the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado to face Air Force on Saturday, Sept. 25 at 8 p.m. The game will be broadcast on FS2.

Richard Pereira is the Sports Editor for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @Rich26Pereira.