FAU Football: Owls dominate Charlotte 38-9 for their first road victory of the season

The Owls have won each of their four visits to Charlotte.


Photo courtesy of FAU Athletics.

Bryce Totz, Staff Writer

Just hours after accepting an offer to join the American Athletic Conference (AAC), the Florida Atlantic Owls (4-3, 2-1 C-USA) defeated the University of Charlotte (4-3, 2-1 C-USA) 38-9 in Charlotte, N.C. This was the first road win for the Owls this season.

Charlotte kept the game close through the first half of the game.

The game was sloppy at first, as Charlotte missed a 44-yard field goal attempt on their opening drive and FAU fumbled the ball on the 49ers’ 20-yard line. 

“We still put the ball on the ground too much and that drove me crazy,” head coach Willie Taggart said.

Following the fumble, Charlotte had a 75-yard drive that resulted in a 23-yard field goal. 

The Owls responded with a 12-play touchdown drive to give them a 7-3 lead. Graduate quarterback N’Kosi Perry completed an eight-yard pass to graduate wide receiver T.J. Chase in the corner of the endzone.

On the next possession, Charlotte fumbled the ball and senior inside linebacker Caliph Brice recovered it. Brice went on to finish with ten tackles (seven solo) in the win).

“I try to [perform] every game,” said Brice. “This game was extra special because I had about 20 family members here.” 

FAU did not capitalize on the turnover though, as they had to punt for the first time of the night.

That punt led to Charlotte’s only touchdown. That score came on an 88-yard drive that took 7:36 and 17 plays.

In the second half, the Owls went on to score 31 unanswered points including a 1:22 touchdown drive to open the third quarter. Redshirt sophomore Johnny Ford caught a pass from Perry for 32 yards. 

Ford lost a family member earlier in the week and was questionable to play, but he decided to play to put a smile on the faces of his relatives watching.

“All of this was for them,” Ford said. “It wasn’t even for me because I wasn’t supposed to play this week.”

FAU scored again on their next drive as junior running back Malcolm Davidson carried the ball for nine yards to the endzone.

They had to punt on their next possession but quickly got the ball back as redshirt junior Korel Smith intercepted a pass from redshirt senior quarterback Chris Reynolds. 

On the ensuing possession, the Owls scored on one play. Perry threw a 30-yard pass to redshirt junior Brandon Robinson.

Perry went on to finish with 225 yards and three touchdowns on nine completions. He also led the team in carries with 10.

On Charlotte’s next possession, Reynolds threw another interception, this time to redshirt junior safety Ahman Ross. This was Ross’ first career interception and he immediately gave the ball to his mother, who was in the stands.

“[Ross] told me before the game he was going to get one,” Taggart said. “It was great to see him go get it and give it to his mom.” 

That interception led to a 27-yard field goal from redshirt junior kicker Aaron Shahriari.

The FAU defense forced a turnover on downs on the next possession, and the offense capitalized with a two-play 61-yard touchdown.

Ford ran for 60 yards on the first play and finished it with a one-yard touchdown run. He credited the offensive line with opening holes for him to be able to get into Charlotte’s secondary. He led the team in rushing yards with 92 on eight carries.

FAU plays its next game against the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) on Oct. 30 in Boca Raton. That game is scheduled for 6 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN+.

Bryce Totz is a staff writer for the University Press. For more information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected], or tweet him @brycetotz.