FAU Football: Late comeback attempt falls short as Owls lose 30-16 at Old Dominion

FAU has now lost two straight games.


Photo courtesy of FAU Athletics.

Trey Avant, Staff Writer

The FAU Owls (5-5 overall, 3-3 C-USA) lost 30-16 in disappointing fashion to the Old Dominion Monarchs (4-6 overall, 3-3 C-USA). FAU has lost two straight games and are now 1-4 on the road. 

The loss effectively ended any chance FAU would have had at securing a spot in the C-USA championship game. ODU is now on a three-game winning streak after starting the season 1-6.

“It’s very frustrating when things aren’t going right and you want to play well, you want to be in rhythm in what you’re doing and give your kids a chance to at least execute and make plays,” head coach Willie Taggart said. “It’s frustrating all over when you don’t play well, don’t coach well, and we just got to be better all over. It all starts with me and making sure we get better.”

The majority of the game was a defensive standstill with both teams committing costly turnovers and penalties. FAU lost three fumbles during the game and committed 12 penalties, losing 104 yards. ODU had three fumbles and lost two of them.

“It starts with the penalties first and foremost. We had some good things going and penalties either stalled the drive or continued the drive on defense and that hurts in a ball game,” Taggart said.

The mistakes for FAU piled up quickly as they gave up two safeties in the first half. The first was a sack from ODU junior defensive end Marcus Haynes. The second was an intentional grounding penalty called on graduate quarterback N’Kosi Perry, who was in his own endzone.

The Owls struggled to move the ball through the air with Perry completing 57.1% of his passes for 187 yards and a touchdown. Freshman wide receiver LaJohntay Wester was the most active receiver for FAU with three catches for 45 yards.

“We got to score more than 16 points,” Taggart said. “It’s hard to win when you can’t score more than 16 points in a game. I don’t care who you are, we got to find a way to score more points in ball games. If we can do that, we’ll have a good football team.”

Sophomore running back Johnny Ford had another impressive performance with a 101-yard, one-touchdown game. His performance marks the second straight game he has rushed for over 100 yards. He also recorded three receptions for 44 yards.

ODU sophomore running back Blake Watson gashed FAU for 163 rushing yards and a touchdown while averaging 7.1 yards per carry. He has now run for over 100 yards in five consecutive games.

FAU’s defense was able to contain Watson relatively well in the first half but in the second half, ODU’s head coach Ricky Rahne did a good job getting Watson out in space more often and that opened up ODU’s offense, which ODU’s freshman quarterback Hayden Wolff took full advantage of.

Wolff threw for 289 yards and one touchdown and sophomore wide receiver Ali Jennings III led all receivers with four catches for 99 yards. 

One week after giving up a touchdown on the opening kickoff, the special teams unit for FAU turned in another disastrous performance with Wester muffing a punt in the first quarter that was recovered by ODU and having an extra point attempt blocked and returned for two points in the fourth quarter that would have cut ODU’s lead down to three.

FAU can still clinch bowl eligibility with one more win but the team would likely have to win their remaining two games to secure a bowl game berth.

The Owls will travel to Bowling Green, Ky. to face off against Western Kentucky on Saturday, Nov. 20. The game will be broadcast at noon 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.