FAU Football: Owls look to bounce back on the road against Old Dominion

A win would make FAU bowl eligible for the third straight year.


Logan Agostino

FAU’s offensive line prepares for a down against Marshall on Nov. 6, 2021.

Trey Avant, Staff Writer

The loss last week to Marshall dealt a major blow to FAU’s (5-4, 3-2 C-USA) hopes at a spot in the C-USA championship game, but the team must now look forward to a matchup on the road in Norfolk, Va. against Old Dominion (3-6, 2-3 C-USA). A win this week would clinch bowl eligibility for the Owls for the third straight year.

“[They are] a good team that’s getting better,” head coach Willie Taggart said on ODU. “I think part of what they’re going through is they didn’t play last year. They had to kind of get used to each other this season, and now towards the latter part of the season we’ve seen them take off and become a better football team.”

ODU is on a two-game win streak and coming off of a complete mauling of FIU last week. They boast the nation’s 26th-ranked run defense and should bode well against a team as run-heavy as FAU.

Unfortunately for ODU, they feature a lackluster pass defense that gives up 243.1 passing yards per game. FAU graduate quarterback N’Kosi Perry has had a very solid season up to this point with career highs across the board and he should be due for a big game against a weak ODU secondary.

Perry has compiled 2,043 passing yards, 20 total touchdowns, and four interceptions in nine games this season.

FAU has struggled to contain running backs this season. They give up 166.7 rushing yards per game and ODU sophomore running back Blake Watson might prove difficult to stop. He’s not much of a threat as a pass catcher but he has recorded over 100 rushing yards in each of his last four games.

The Monarchs will rely heavily on Watson for their offense. They probably do not want freshman quarterback Hayden Wolff to test an FAU secondary that possesses cornerbacks Zyon Gilbert and Teja Young. 

One player of note that can potentially cause problems for FAU is sophomore tight end Zack Kuntz. Kuntz is ODU’s leading receiver with 53 receptions for 550 yards and four touchdowns.

“[Kuntz’s] a different breed. He’s like 6’8, 250 lbs, he’s the real deal. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him playing on Sundays. He’s that type of player,” Taggart said.

For FAU to win this game, they must get Perry into a rhythm early and try to establish a balanced offensive game plan. Neutralizing the effectiveness of Watson and forcing ODU to throw the ball will go a long way in securing a victory for the Owls.

For ODU to win this game, head coach Ricky Rahne must run the ball down FAU’s throat early and often. They could also experiment with using Watson more as a receiver out of the backfield. 

FAU has received poor play from their offensive line this season so if their pass rushers can get pressure on Perry, then it is possible they pull off the upset.

The Owls will take on ODU on the road on Saturday, Nov. 13. The game will be broadcast at 3:30 p.m on ESPN3.

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