FAU Football: Owls open 2022 season cruising past Charlotte 43-13

Running back Larry McCammon III had a career-high 118 rushing yards in the win.


Paul Leachman

Redshirt junior wide reciever Je’Quan Burton celebrates his first touchdown of the season.

Cameron Priester, Sports Editor

The FAU Owls (1-0, 1-0 C-USA) started their season on the right note with a 43-13 blowout victory over the University of North Carolina at Charlotte 49ers (0-1, 0-1 C-USA) at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton, Fla. on Saturday night.

“They played winning football,” said head coach Willie Taggart on his biggest takeaway from the win. “We go into every game saying ‘We want to run the football’ and ‘We want to stop the run’. Our guys did that today.”

Despite what the final score says, Saturday’s victory did not start well for the Owls. 

After receiving the opening kickoff, Charlotte went on a five-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a 52-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Grant DuBose, putting the 49ers ahead 7-0 only 2:44 into the first. 

However, the Owls quickly answered with a drive that was as efficient as they could have hoped for, tying the score at seven a-piece. Following a 33-yard completion to redshirt freshman wide receiver Jahmal Edrine on the Owls’ first play from scrimmage, on the third play of the drive junior running back Larry McCammon ran 52 yards for a touchdown.

“The way [McCammon] ran today, is how he’s been running all training camp,” said Taggart on McCammon, who finished a career night with 14 rushing attempts for 118 yards and a touchdown. “I don’t think that’s the last time you’ll see him get 100 yards.”

After the Owls’ defense forced a punt on the ensuing drive, graduate quarterback N’Kosi Perry led the Owls on another scoring drive that ended with points. Redshirt freshman kicker Morgan Suarez capped off a seven-play drive with a 43-yard field goal, giving FAU its first lead of the game at 10-7.

FAU continued to move the ball efficiently into the second quarter, with Perry ending the Owls’ third consecutive scoring drive on a two-yard touchdown run, putting them ahead 17-7 with 8:42 to play in the second quarter. 

“What you saw was someone who was under control of what we were doing,” said Taggart on Perry’s confidence. “He was really calm and under control today in everything that we called for him. But that’s just the work he put in this offseason.”

Charlotte’s woes continued on their following possession, with their starting quarterback and recipient of a 2021 C-USA Honorable Mention Chris Reynolds exiting the game with an apparent shoulder injury. Redshirt junior James Foster replaced him who, in similar fashion to the rest of his team, struggled all night. 

Following Suarez’s second field goal of the game which extended FAU’s lead to 13, sophomore cornerback Justin McKithen intercepted a pass from Foster, the first interception of his career, returning it 63 yards for a touchdown, extending the Owls’ lead to 26-7 heading into halftime. 

Perry and the FAU offense stayed in rhythm well after halftime, opening the third quarter with a nine-play, 75-yard drive that ended with Perry finding junior wide receiver Je’Quan Burton open downfield for a 30-yard touchdown pass, putting the Owls ahead 33-7. 

“It goes hand-in-hand with me having a full offseason. [The coaches] got the opportunity to see what I’m good at and what I’m comfortable with,” said Perry on the offense being more tailored to his skillset. 

Reynolds re-entered the game for the 49ers after halftime, turning the ball over on downs on their first possession of the second half. After forcing FAU to punt on the following drive, however, the 49ers ended their streak of six consecutive scoreless drives with Reynolds connecting again with DuBose for a 20-yard touchdown pass, his second of the night. 

Despite heading into the fourth quarter up by 20 points, the Owls’ offense was still not done. Redshirt freshman running back Zuberi Mobley concluded a seven-play drive with a two-yard touchdown run, the first of his career. On the following FAU possession, Suarez maintained his perfect night, making his third consecutive field goal to leave FAU with a 43-13 victory at the end of regulation. 

The Owls will now prepare to travel to Athens, Ohio, for their first road matchup of the year against the Ohio University Bobcats on Saturday, Sept. 3. The game will be broadcast at 6 p.m. on ESPN+.

Cameron Priester is the Sports Editor for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @PriesterCameron