FAU Football: Owls prepare to open season at home against Charlotte

FAU will be looking to secure its first conference victory in what will be a debut for many on the Owls’ sideline.


Nicholas Windfelder

University Press stock photo from 2022 Spring Game.

Cameron Priester, Sports Editor

FAU will begin the 2022 season this Saturday at Howard Schellenberger Field with a conference matchup against the University of North Carolina at Charlotte 49ers. 

One of only eleven Week 0 games being played across the country this weekend, this year’s contest will be the eighth meeting between the two programs since 2015. Last year’s matchup ended in a 38-9 victory on the road for the Owls, moving their lead in the all-time record to 5-2. 

Head coach Willie Taggart seemed very pleased with the team’s three weeks of fall training camp when speaking to the media on Monday, answered “the whole group” when asked who he would call a winner of training camp. 

“We had a really good training camp. It was tough, it was physical, but I don’t recall having a bad practice,” Taggart said.  

Taggart, who’s entering his third season with a record of 10-11 as the Owls head coach, also confirmed multiple positions on the depth chart to the media on Monday. He officially named junior Larry McCammon III as the starting running back and sophomore Willie Taggart Jr. as the backup quarterback for the start of the season.  

Although McCammon will get the start, Taggart claimed that multiple running backs will see the field on Saturday, “You’re going to see a lot of Johnny [Ford], you’re probably going to see a lot of guys,” he said. “It’s great to have a room like that, where you can go to any one of those guys and feel good about them going into the game.” 

When asked what stood out to him when preparing for Charlotte, Taggart spoke highly of the 49ers’ offense, and redshirt senior quarterback Chris Reynolds in particular.  

“Their quarterback is very good. We’ve seen a lot of him over the years and what he’s capable of doing. He’s the one that makes it go,” Taggart said. “They also have some really talented receivers. It’s going to be a big challenge for our defense to start the year off against an offense like this.” 

Last season, Reynolds threw 216 completions for 2,680 yards and 26 touchdowns, with junior wide receiver Grant Dubose accounting for 892 yards and six receptions, earning them both a spot on the 2021 Conference USA Honorable Mention List.  

If the Owls hope to slow down the 49ers’ high-powered offense, they will be depending on a big night from the front seven, including recent transfers sophomore defensive end Morven Joseph and freshman linebacker Jaleel McRae, as both will be in the starting rotation ahead of their FAU debut.  

Joseph and McRae will also have the help of proven returners redshirt junior defensive end Jaylen Joyner and sophomore defensive tackle Evan Anderson. In 2021, Joyner had 36 tackles and led the team with three sacks, while Anderson racked up a career-high 40 tackles and one sack.  

Kickoff is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 27 at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network from FAU Stadium in Boca Raton, Fla.  

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