FAU Football: Owls come up short in 41-38 loss at Ohio

Despite making a comeback in the fourth quarter, the Owls were unable to completely erase the 17-point lead Ohio had Saturday night.


Courtesy of FAU Athletics

Graduate quarterback N’Kosi Perry redshirt freshman wide receiver Jahmal Edrine.

Maddox Greenberg, Staff Writer

The FAU football team (1-1) went down big early in the second half, as they were unable to complete a comeback on the road in Athens, Ohio, against the Ohio University Bobcats (1-0) in a 41-38 defeat Saturday night.

The Owls were without one of their best defenders in sophomore Evan Anderson, who did not make the trip to Athens.

FAU started its first drive like last week against Charlotte, with a touchdown. Graduate quarterback N’Kosi Perry completed a 20-yard pass to junior wide receiver Je’Quan Burton to make the score 7-0. Burton was one of the ten receivers players Perry threw to in last Saturday’s win over the 49ers.

The Owls’ defense played big early in the first quarter, as they stopped Ohio from capitalizing on an Owls muffled return, forcing its freshman kicker Nathaniel Vakos to kick a field goal instead.

After that play, FAU showed the world their motto: “So what, now what?” This means to not let the previous play or drive dictate how the rest of the game goes. With a couple of penalties, the Owls made their way to Ohio’s seven-yard line, where they met a powerhouse red-zone defense from Ohio that led FAU’s kicker Morgan Suarez to convert a 24-yard field goal.

At the beginning of the second quarter, quarterback Kurtis Rourke threw the ball to Ohio State transfer Sam Wigluse, who caught a total of three touchdown passes in his debut. 

With FAU’s plan to overcome adversity, Ohio stood by the three P’s: Put Pressure on Perry. That plan did not last long, as Perry found Edrine wide open for FAU to go up 17-10. Ohio answered with a field goal to cut the lead to four once halftime came around

Like a shot out of a cannon, the Bobcats lit up to start the second half, compared to FAU’s tiresome play-making. Ohio had a tremendous performance in the third quarter by scoring two touchdowns. One was from Wigluse and the other was from sophomore wide receiver Miles Cross.

With Ohio leading 27-17, and rain starting to pour, FAU started slipping (literally). Running back Larry McCammon III tripped on the turf and Perry fumbled the football with Ohio’s linebacker Bryce Houston recovering for his team.

This game started to look like a nightmare for head coach Willie Taggart, as everything he hoped would not happen in this game happened. Ohio’s fanbase started coming alive as they scored another touchdown, this time by Rourke rushing in. The Bobcats led 34-17 by this point.

Down but not out, FAU’s offense tried everything it possibly could to slim the Bobcats’ lead. Good news for FAU was wide receiver Tony Johnson reeling in an acrobatic,touchdown pass between two Ohio defenders to reduce the deficit to 10.

Rourke’s other offensive weapon of the night was running back Sieh Bangura, who spun past several FAU defenders before getting tackled for a first down. Rourke, later on the same drive, found another weapon of his, James Bostic, for a touchdown, making the score 41-24.

FAU fought back with resilience, as Perry quickly found himself and threw his third touchdown pass of the game to Edrine, keeping the Owls in striking distance with a 41-31 scoreline.

Once again down by ten again, FAU and Ohio turned into a classic. Similar to how the Owls’ night went,the Bobcats began making mistakes. Ohio committed some costly penalties, resulting in FAU again getting on the board with wide receiver Lajohntay Wester sneaking into the corner of the end zone, cutting Ohio’s lead to three. 

The game held up to 10 total touchdowns by both teams. However, on FAU’s last drive of the night, with almost 50 seconds left and one timeout, Perry struggled under pressure. He found several receivers to throw to in Burton, Wester, and Edrine. But several incomplete passes later, the Owls turned the ball over on downs, as they will leave Ohio with a 41-38 loss..

FAU will return home to host the Southeastern Louisiana Lions on Saturday, Sept. 10, at 6 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.

Maddox Greenberg is a staff writer for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or DM via Facebook @maddox greenberg