FAU Football: Owls fall apart in 40-14 home loss against UCF

The Owls went scoreless after getting all 14 of their points in the first quarter.

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Nicholas Windfielder

Offensive linemen Andre Lamas, Dorian Hinton, and Brendan Bordner making blocks vs UCF.

Kevin Garcia, Staff Writer

The FAU football team (2-2, 1-0 C-USA) fell apart in a disappointing 40-14 defeat at home against the University of Central Florida (UCF) Knights (2-1) Saturday night.  

Head coach Willie Taggart talked about what went wrong during postgame.

“We did not do a good job of playing complimentary football, helping each other out: offense, defense and special teams,” Taggart said.

On the first play of the game, junior running back Larry McCammon III broke off a 34-yard run to set the pace of the opening drive. Freshman running back Zuberi Mobley capped off the drive with a 15-yard rushing touchdown to give the Owls a 7-0 lead after the extra point.

After a pass interference call against redshirt junior cornerback Armani Adams brought the Knights inside the Owls 40, junior linebacker Marlon Krakue forced a UCF fumble on the FAU 14-yard line. Failing to take advantage, FAU punted the ball back and allowed UCF to score with 5:12 left in the first to even the score at seven apiece.

FAU ended the first quarter with an impressive 88-yard drive that concluded with a touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver LaJohntay Wester from graduate quarterback N’Kosi Perry. FAU led 14-7 after one quarter of play.

UCF marched down the field for the first drive of the second and settled for a field goal. The Knights eventually scored a touchdown at the 8:03 mark in the second to take a 16-14 lead, their first of the game.

Perry coughed up his first fumble of 2022 near UCF’s 20-yard line, as the Knights recovered. However, UCF quarterback John Rhys Plumlee fumbled a snap, recovered by freshman defensive end Jacob Merrifield to give possession back to FAU.

A one-yard touchdown run on the first drive of the half increased the Owls’ deficit to 23-14. Following a three-and-out, sophomore safety Dwight Toombs jumped a route, picked off Plumlee and nearly scored while bringing the ball to the one-yard line.

“I have to finish those plays,” Toombs said regarding the play.

The Owls were unable to score and ultimately had their field-goal attempt blocked by UCF. Walking away from a good opportunity with no points proved to be a pivotal moment for FAU.

With its next offensive possession after the defensive stand, UCF punched in a rushing touchdown to increase its lead to 30-14.

As a team, the Owls have not fared well during the second half so far this season aside from last week’s win against SELA. Tonight was no exception and Taggart addressed it.

“The biggest part of it was lack of execution, when it comes down to it, you got to execute to get into rhythm. We got to play to our strengths,” Taggart said.

A field goal put UCF up 33-14. The Owls’ offensive struggles continued with a three-and-out on the ensuing drive. The Knights added another touchdown with 7:00 left, leaving the final score 40-14.

FAU will head back on the road, this time to West Lafayette, Ind., for an encounter with the Purdue University Boilermakers. The game is set for Saturday, Sept. 24, at 7:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on Big Ten Network.

Kevin Garcia is a staff writer for the University Press. For more information regarding this or other stories, email him @[email protected], or tweet him @kevingar658.