FAU Football: Owls celebrate Halloween weekend with 24-17 win over UAB

The Owls outscored UAB 14-3 in the third quarter to secure the win.


Nicholas Windfelder

Head coach Willie Taggart posing with his players after defeating the UAB Blazers on Oct. 29, 2022.

Richard Pereira, News Editor

The FAU football (4-5, 3-2 C-USA) team treated themselves to a 24-17 victory over the University of Alabama at Birmingham Blazers (4-4, 2-3 C-USA) for Halloween weekend on Saturday night.

“What’s good about it is our guys staying focused and staying locked in, believing in each other, [and] believing in what we all set out to do,” said head coach Willie Taggart. “To find a way to pull this off was big [and] another step in the right direction.”

After failing to get a touchdown in the redzone, FAU settled for a field goal with 3:37 to go in the first quarter. After missing his first attempt, redshirt freshman kicker Morgan Suarez nailed his second effort after a penalty against UAB granted him the opportunity.

The Owls found their first touchdown with 50 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Graduate quarterback N’Kosi Perry found a 35-yard pass to a wide open Johnny Ford, which the sophomore running back caught to extend the lead to 10-0.

FAU was unable to keep UAB off the scoreboard, conceding a touchdown to start the second quarter. Redshirt junior running back DeWayne McBride ran all the way for 63 yards to the endzone.

The Blazers took the lead with 8:08 to go for the first half. Redshirt junior quarterback Jacob Zeno completed a four-yard pass to redshirt junior wide receiver TJ Jones, taking the ball to FAU’s endzone to go up 14-10.

FAU responded with back-to-back touchdowns in the third quarter. The first occurred less than two minutes in, as Perry fired a 50-yard throw to redshirt junior wide receiver Je’Quan Burton for the 17-14 lead.

“It’s a big confidence booster, just being able to smell that grass in the endzone and actually do it,” said Burton, getting his first touchdown since the Sept. 3 loss at Ohio. “Just to be able to touch it again, now I want to touch it again and again and again.”

The Owls’ second touchdown happened with 5:56 remaining in the third quarter. Perry floated an astounding pass for eight yards to wide receiver Tony Johnson, extending the lead to 10 points.

At that moment, Perry had three passing touchdowns for FAU. He achieved three or more touchdowns for the fourth time this season, with the last one occurring in the Sept. 24 loss at Purdue.

“I’m so glad we were throwing the ball a lot today. It felt great,” Perry said.

UAB cut the deficit to seven before the end of the third quarter with redshirt junior kicker Matt Quinn converting a 32-yard field goal.

The Blazers nearly tied the game with two seconds left, but sophomore cornerback Michal Antoine Jr. blocked the pass to secure the crucial win for the Owls.

“At that moment [with] the play we called, I knew I was on my own and before that, they tried [Jayden] Williams, which is the other corner. I knew they had no choice but to come to me, so it was either step up or fall,” said Antoine Jr.

Taggart complemented Antoine Jr.’s persistence in practice and was happy to see it pay off with the game-saving block.

“It was cool to see his teammates believe in him and it was cool to see the guys play for each other,” Taggart said. “They go out every single day. They work all offseason long. They got to learn to play for one another and when they do that, great things happen.”

FAU will take a bye week before returning for a road matchup down in Miami against Florida International University on Saturday, Nov. 12, at 7 p.m. The match will be broadcast on Stadium.

Richard Pereira is the News Editor for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @Rich26Pereira