FAU Football: Owls’ season ends with heartbreaking 32-31 loss in overtime to Western Kentucky

FAU will not be bowl eligible for back-to-back seasons.


Nicholas Windfelder

N’Kosi Perry catches the snap to start their play against WKU for their final game of the 2022 season.

Richard Pereira, News Editor

FAU football (5-7, 4-4 C-USA) lost in heartbreaking fashion Saturday afternoon, falling 32-31 to the Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers (8-5, 6-2 C-USA). With the defeat, they will not be bowl eligible for the second consecutive season.

“I’m so proud of our guys for actually going out and competing as hard as they did,” said head coach Willie Taggart, who now stands with a 15-18 record after three seasons. “I’m disappointed that we lost and I hate that for our players. They played so hard and we had opportunities there and we didn’t take advantage of it.”

After a scoreless first quarter, Western Kentucky broke the deadlock less than two minutes into the second quarter. Graduate quarterback Austin Reed threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver Malachi Corley to take the first lead of the game.

FAU responded with its own touchdown with 8:41 remaining in the first half. Graduate quarterback N’Kosi Perry fired a brilliant 13-yard pass to redshirt freshman wide receiver Jahmal Edrine inside the endzone to tie the game at seven apiece heading into halftime.

The Hilltoppers retook the lead more than two minutes into the third quarter. Reed launched a 46-yard pass to Corley for their second touchdown of the game.

FAU refused to back down, equalizing two minutes later. Junior running back Larry McCammon III took a handoff from Perry and ran for 48 yards into the endzone to keep the team within reach.

Both teams exchanged field goals to end the third quarter. Western Kentucky’s redshirt junior kicker Brayden Narveson converted one from 51 yards, while FAU’s freshman kicker Carter Davis completed a 47-yarder to achieve the first of his career.

The Owls took their first lead two minutes into the fourth quarter. McCammon III executed a four-yard rush to give FAU a 24-17 edge.

Western Kentucky did not back down, tying up the score with Reed throwing a 22-yard pass to graduate wide receiver Jaylen Hall for the touchdown.

FAU had a chance to win the game and clinch bowl eligibility with a 46-yard field goal in the final seconds, but Davis had his attempt go wide to the left, sending the game to overtime.

“I was impressed with the offense driving down there to put ourselves in a position to kick a field goal to win,” Taggart said. “Unfortunately, we missed the field goal, but [Davis is] gonna come back and make some of those field goals in his career as a young guy. He’ll bounce back.”

The Owls scored a spectacular touchdown to begin overtime, as Perry completed a 25-yard throw to Edrine for the team’s last lead of the game.

Unfortunately for FAU, Western Kentucky completed a one-yard rushing touchdown and converted the game-winning two-point conversion that effectively ended the game in the Hilltoppers’ favor.

Taggart said he was disappointed with the outcome, but expects to see more wins and consistency heading into the American Athletic Conference next season with the growth the program has made since he joined.

“I thought that they showed a lot about our future [of] where we can go with our football team,” Taggart said. “We got a lot of young talent on this football team and we got a really good recruiting class coming in and we can continue to add on to it. [It’s] all just gonna get better.”

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