Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


FAU Football: FAU declawed by Clemson on the road

The Owls fall to the Tigers in Death Valley, 48-14
FAU Athletics
FAU junior outside linebacker Courtney McBride (#51) lines up before the Clemson Tigers’ offense snaps the ball. September 16, 2023.

The Florida Atlantic Owls (1-2) lost on the road to the Clemson University Tigers (2-1) on Saturday night at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, South Carolina, 48-14.

On the first drive of the game, FAU graduate quarterback Casey Thompson threw an interception to Clemson junior cornerback Nate Wiggins who ran it back 46-yards to make it a 7-0 lead.

After a short FAU offensive possession, Clemson quickly drove down the field and capped it off with sophomore quarterback Cade Klubnik throwing a 30-yard pass deep down the middle to sophomore wide receiver Antonio Williams to make it a two possession game.

Thompson threw his second interception of the night when Clemson’s   freshman safety Khalil Barnes jumped in front of junior wide receiver LaJohntay Wester, who became the Owls all-time leader in receptions, and picked it off. That set up the touchdown pass to junior tight end Jake Briningstool to extend Clemson’s lead to 20 points.

FAU had a quick three and out to start the second quarter before Clemson scored again with junior running back Phil Mafah running 19-yards down the right into the endzone. 

On FAU’s next possession, Thompson dropped back and got tackled by Clemson’s redshirt sophomore defensive end Cade Denhoff. Thompson immediately grabbed his right knee and struggled to stand up. He was eventually helped off of the field with the medical staff and never returned to the game. 

Head coach Tom Herman said that Casey Thompson has a knee injury and that they will find out more in the future. 

Junior quarterback Daniel Richardson came in place of Thompson to finish the drive. FAU’s offense got stopped in field goal range, but junior kicker Logan Lupo missed the 46-yard field goal attempt. 

Clemson capitalized on FAU’s missed field goal and drove down the field with Klubnik scoring a touchdown off of a quarterback sneak to have a 34-point lead heading into halftime. 

After two back-to-back three and outs, FAU punted the ball to Clemson and returner Brown muffed the punt to give the ball back to FAU. But Richardson threw an interception on fourth and 21 to sophomore linebacker Wade Woodaz who ran it back to FAU’s 13-yard line. 

Clemson was stopped on fourth and one, but FAU couldn’t capitalize and punted the ball once again. After a sloppy start to the third quarter, Clemson finally scored with a contested touchdown reception by Brown with 2:56 remaining in the third quarter to make it 41-0.

FAU finally scored with a touchdown rush from junior quarterback Michael Johnson Jr. in the fourth quarter to avoid a shutout. Clemson answered right back with a four-minute touchdown drive scored by junior running back Domonique Thomas to make the score 48-7. 

FAU scored one last touchdown with a 33-yard catch made by junior wide receiver Devin Price to make the score 48-14.

“I think the exposure, both positive and negative, of a lot, if not all, of our guys that played in the second half, I think, you know, I challenged our coaches after the game to grade that second half harder than they’ve graded any half of football in their life because that is where a young man’s true colors really shine, and, in times like that,” Herman said. “And for the most part I was really really happy, at least watching from the sideline, but we still got a few guys that we’ve got to either convert, somehow someway, into doing it our way or we’ve got to move on.”

The Owls will travel to Champaign, Illinois to face the University of Illinois Fighting Illini (1-2) on Saturday, September 23, at 3:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast on BIG 10 Network.

Morgan Larkins is a contributing writer for the University Press. For more information regarding this or other stories, email him at [email protected] or DM him on Instagram or Twitter @mj_larkins.


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