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.


Staff Predictions: Owls looking for a season-opening victory against Monmouth

The sports staff predict the outcome of the Owls’ first football game of the 2023 season
Erika Fletcher
Redshirt sophomore wide receiver (#16) Tony Johnson in the Owls 32-31 loss to the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers.

The Owls are one day away from kicking off their first game in the American Athletic Conference (AAC) against the Monmouth University Hawks on Saturday evening at FAU Stadium.

Saturday’s matchup marks the FAU debut of head coach Tom Herman, who got the job in January after the firing of Willie Taggart hours after the Owls’ 32-32 defeat to Western Kentucky University in their season finale. It’ll also be the debut of the graduate quarterback Casey Thompson, a transfer from the University of Nebraska named the starter on August 21. 

Monmouth, a Football Championship Subdivision opponent (FCS),  is returning the FCS’s leading rusher from a year ago in junior running back Jaden Shirden, who rushed for 1722 yards and 13 touchdowns last season.

The University Press Sports Staff returns with their first predictions for 2023.

Maddox Greenberg – Sports Editor 

The Owls have made some improvements from last year that may give them the edge over the Hawks in Week One. The Owls kept starting running back Larry McCammon III from transferring this past offseason; however, they lost wide receiver Jahmal Edrine to the transfer portal.

FAU acquired players like running back Kobe Lewis, who will be out Week One, who will be backup for McCammon, and Devin Price, who will bring depth to the wide receiver room. The most prominent addition to the Owls was Casey Thompson, who threw for 17 touchdowns and ran for five last season, and should make an improvement from last year’s starter N’Kosi Perry. There will be a lot to learn a lot from this game.

Will Casey be able to deal with the pressure of having this new school and community on his shoulders? Will Herman be able to adapt to the unique landscape of college football? Can Casey and the offense click?

The defensive coordinator said that the defensive line would be the catalyst for the Owls’ success in Week 1 against Shirden. With junior defensive lineman Evan Anderson returning from injury-ridden season last year, the Owls’ defensive front might stop Shirden, but that won’t stop the Hawks from scoring at least some points.

Prediction: FAU 38, MU 10

Cameron Priester – Editor-at-large

Overlooking any opponent isn’t a wise decision, but anything less than a dominating victory on Saturday evening as the Tom Herman-era kicks off should be a massive disappointment. 

Granted, with a new head coach, new quarterback, two new coordinators, and plenty of other new faces making their debut in an Owls uniform, not every moment will be picture-perfect. And even as an opponent, Monmouth is nothing to scoff at; they’re returning the FCS’ leading rusher from a year ago in Jaden Shirden and a wide receiver duo of Dymere Miller and Assante Kearney that defensive coordinator Roc Bellantoni fawned over at Wednesday’s practice.

But the offseason narrative has been that FAU boasts a much more talented roster than you’d typically see coming off of back-to-back five-win seasons. This roster should be able to take down Monmouth in dominating fashion. 

Prediction: FAU 45, Monmouth 10

JD Delcastillo – Contributing Writer

The FAU Owls have retooled their roster, and now it’s time to play. 

With a new head coach, defensive coordinator, and new starting quarterback, there will be growing pains in the first game of the season. Luckily, these new additions will join a majority of players who are upperclassmen and seasoned veterans of the Owls football team. 

Based on last year’s statistics, Monmouth ran the ball more than they passed (439 rushing attempts to 291 passing attempts), so the front seven from the FAU defense will be the most significant factor in the game. With the front seven returning players like Anderson, and redshirt junior Latrell Jean from last year’s team, the chemistry should be there to stop the run game and pressure the quarterback. 

The biggest question is how newly-transferred quarterback Casey Thompson will adjust to running a new offense and leading an Owls team with a recent track record of mediocrity. His last year at Nebraska was solid, as he threw at least one touchdown in all ten games he started. With a veteran receiver core, it should be a relatively smooth transition.

If we could describe this Owls football team in one word, it would be new. Hopefully, this 2023 squad can usher in a new culture of “Winning in Paradise” to FAU.

Prediction: FAU 35, MU 21

For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet the staff: Maddox Greenberg (@MaddoxGreenberg), and Cameron Priester (@PriesterCameron).

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About the Contributors
Maddox Greenberg, Sports Editor
Maddox started writing sports for the UP in Summer 2022 with the intention of improving his journalistic writing. He is a sophomore majoring in multimedia journalism and plans on becoming a sports broadcaster. He is a broadcaster for FAU Owl Radio.
Cameron Priester, Editor-at-Large
Cameron Priester is an Editor-at-Large for the University Press. Having served as Sports Editor for the 2022-23 academic year, he is a multimedia journalism major and intends on pursuing a career in sports journalism. He can be found on Twitter @PriesterCameron and you can email him at [email protected].
Erika Fletcher, Lead Photographer
Erika is a junior majoring in multimedia studies with a minor in photography. She loves shooting sports and street photography and in her free time, she enjoys drawing, skateboarding, playing soccer, listening to music, and being with her friends and family. She joined the UP on a whim to make new friends and to get better at photography. In her time here, while not long, she's made connections and learned so much about herself already and can't wait to continue her journey with such great people.

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