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: Owls fall to UAB 45-42 on the road

Junior wide receiver LaJohntay Wester’s four touchdowns weren’t enough to get the Owls the victory.
FAU Athletics
FAU graduate running back Kobe Lewis (#5) avoiding the defender to get a first down during the Owls’ 45-42 road loss to the University of Alabama at Birmingham Blazers on Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023.

After coming back down two scores after halftime, the Florida Atlantic Owls (4-5, 3-2 AAC) lost 45-42 to the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Blazers (3-6, 2-3 AAC) on Saturday afternoon. 

“I think previous teams would’ve folded right there, but I also think that we got to grow up a little bit,” said head coach Tom Herman. “It’s okay to be emotional in that moment, good or bad, but there’s got to be a switch that flips. It’s back to business as usual. Every play has a life cycle of its own. It felt like our lows were really, really low and our highs were high, but we can’t live there. We got to live in the middle. Really proud of the fight.”

Junior wide receiver LaJohntay Wester had a career-night with 219 receiving yards and four total touchdowns. Wester now holds the program’s single-season record for receptions and most receiving yards in a game. He has achieved over 1,000 receiving yards in a season. 

“He’s the gas that makes our engine go on offense,” Herman said. “I’m continued to be marveled by [offensive coordinator] Coach [Charlie] Frye being able to manufacture plays to get him not double-teamed. Our guys around him, I thought, played well, too.”

The Owls’ defense started slowly in the first quarter, allowing three first downs on the first drive of the game. Finally, after forcing a field goal, FAU junior defensive lineman Evan Anderson blocked a field goal attempt that junior inside linebacker Jarrett Jerrels recovered, setting up FAU’s offense at their 34-yard line. 

The Blazers then forced FAU’s offense to punt on the first drive after the sacking of junior quarterback Daniel Richardson for eight yards. 

After seven plays for 88 yards, UAB redshirt junior quarterback Jacob Zeno connected with senior running back Jermaine Brown Jr. for a 46-yard touchdown to get on the board first, 7-0.

At the start of the 2nd quarter, FAU came out firing when Richardson threw to Wester for a 12-yard touchdown. This was Wester’s first of four touchdowns.

The Owls’ defense continued to struggle when the Blazers responded with a two-play drive ending in a touchdown when Zeno found redshirt senior wide receiver T.J. Jones in the end zone. The Owls’ defense gave up 614 total yards and six touchdowns. 

On another short drive by the Blazers’ offense, Zeno found junior wide receiver Malachi Holt-Bennett for a 37-yard touchdown, extending the Blazers’ lead to 21-7.

Redshirt junior quarterback Michael Johnson Jr. scored a rushing touchdown to put the Owls on the board, 21-14. The Blazers responded with a touchdown pass from Zeno to freshman wide receiver Amare Thomas before halftime, leading 28-14.

Out of halftime, hoping to start the second half with a scoring drive, Richardson threw an interception to junior outside linebacker Kendall Johnson for a 26-yard pick-six. After the interception, FAU returned and made up for their mistake by getting the run game involved more. The Owls ended their drive with a three-yard rushing touchdown by Wester. 

The Owls’ defense stopped the Blazers on their opening drive, with junior Morven Joseph and senior Desmond Tisdol sacking Zeno. Following the sack, the Blazers punted, returning the ball to the Owls.  

After a stop by the defense, FAU’s offense struggled with consistency. The Owls’ defense created another turnover by forcing a fumble from Zeno on a five-yard loss run play, which Anderson recovered.

The Owls offense was still unable to capitalize on the turnover. The defense made up for it by getting yet another stop by an interception by redshirt junior safety Dwight Toombs II. 

The Owls’ offense finally found the end zone when Richardson threw a pass to Wester for a 20-yard touchdown, bringing the Owls within one score, 35-28.

FAU’s offense and defense soon began clicking. The defense forced another stop, and then Richardson threw a deep pass to Wester for another touchdown to tie the game at 35-35 early in the fourth quarter. 

After forcing another punt, FAU scored another touchdown, with graduate running back Kobe Lewis going for a 14-yard rushing touchdown. After the defense had a great second half, the Blazers finally found an answer, scoring a 70-yard touchdown from Zeno to redshirt senior wide receiver Tejhaun Palmer to tie the game at 42-42. UAB ended the game with a 26-yard field goal made by redshirt senior kicker Matt Quinn, winning 45-42.

FAU will r face the East Carolina University Pirates (1-8, 0-5 AAC) at home on Saturday, Nov. 11 at 4 p.m.

Chris Smith is a Staff Writer for the University Press. Email [email protected], DM via Twitter @chris_smith_35 or Instagram @Chris_smith_4 for information regarding this story or others.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

Do you have something to say? Submit your comments below
All UNIVERSITY PRESS Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *