FAU started its season off with a one point win as it pulled off an impressive comeback victory over University of Alabama at Birmingham on Thursday, Sept. 2, at Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama.
I was shocked FAU managed to pull off a win. The special teams was a disaster, aside from the punting unit which saw a lot of play time. They missed their first extra point attempt which turned out to be a challenging deficit to overcome throughout the game. The defense was quiet and ineffective allowing the UAB quarterback David Isabelle to rush for 214 yards and three touchdowns which made him the leading rusher for the Blazers. The first half of the game seemed as though it would become a complete nightmare for the Owls. Not only did quarterback Jeff Van Camp get sacked on the very first play of the game, but UAB managed to put up 14 unanswered points in the first quarter.
The Owls O-line showed their inexperience as Van Camp struggled to stay on his feet and had little time to find open receivers. However, the offense had its shining moments. Wide receiver Lester Jean was the star of the second quarter. He was responsible for two touchdown receptions, the second of which was an impressive 77 yard one handed catch.
The Owls finally found the rally they need when safety Brentley Harstad managed to make an interception in the third quarter and run it back for a 38-yard touchdown. The Owls continued to narrow the Blazers’ lead to 28-26 after a screen pass to running back Willie Floyd turned into a 43-yard score.
Late in the fourth quarter, trailing 31-26, running back Alfred Morris, who rushed for 103 yards on the day, broke for a 38-yard touchdown run, finally giving the Owls the lead for the first time in the game. The Owls would have to avoid a late scare as the UAB offense marched down the field and got set for a short field goal attempt with five seconds left on the clock. On the kick, FAU linebacker Michael Lockley managed to get a hand up to block the attempt, giving the Owls a 32-31 victory.
The team celebrated on the sidelines as if they had just won a bowl game, but after a season like they had in 2009, you can’t really blame them. Hopefully a 1-0 start is just what the team needs to boot them into a winning streak, but lets not get ahead of ourselves. The defense still needs a lot of work.
Bottom Line: Overall, the team played poorly and almost had a disaster on their hands letting the game slip away from them in the first half. Van Camp and Jean seems to be a great combo. If the O-line can learn to hold onto blocks longer, we could possibly see a Van Camp/Jean combo to be a viable weapon. As the Owls travel to Detroit to play Michigan State on Saturday, September 11th, they will need to make big improves on defense. FAU’s secondary knows how to take advantage of mistakes. The linebackers need to put more pressure on the opposing quarterback and force him to throw.
For more stats and a break down of this game visit: upressonline.com
About the Author
Written by Mark Gibson
Mark Gibson is a senior media communications major at Florida Atlantic University. He is a staff reporter who covers sports and entertainment for the FAU student Newspaper, University Press. He also runs a podcast and website that reviews video games and new electronics. On his downtime, he loves playing his guitar and currently plays bass in a local band.