The Owls finished their likely 2020 home slate to move to 5-1 on the season with a 24-2 victory over UMASS. Despite the scoreboard, FAU fans did not end the evening feeling great about their football team.
Here are five take away's from the game and what they should look for moving forward:
Back to Earth For Posey - After helping lead the team to two victories dominated by Javion Poesy's legs, he needed to show another level of his game to make teams think twice about selling out to stop the run. UMASS spent most of the night with 9-10 men within 1-10 yards of the line of scrimmage, making it hard to establish any type of consistent run game. Posey (photo right above) missed multiple receivers with inaccurate throws or just not seeing the open man. The play that embodies this the most was the 4th and seven on the game's third drive. Receiver Jordan Merrell ran a flag route from the inside slot and was open in a window behind the linebacker and front of the corner, and Posey could not throw it into the window. The ensuing drive ended after a 3rd and eleven, which had TJ Chase wide-open running across the field past the first down marker. These throws and reads are the basics Posey needs to master to become the long-term Owls quarterback.
Offensive Line Struggles - This is arguably the worst Offensive line performance since UCF in 2019. The running backs only managed 3.2 yards per carry, and Poesy was sacked six times. Some of the sacks could be blamed on Posey holding the ball too long, but he also was forced to scramble much of the night right after getting the snap. The extra men in the box due to the inability to consistently pass made things difficult, but there were obvious missed assignments and blown blocks. FAU's interior line struggled in particular, with calls, defenders being in the backfield, and penalties.
The Dependable Brandon Robison - FAU made it clear in the offseason they wanted to upgrade the receiver position and brought in numerous transfers to do that. TJ Chase has been a great addition so far, but the opposite of him has been a question mark all season, with no one providing consistent play. One-time walk-on Brandon Robinson (photo left above) has seen increased snaps every game this season and has taken the starting position over BJ Alexander and Aaron Young, who recently opted out. Robison came up big for the Owls in the Boca Bowl with 78 yards and a touchdown when the team was missing starter Tavarious ''Pico'' Harrison and came up big again with a Sportscenter Top 10 catch when FAU needed it most against UMASS.
Turnover Drought Ended - Head coach Willie Taggart said a few weeks ago that turnovers were like getting olives out of a jar, and once you get the first one, they all start coming. After going 15 quarters without one and being comically close to many others, defensive back Teja Young came up with a big interception. Long time Owl outside linebacker David Bevlin III came up with his first career interception just a few drives later in his final career home game. Hopefully, the "Olives'' continue to flow the rest of the season to help a struggling offense.
Road Warriors - The Owls have already played their last home game of the year in a whacky schedule and will have to keep the winning going on the road for three straight weeks. FAU starts by going to the biggest house of horrors in program history with a trip to Murfreesboro, TN., where they are 0-7 all time, then follows with a trip to Georgia Southern for a makeup game, where GSU holds a 27 game winning streak vs. out of conference opponents. FAU finishes with another makeup game against a reeling Southern Miss team.
Going 2-1 in these games would be a nice finish to a hectic regular season.
The Owls will play MTSU next week in the more traditional Saturday 3:30 time slot.
POST GAME: Willie Taggart
BOX SCORE: FAU vs UMass
FAU vs UMass Game Thread
Fearless Predictions FAU vs UMass
2020 FAU Football Schedule