BOCA RATON – Reserve quarterback Javion Posey’s first game action of the season led FAU to it’s lone touchdown, enough for the Owls to defeat Western Kentucky 10-6 on Saturday.
Posey’s 11-yard run around the left side with 2:27 remaining capped a 12-play, 75-yard drive and provided the Owls’ margin of victory.
He almost didn’t get that opportunity. One play earlier BJ Emmons power run into the line barely moved the sticks on a fourth and inches. Initially, Emmons appeared to be stopped short of the line to gain but officials ruled he gained enough yardage to extend the drive. Play was not stopped for a review.
FAU’s defense, steadfast all night, didn’t permit WKU (2-6, 1-3) a first down in their final drive, sealing the victory. The Owls have not allowed a touchdown in their past nine quarters, dating back to their 20-9 Oct. 24 loss to Marshall.
“(It was) a great win for the Owls,” said FAU (3-1, 3-1) coach Willie Taggart, who played and coached for WKU. “It was good to see our guys find a way to win a tough, hard-fought ballgame.”
Nick Tronti edged Posey in FAU’s preseason quarterback battle and has started all four games this season. Led by Tronti, the Owls only produced seven touchdowns and 57 points. With Posey unavailable because of COVID-19 issues in the Owls’ second and third games of the season – the loss to Marshall and a victory over UTSA – Taggart gave his son, Taggart Jr., some game snaps at QB but the true freshman didn’t perform up to the competition.
In Saturday’s battle of anemic offensives, the Tronti-led Owls managed only 150 total yards and three points through three quarters of play.
Posey entered for the Owls first possession of the fourth quarter, providing an immediate jolt. He rushed for 17 yards on the Owls first play of the drive and moved FAU from its own 7 to its 47 in five plays before launching an ill-advised fluttering duck into the wind toward the visiting sideline that Kyle Bailey intercepted.
Afterward, Posey said he was simply trying to throw the ball away but the wind kept it in play.
“He didn’t let that throw affect the rest of the plays that he was in there,” Taggart said.
The turnover came on Posey’s lone passing attempt of the night. He and Tronti combined to complete only seven of 17 passes on the blustery night, covering 107 yards.
“He brought a spark that we needed,” Taggart said of Posey, noting that the redshirt-freshman elicited a similar reaction during the week’s practice.
Playing without starting running back Malcolm Davidson, who has battled hamstring and foot injuries, Posey’s 60 yards on nine carries led the Owls. It’s the second time this season a quarterback led the Owls in rushing. Tronti’s 94 yards paced FAU in the season-opening victory over Charlotte.
Taggart was non-committal on whether Posey’s spark and Tronti’s ineffectiveness was enough to re-open the quarterback competition.
“We’ll see,” he said.
FAU’s defense limited WKU to 257 total yards. Caliph Brice and Leighton McCarthy combined for the lone FAU sack, and the Owls did not force a turnover for the first time this season.
Teja Young and Chase Lasater led the Owls with seven tackles.
“They played like they’ve been playing all year long,” Taggart said. “We need that out of our defense.”
FAU returns to the field on Friday in Miami for the annual Shula Bowl against FIU (0-3, 0-1). COVID issues forced the postponement of Saturday’s scheduled FIU at UTEP game.
In fact, the FAU vs WKU game was the lone contest of the week featuring two C-USA teams. The other four such scheduled games were all postponed because of COVID issues.