We eventually broadened the conversation, then expanded it again until we created a list of the Top 25 FAU games ever played. In ranking the games we considered the general entertainment value of that particular game, the importance of the win (or loss), and whether the game is still a topic of discussion.
We’ll list the games from No. 25 to No. 11 over three days, each daily story highlighting five games. Once we reach the Top 10, we’ll dive a little deeper into each contest. Now, let’s get rolling.
Top 25 FAU Games Ever Played (25-21)
No. 25: FAU Baseball 14, FIU 10 (May 22, 2010) – FAU entered the season’s final weekend looking for its first regular season Sun Belt Conference title. Colby Gratton’s walk-off homer the night prior put the Owls within a win of the title. In a chippy regular-season finale that saw warnings issued to both teams, FAU fell behind multiple times only to rally. Freshman Nathan Pittman’s homer tied the game at 8 and came in the middle of a seven-run seventh inning where all the runs scored with two out. When FAU closer Andy Mee struck out Jabari Henry for the game’s final out, FAU players celebrated on the field, then in the pool. The Owls claimed the title in FAU coach John McCormack’s second year as head coach, showing that he was in fact the right man to build on former coach Kevin Cooney’s success and vision. And, yes, the video of McCormack diving into the pool while still wearing his uniform played a role in this game claiming the final spot in our countdown.
No. 24: FAU Football 24, Central Michigan 21 (Motor City Bowl, Dec. 26, 2008) – Even after FAU defeated FIU in the final week to achieve bowl eligibility, the Owls’ spot in a bowl game wasn’t guaranteed. The Motor City Bowl took a chance on Howard Schnellenberger’s name recognition – helped by FAU’s willingness to take a financial loss on the game – and the Owls didn’t disappoint. Entering the third quarter tied at 10, FAU took the lead on a 52-yard Rusty Smith-to-Chris Bonner hookup. An 18-yarder from Smith to Cortez Gent gave the Owls all the points they would need. After the Chippewas cut the lead to 24-21 with 3:09 remaining, the Owls handed the ball five consecutive times to Charles Pierre, who picked up three first downs in that span, allowing FAU to run out the clock.
No. 23: FAU Women’s Hoops 74, Gardner Webb 63 (March 11, 2006) – FAU’s women’s basketball team reached the NCAA tournament several times in the late 1980s and early 1990s, but hadn’t done so since the program jumped to Division I. The drought ended in the 2006 Atlantic Sun Championship game. FAU led by double digits for much of this game, but the Bulldogs closed to within six with less than six minutes remaining. That’s as close as the Bulldogs would get. Tournament MVP Shontavia Williams led all scorers with 26 points. Amanda Bulin grabbed nine rebounds to go with her 12 points. One week later FAU fell to LSU 72-48 in the Owls lone Women’s NCAA Tournament appearance.
No. 22: FAU Softball 5, Oklahoma 3 (March 3, 2002) – Less than 24 hours after No. 20 FAU knocked off No. 7 Oklahoma, the Owls repeated the feat to win the FIU “Golden Panther” Invitational. Oklahoma scored two twice in the first against Nikki Myers, but three RBI singles in the third gave the Owls their first lead. Myers helped herself with an RBI double in the fifth. Catcher Callie Piper homered for the second time in two days to complete FAU’s scoring. Myers struck out 11 Sooners to earn the win. The victory vaulted FAU into the Top 10 nationally. The Owls went on to win the sixth of their eight consecutive regular season conference titles.
No. 21: Western Kentucky 20, FAU Football 0 (Oct. 15, 2011) – This game isn’t meaningful for what happened on the field. It’s in the countdown because the game fulfilled a promise program founder Howard Schnellenberger made to prospective players, donors and fans. Schnellenberger promised a stadium, and a stadium he delivered. The Owls played their first five games of the 2015 season on the road, including trips to Florida, Michigan St., and Auburn, to give construction crews time to finish the stadium. Fans marveled at the structure and the views. The game itself, however, proved largely forgettable for those capable of such things. Led by quarterbacks David Kooi and Stephen Curtis, FAU managed only six first downs and 121 yards of total offense. FAU announced an attendance of 29,103, though there weren’t nearly that many people in attendance. And after FAU laid such an egg, fans who did attend saw little reason to return. The Owls have battled attendance issues ever since.