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New Talent Sparks FAU Owls in Spring Game

Florida Atlantic Owls
© Jeff Romance | USA TODAY NETWORK

It was a beautiful 87-degree day under the Florida sky when the FAU Owls stepped on the field Saturday in Boca Raton. Fans were prepared for the weather but the Owls’ on-field performance was the real beauty on this day.


Coach Tom Herman has been bragging to everyone who will listen about the talent of this year’s Florida Atlantic football team. Saturday both old and new Owls made Herman true to his word, and by his admission, proud of their efforts during the spring training season. 

“I told the guys at the end that I was really proud of not just today, but the whole spring,” -Tom Herman

The Owls made sure there was much to be proud of and Team White began the festivities early in the first quarter as returning quarterback Tyriq Starks found newcomer Milan Tucker for a 41-yard touchdown reception. Team Red not to be outdone, responded immediately on their drive. Another new Owl, Cam Fancher, finished Team Red’s first drive with a five-yard pass to Omari Hayes. Hayes led all FAU receivers on the day with 7 receptions.

FAU’s offensive fireworks were replaced with defensive dominance over the next few possessions as both Owl offenses were forced to settle for field goals. Team Red converted a 47-yard field goal late in the first quarter allowing them to take their first lead of the game.

Team White responded in the second quarter tying the game with a 26-yard field goal. Team White, behind a stingy defense and a two-interception day from redshirt freshman Antonio Smith, found themselves with a one-point lead going into halftime after Starks threw his second touchdown pass. This time to tight end Zeke Moore.

The second half was a showcase as both defensive units were able to find some footing and the offenses continued to thrill. Team Red was able to find the end zone immediately in the second half and that came on an exciting 75-yard scamper from redshirt Junior C.J. Campbell. Team White was also able to manufacture a lone touchdown in the third quarter with a 4-yard run from redshirt freshman Gemari Sands.

Team Red was able to hold the momentum of the back-and-forth game. They scored the last touchdown strike on a 49-yard pass from Starks to receiver Joseph Young and a 2-point conversion to end the game with a 25-18 score. A far better result than last year’s 42-17 drubbing.


Every seasoned fan knows that the first drive of the second half is critical and Team Red was prepared for the moment. Coming out of halftime Campbell took a handoff and 75 yards later handed it to an official in the back of the end zone.

Team Red used that momentum and continued to make big plays when they were needed to maintain a lead on the scoreboard. Although Team White was able to score and bring themselves within a score to win, they were never able to make the play they needed to get back on top.


Offense: QB Tyriq Starks (9-of-16 passing, 136 yards, 2 touchdowns)

Defense: Antonio Smith (2 interceptions)


QB: Cam Fancher (15-of-25 passing, 115 yards, 1 touchdown)

DL: Decarius Hawthorne (1 sack)


The FAU faithful have much to look forward to this upcoming fall and the improved offensive attack is the most promising. After a dismal 4-8 season where the Owls failed to score more than 21 points seven times, the spring game was an explosion of offenses combining for 43 points.

A bevy of new talent combined with returning stars has the FAU Owls ready to soar into the 2024-25 season and find a new perch atop the American Athletic Conference.


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