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FAU gets noticed with win over Chippewas


FAU gets noticed with win over Chippewas

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FAU gets noticed

December 27, 2008 4:22 PM

Posted by ESPN.com's Graham Watson

Florida Atlantic came into Friday's Motor City Bowl hoping to make the country sit up and take notice.

Beating a Central Michigan team that is regarded as one of the best in the Mid-American Conference is a nice start.

The Owls won 24-21, breaking a third quarter tie and holding off a rally from the Chippewas to capture their second consecutive bowl win.

The Chippewas lost three in a row to end the season, the first time that's happened since 2003. The Chippewas lost to Ball State and Eastern Michigan in the final two games of the regular season and failed to win the MAC title for the first time since 2005.

It was a good ending to an otherwise slightly disappointing season for Florida Atlantic. The Owls started the year slowly, but came on strong late to finish the season 6-6 and become the first Sun Belt team to be selected as an at-large team at 6-6.

It was also a nice end for FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger, who dealt with the loss of his son earlier in the year. The players recognized Schnellenberger's efforts by dousing him with Gatorade and carrying him on their shoulders despite a brief protest. Schnellenberger improved to 6-0 in bowl games, the most wins without a loss in bowl history.

Quarterback Rusty Smith finished the season as the Motor City Bowl MVP. He threw for 306 yards and two touchdowns. He and Central Michigan quarterback Dan LeFevour will once again be considered among the best quarterbacks in the country at the start of next season.

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