Despite off the field distractions, and being down numerous key players, FAU Football proved resilient in an emphatic 52-28 romp over SMU in the 2019 Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl at FAU Stadium.
"It was all about preparation, execution and finish, that’s what we talked about last night and this morning", said interim Head Coach Glenn Spencer.
The Owls, which were underdogs for the contest, finish the season 11-3 while becoming just the second Conference USA team to win at least 11 games twice in three seasons (WKU, ’15-’16).
"This is the greatest team that FAU has ever had" Spencer said. "The way they won the (C-USA) championship, and won this bowl game…I'm so proud to be a part of that."
To Spencer's credit, his FAU defense forced 33 turnovers for their 2019 campaign, extending the school record in that category.
With the win, the Owls also match their record from the 2017 season and improve their all-time bowl record to a perfect 4-0 mark.
Quarterback Chris Robison was very efficient at 27-for-37 (73%) with 305 passing yards and two touchdowns, in addition to 28 rushing yards.
That earned him Offensive MVP honors.
"I can't thank the offensive line enough", said Robison. "They played their butts off. I wouldn't be here, none of us would be here without them."
Robison ends the season with 291 completions and 3,701 passing yards, passing Rusty Smith, who set both records during the 2007 season.
Smith's average yards per game in 2007 was 283.7 YDS over 13 games, while Robison finishes the 2019 slate at 264.5 YDS after 14.
Linebacker Rashad Smith, who had 11 tackles, two takeaways and a touchdown, was chosen as Defensive MVP.
"To go out on top, as a senior, and to do it on our field, wow, all glory to God", Smith said.
FAU Punter Matt Hayball, who averaged 48 yards per punt in his five boots with a long of 60, took the Special Teams MVP award.
Florida Atlantic will now shift gears under the newly appointed leadership of Head Coach Willie Taggart, and his support staff, which is yet to be officially announced.
Taggart inherits a high bar of success to maintain, and his first game at the helm of the program will ensue on September 3rd, 2020, when the Owls go on the road to take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers in Minneapolis.
POST GAME 2019: Boca Bowl vs SMU - Glenn Spencer & Players - FAU Owl's Nest
FAU Football vs SMU Box Score 12-21-19 - FAU Owl's Nest
2019 Boca Bowl Game Thread - SMU @ FAU - Dec 21st @ 3:30 PM - FAU Owl's Nest
2019 FAU Football Schedule - FAU Owl's Nest
We were 18 points underdog like Arkansas but I thought there was no way we could win today losing all those guys before facing SMU.
How a marriage between tempo offense can work with the defense
Hilarious that they could have hired lane so many times and missed him every time. Lane would have crushed it in the ACC at Miami. We were lucky to have him (and he was lucky to have us!)