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Rusty Smith was heart and soul of FAU

Does anyone remember those wobbly passes thrown by a wide-eyed redshirt freshman in the FAU season-opener in 2006.

OK, so it was against Clemson, ranked No. 18 at the time, in front of 77,000 at a stadium known as Death Valley.

FAU quarterback Rusty Smith was still joking about his performance that day earlier this year. And he'll be laughing about it years later when he recalls the game. It's a great story because Smith got better - a bunch better.

In fact Smith, who said Tuesday he has played his last game at FAU, became the best quarterback ever at FAU and one of the best ever coached by Howard Schnellenberger.

We'll look at Rusty's career a bit later, but suffice it to say, he was the right guy at the right time to quarterback FAU and it was his arm that brought the program out of the awkward "transition years" to a point where if the team stumbles and doesn't make it to a bowl, fans are up in arms.
November 03, 2009

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