UPDATE, SUN. 3 p.m.: It’s official. FAU will play Southern Methodist in the Boca Raton Bowl.
BOCA RATON – Florida Atlantic is making a strong behind-the-scenes push for a return to the Boca Raton Bowl – and ESPN, which operates the bowl, is receptive to the idea.
Sources tell OwlAccess.com that the Boca Bowl is considering a match-up that would pit the Conference USA-champion Owls against a Top 25 or Power 5 team on December 21 at Howard Schnellenberger Field.
FAU played in the 2017 Boca Bowl after its first C-USA title and would be following the same path should the push prove successful.
Official bowl pairings are announced Sunday afternoon.
Conference USA is one of three conferences with a tie-in to the Boca Bowl, but this wasn’t originally scheduled to be a year where a C-USA team plays in Boca Raton.
Playing on a Saturday for the for the first time in bowl history, the Boca Bowl was originally slated to pit a MAC team against an AAC team.
The Boca Bowl could still feature an AAC team. No. 21 Cincinnati, which lost to No. 16 Memphis in the AAC title game on Saturday, is under serious consideration. SMU, which entered the weekend as the first team outside the Top 25, is also a possibility.
No. 20 Appalachian St., which defeated Louisiana-Lafayette for the Sun Belt title on Saturday, has also been discussed as a potential opponent.
FAU defeated Akron 50-3 in the 2017 Boca Raton Bowl.
Should the Boca Bowl talks fall through, most around the program and within the conference expect FAU to play in Tampa’s Gasparilla Bowl on December 23. Along with Conference USA, the Gasparilla Bowl has tie-ins with the AAC and the ACC.
GameBrowser: FAU (10-2, 8-1) 49, UAB (9-4, 6-3) 6
After a UAB field goal trimmed FAU’s first quarter lead to 7-3, the Owls immediately responded with a one play, 75-yard drive. DeAngelo Antoine caught a slant across the middle, shook one defender, and was off to the races. The Owls defense followed by picking off a pass on the ensuing drive, Meiko Dotson’s ninth interception of the season.
- Coach Lane Kiffin is officially out as the FAU Coach. The team announced he ended his tenure after the game. The only FAU coach to win two Conference championships, Kiffin will fill the vacancy at Mississippi.
- FAU is peaking at the right time. There’s no telling how the Owls will react to losing Kiffin, but if they play like they did on Saturday they’ll give whoever they face fits.
- The FAU special teams grabbed their first touchdown of the season when Tyrek Tisdale blocked a UAB punt and Eddie Williams recovered it and returned it from two yards out. This was the Owls first special teams score of the season. “Special teams was dominant today,” Kiffin said.
- With his 38 receiving yards Harrison Bryant became the third FAU player in program history to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark in a season. The John Mackey Award Finalist now has 1,004 yards with one game remaining. Bryant currently leads all FBS tight ends in receptions and yards on the season.
- With two interceptions, the 2019 Owls team holds the program record for most interceptions in a single season with 21. The previous record was held by the 2017 team with 20. The Owls are tied with Oregon for most team interceptions in a season. FAU also won the turnover battle 2-1. The Owls entered the week leading the nation in turnover margin.
- The Owls rushing attacked raced to a season-high 286 yards and two scores against a UAB defense that was only allowing 92 yards per game on the ground. Malcolm Davidson led the Owls with 128 yards.
2 – Third down conversions for UAB in 13 tries.
3 – Conference titles in FAU program history. FAU won the Sun Belt in 2007 and C-USA in 2017.
4 – Passing touchdowns for FAU quarterback Chris Robison, the game’s MVP.
7 – Tackles for Keke Leroy, giving him 101 for the season.
8 – Tackles for Da’Von Brown, tops among Owls.
10 – Double digit margins of victory in the 10 FAU wins this season.
29 – First downs by FAU. UAB only managed 14.
112 – Receiving yards for DeAngelo Antoine, 28 yards more that UAB totaled as a team.
-Matt Wilson contributed to this report