FAU BEAT SMU, 52-28, IN THE 2019 CHERIBUNDI BOCA RATON BOWL
BOCA RATON, Fla. — Florida Atlantic scored twice in the final minute of the first half to take a 28-14 lead. It never relinquished en route to a 52-28 victory over SMU in the 6th annual Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl.
After SMU (10-3) tied the game at 14 on Xavier Jones’ one-yard run with 2:12 remaining in the half, FAU swiftly moved 75 yards in seven plays, capped off by a James Charles 15-yard touchdown run at the one-minute mark. On the first play after the ensuing kickoff, Shane Buechele’s pass was intercepted by defensive MVP Rashad Smith (11 tackles, and a fumble recovery to go with the interception) at the SMU 35 and returned to the 13-yard line. Offensive MVP Chris Robison’s 13-yard pass to Brandon Robinson on the next play gave the Owls the two-score lead heading into the locker room.
FAU added two touchdowns in the third quarter, while holding SMU scoreless and entered the final quarter with an insurmountable 42-14 lead.
Robison set a Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl record with 27 completions (in 37 attempts) for 305 yards and two touchdowns. Charles added two scores on the ground. FAU tied the bowl record with its 52 points and the combined 80 points were the second most in the bowl’s history. FAU punter Matt Hayball, the game’s special teams MVP, set a bowl record with a 48-yard average on five punts.
SMU quarterback Shane Buechele also completed 27 passes and threw for over 300 yards (27-47 for 303) while wide receiver James Proche caught nine passes for 86 yards and a touchdown.
FAU was led by defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer, who was named interim coach after Lane Kiffin became the head coach at Ole Miss. The Owls finished the season 11-3, matching the best record in school history, achieved previously in 2017 when they also ended the season with a Boca Raton Bowl victory.