FAU tops SMU in 1st game af­ter Kif­fin

Lib­erty, San Diego State, N.C. A&T also post wins

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - COLLEGE FOOTBALL -

Chris Ro­bi­son passed for 305 yards and two touch­downs and Florida At­lantic scored two touch­downs in a 24-sec­ond span late in the first half to take con­trol on the way to beat­ing SMU, 52-28, in the Boca Ra­ton Bowl on Satur­day night.

It was FAU’s first game since Lane Kif­fin left the Owls to take over at Ole Miss — and the Con­fer­ence USA cham­pi­ons, play­ing on their home field, didn’t miss a beat un­der in­terim coach Glenn Spencer.

James Charles ran for two touch­downs for FAU (11-3), which tied a school record for wins in a sea­son and im­proved to 4-0 in bowl games.

The first of Charles’ scores came with a minute left in the first half to break a 14-14 tie, Ro­bi­son found Brandon Robinson for another touch­down 24 sec­onds later af­ter an SMU in­ter­cep­tion and the Owls were off and run­ning.

Rashad Smith ran a fum­ble back for a score in the third quar­ter to help FAU blow the game open. Ro­bi­son com­pleted 27 of 37 passes for FAU.

Shane Buchele com­pleted 27 for 47 passes for 303 yards for SMU (10-3). The Mus­tangs were seek­ing their first bowl win since 2012, this game com­ing a day af­ter they gave coach Sonny Dykes — who has gone 15-11 in his first two sea­sons with the team, in­clud­ing the 2017 Frisco Bowl loss — a con­tract ex­ten­sion.

Xavier Jones had a pair of rush­ing touch­downs for SMU. James Proche, who en­tered as the NCAA’s ac­tive ca­reer leader in re­cep­tions and re­ceiv­ing yards, had nine catches — giv­ing him 301 for his ca­reer — for 86 yards and a score for the Mus­tangs.

Cure Bowl

Lib­erty 23, Ge­or­gia South­ern 16: Frankie Hick­son picked up 120 yards rush­ing on 22 car­ries, Stephen Calvert went 16 of 35 pass­ing for 270 yards and two touch­downs for Lib­erty.

Hick­son be­came the first Lib­erty run­ning back since Rashad Jen­nings (2006-08) to have back to back sea­sons of 1,000-yards rush­ing.

Flames coach Hugh Freeze, who be­gan his first sea­son coach­ing Lib­erty from a hos­pi­tal bed in the press box fol­low­ing back surgery on Aug. 16, got his 50th ca­reer win.

Lib­erty (8-5) joined Ge­or­gia South­ern and Ap­palachian State as the only teams to move from FCS to FBS and win a bowl game in its first sea­son of el­i­gi­bil­ity.

Shai Werts com­pleted 10 of 19 passes for 95 yards and gained 57 yards on 22 car­ries for Ge­or­gia South­ern (7-6). Wes­ley Kennedy III had 104 yards on nine rush­ing at­tempts.

New Mex­ico Bowl

San Diego State 48, C. Michi­gan 11: Ryan Agnew passed for 287 yards and three touch­downs, Jesse Matthews caught three passes for 111 yards and two touch­downs and San Diego State won a bowl game for the first time since 2016, beat­ing Cen­tral Michi­gan.

Jor­dan Byrd ran for a ca­reer-high 139 yards and a touch­down to help the Aztecs (10-3) cap their 10th straight bowl ap­pear­ance with a vic­tory.

San Diego State opened 7-1 record, then dropped two of its last three con­fer­ence games to fall out of con­tention for a Moun­tain West ti­tle game berth

It was a home­com­ing for San Diego State coach Rocky Long.

He last won the New Mex­ico Bowl in 2007 as New Mex­ico’s coach and is 4-9 in bowl games.

San Diego State pre­vented Cen­tral Michi­gan (8-6) from sus­tain­ing con­sis­tent, with quar­ter­back Quin­ten Dor­mady un­der pres­sure and forced to throw into tight cov­er­age.

Camel­lia Bowl

Arkansas State 34, Florida In­ter­na­tional 26: Layne Hatcher com­pleted 27-of-51 passes for 393 yards and four touch­downs to lead the Red Wolves to the vic­tory over the Pan­thers.

Cel­e­bra­tion Bowl

N.C. A&T 64, Al­corn State 44: Kylil Carter passed for six touch­downs and North Carolina A&T racked up enor­mous of­fen­sive to­tals to beat Al­corn State for the Ag­gies’ third con­sec­u­tive HBCU na­tional cham­pi­onship ti­tle.

Carter com­pleted 18 of 30 passes for 364 yards, and added 96 on the ground. Korey Banks and Eli­jah Bell each caught a pair of scor­ing passes for NCA&T, which has beaten Al­corn State in three of the five Cel­e­bra­tion Bowls — in­clud­ing two straight.

Al­corn State quar­ter­back Felix Harper passed for 341 yards and three scores.

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