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College Football
Southern Methodist vs Florida Atlantic
When: 3:30 PM ET, Saturday, December 21, 2019
Where: FAU Football Stadium, Boca Raton, Florida


1. Florida Atlantic will be coached by defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer, who was named interim head coach after Lane Kiffin departed to become head coach at Ole Miss, in the matchup against SMU on Dec. 21 at Boca Raton, Fla. The Owls went 26-13 under Kiffin in three seasons, winning their second Conference USA championship in that time after defeating Alabama-Birmingham. Under Spencer, in his first year at the school, the Owls were third in C-USA in scoring defense (22.3 points allowed per game) and first in interceptions (21).

2. SMU is looking for its first bowl win since 2012 and first under second-year head coach Sonny Dykes. The Mustangs' offense, ranked No. 9 nationally, set multiple school records including scoring average (43 points) and yards per game (495.3). Five starters on offense were named to All-American Athletic Conference teams, including junior quarterback Shane Buechele, who led the conference in passing yards (3,626) and passing touchdowns (33) in his first year at the school after transferring from Texas.

3. Florida Atlantic will play in the bowl game at its home stadium for the second time in the game's history, defeating Akron in 2017 and contributing to Conference USA's 5-0 record. The Owls went 5-2 at FAU Stadium this season while SMU was 4-2 on the road. Despite it being a true road game, Mustangs Athletics Director Rick Hart told the Dallas Morning News that they are "up for the challenge" and that many players voiced their desire to play in the bowl.

TV: 3:30, p.m. ET, ABC. LINE: SMU -3.5.

ABOUT SMU (10-2): Buechele's success could be attributed to having two top receivers in James Proche and Reggie Roberson Jr., who were second and third in the conference in receiving yards per game, respectively, with Proche's 14 touchdowns landing him at second in the conference and tied for third in the country while currently leading all active FBS receivers in receptions, yards and touchdowns. Doak Walker Award semifinalist Xavier Jones had seven games with multiple rushing touchdowns en route to a conference-leading 19, tied for second most in the nation. Safety Patrick Nelson (12) and defensive end Delontae Scott (10) were both in the top four in the AAC in sacks and tackles for loss (18 and 17, respectively), leading to both defenders getting all-conference nods.

ABOUT FLORIDA ATLANTIC (10-3): The Owls boasted the best scoring offense in Conference USA (35.2 points per game) behind redshirt sophomore quarterback Chris Robinson, who led the league in total passing yards (3,396) and was second with 26 passing touchdowns. Senior tight end Harrison Bryant caught 65 passes for 1,004 yards and seven touchdowns, just the third tight end in conference history to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark, while wide receivers Deangelo Antoine and John Mitchell each hauled in five touchdowns apiece. Redshirt junior cornerback Meiko Dotson led the nation with nine interceptions and the team's total of 21 is a school-record.

PREDICTION: SMU 35, Florida Atlantic 31
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W‑L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
Southern Methodist 10-2 W1 43.0 31.8 6-0 4-2 2-0 1-0 6-2
Florida Atlantic 10-3 W6 35.2 22.3 5-2 5-1 6-2 1-0 8-1
Last Meeting
Southern Methodist Florida Atlantic
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
No previous meeting.
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Southern Methodist N/A
Florida Atlantic N/A
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Southern Methodist N/A
Florida Atlantic N/A
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Southern Methodist N/A
Florida Atlantic N/A
Touchdowns Player TD
Southern Methodist N/A
Florida Atlantic N/A
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Southern Methodist S. Buechele 63.2 3626 33 9
Florida Atlantic C. Robison 60.6 3392 26 6
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Southern Methodist X. Jones 232 1249 5.4 21
Florida Atlantic M. Davidson 101 702 7.0 9
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Southern Methodist J. Proche 102 1139 11.2 14
Florida Atlantic H. Bryant 65 1004 15.4 7
Touchdowns Player TD
Southern Methodist X. Jones 23
Florida Atlantic M. Davidson 9
Quickchart Matchup
Southern Methodist Southern Methodist Off vs  Florida Atlantic Florida Atlantic Def
Southern Methodist 495.2 yards
Florida Atlantic 371.3 yards
Southern Methodist 4.5 yards/rush
Florida Atlantic 3.9 yards/rush
Southern Methodist 8.2 yards/attempt
Florida Atlantic 7.1 yards/attempt
Florida Atlantic Florida Atlantic Off vs  Southern Methodist Southern Methodist Def
Florida Atlantic 443.5 yards
Southern Methodist 438.6 yards
Florida Atlantic 4.3 yards/rush
Southern Methodist 3.9 yards/rush
Florida Atlantic 7.8 yards/attempt
Southern Methodist 7.7 yards/attempt