Published On: Mon, Dec 2nd, 2019

FAU defeats Southern Miss, 34-17, will host UAB in C-USA Championship

Photo provided by FAU Sports

In Lane Kiffin’s third season as Florida Atlantic University’s football head coach, the Owls are headed back to the Conference USA Championship game on Saturday, Dec. 7, as they will play against the University of Alabama-Birmingham Blazers.

The Owls, who defeated the University of North Texas Mean Green in the championship game in 2017, 41-17, did not reach the championship game last season, as they finished 5-7 overall. 

However, with a current record of 9-3 and a first place 7-1 record in the conference, FAU will have the chance to repeat the 2017 season and even go to a highly anticipated bowl game.

This comes after the Owls defeated the University of Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles on Saturday, Nov. 30, 34-17, at FAU Stadium and recorded a season-high five takeaways on defense. 

Leading the way for the defense was linebacker Akileis Leroy with 11 tackles, as well as cornerback Meiko Dotson, who intercepted his eighth pass of the season toward the end of the second quarter to set the single-season record for interceptions in FAU history. The record was previously set by former cornerback Jalen Young in 2017 with seven and the team now has 19 interceptions on the year which is tied for second all-time with the 2007 team, only behind  the 2017 team’s 20 interceptions.

“[If] you get five turnovers on defense and two more fourth-down stops, you’re going to win a lot of games,” Kiffin said during his post-game press conference. “Proud of these players to win the division in two of three years.”

While defense seemed to highlight the Owls road to victory against the Golden Eagles, the offense also did its part, led by quarterback Chris Robison, who started the game 0-4 on completions, but went 4-for-4 for 111 yards and two touchdowns on the next two offensive possessions.

Robison, who threw three touchdowns in the game, including a 19-yard reception to running back James Charles and a 15-yard pass to tight end Harrison Bryant, gave the team an early 17-0 lead before the Golden Eagles began to respond back.

However, FAU’s 300 total yards on 51 plays compared to Southern Miss’s 258  yards on 76 plays was what sealed the victory for the team, as they held possession of the football for the final three minutes and 59 seconds of the game. 

“Our team worked really hard this season and I think we deserve [going to the C-USA Championship],” Robison said. “After we lost to Marshall, we knew the championship wasn’t in our hands, but our guys didn’t lose the fight.”

The C-USA Championship between FAU and UAB will be at 1:30p.m. and tickets for the game can be purchased now through each university’s athletic departments.

About the Author

- Justin Baronoff is currently a junior at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, FL. He is pursuing a major in Multimedia Journalism, where he hopes to some day write for major news media publications, such as the New York Times, ESPN, or even Billboard Magazine. In high school, Justin wrote for his high school newspaper for three years where he was a staff reporter for the first two years before becoming the Sports Editor in his final year. At FAU during the first semester of his sophomore year, he began interning for, where he wrote about and covered his favorite professional football team, the New York Jets, and his favorite professional basketball team, the New York Knicks. Then during his second semester of his sophomore year, he began writing for FAU's student newspaper, the University Press, as a contributing writer. Justin now serves a News Writer Intern for the Boca Raton Tribune.

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