December 26, 2008
COL FB: Florida Atl. 24, Cent. Michigan 21
Rusty Smith threw for two second-half touchdowns Friday to lift Florida Atlantic past Central Michigan 24-21 in the Motor City Bowl.
Smith piled up 307 passing yards and broke a 10-10 halftime tie by hitting Chris Bonner with a 52-yard scoring throw with 8:08 to play in the third period. The long pass capped a 98-yard drive.
After Central Michigan kicked a field goal late in the third, Smith finished off a 70-yard drive by throwing 18 yards to Cortez Gent.
The Chippawas closed within 24-21 on Dan LeFevour's 15-yard pass to Antonio Brown and a two-point conversion throw to Kito Poblah with 3:09 to play. But Central Michigan could not recover the ensuing onside kick and Florida Atlantic's Charles Pierre carried five straight times for 33 yards to run out the clock.
Florida Atlantic, which tied for third in the Sun Belt Conference, finished with a 7-6 record by posting its second straight bowl victory.
Central Michigan, which tied for second behind Ball State in the West Division of the Mid-American Conference, closed its season at 8-5.
The bowl action picks up Saturday with West Virginia meeting North Carolina in the Meineke Car Care Bowl, Wisconsin facing Florida State in the Champs Sports Bowl and Miami taking on California in the Emerald Bowl.