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Conference USA Championship: Florida Atlantic 49, Alabama-Birmingham 6

BOCA RATON, Fla. - Lane Kiffin and Florida Atlantic are Conference USA champions again.

And now all eyes are on Kiffin's next move.

Chris Robison threw for 267 yards and four touchdowns, BJ Emmons ran for a pair of scores and Florida Atlantic rolled past UAB 49-6 for the Owls' second Conference USA title in Kiffin's three seasons as coach.

Malcolm Davidson rushed for 128 yards and Deangelo Antoine had five catches for 112 yards for the Owls (10-3), who had no trouble with the league's top-ranked defense. UAB (9-4) allowed a season-high in points and a season-high 585 yards.

It was a matchup of the last two Conference USA champions - FAU in 2017, UAB in 2018 - and it was never in doubt.

So FAU got to celebrate a title.

The other schools in Conference USA get to celebrate as well, with Kiffin expected to become the next coach at Ole Miss. He's gone 20-6 in league games with the Owls, including a pair of romps in conference title games.

And if he was distracted in any way by all the buzz surrounding his next move - Ole Miss tweeted out cryptic references to him Saturday afternoon, and FAU football highlights were shown on the jumbotron at the Rebels' basketball game - Kiffin hid it all well.

When UAB jumped early on fourth-and-inches from its own 35 early in the second quarter, Kiffin threw both fists over his head then clapped for several seconds. A UAB penalty a few moments later had him punching the air again.

And when FAU blocked a punt for a touchdown and a 28-3 lead midway through the second, Kiffin took off in a 40-yard sprint, leaping several times along the way. The rout was on, and the farewell - that is, if he doesn't coach the bowl game - was already becoming a celebration.

Associated Press


December 7, 2019

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