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Florida Atlantic gives Schnellenberger a win

December 22, 2007|From the Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS -- Howard Schnellenberger's reaction to having a bucket of icy sports drink dumped on him showed precisely why Florida Atlantic chose him to build its fledgling football program.

The 73-year-old coach didn't flinch.

He'd been there before. Now so has the team he started from scratch.

Rusty Smith threw for 336 yards and a New Orleans Bowl-record five touchdowns to lead Florida Atlantic to a 44-27 victory over Memphis (7-6) on Friday night.

"Obviously, we're really proud," Schnellenberger said. "We have a strong squad. I think we can compete with America."

It was the first bowl game for Florida Atlantic (8-5), which has had a football team for only seven seasons at its Boca Raton, Fla., campus and didn't join the NCAA's Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) until 2005.

Schnellenberger, who led Miami to the 1983 national championship with an Orange Bowl triumph over Nebraska, is 5-0 in bowl games during his 23 seasons as a head coach.

He won the 1980 Peach Bowl with Miami and two bowl games with Louisville, the 1990 Fiesta Bowl and the 1993 Liberty Bowl.

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