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Boca Raton Bowl preview

Boca Raton Bowl preview
UAB players celebrate after defeating Middle Tennessee 27-25 in the Conference USA championship game on Dec. 1. (Mark Humphrey / Associated Press)

Boca Raton Bowl

ALABAMA BIRMINGHAM (10-3) VS. NORTHERN ILLINOIS (8-5)

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at Boca Raton, Fla., 4 p.m. PST, ESPN

Alabama Birmingham is seeking its first bowl win in school history. The Blazers, whose program was reinstated last season following a two-year hiatus, won the Conference USA title for the first time. Northern Illinois is looking to end a streak of five consecutive bowl losses. The Huskies, who won the Mid-American Conference, are led on defense by junior end Sutton Smith, a first-team All-American who leads the nation with 15 sacks. Spencer Brown, a sophomore, has rushed for more than 1,000 yards in two straight seasons and needs 340 yards to become Alabama Birmingham’s all-time leading rusher.

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