Jacksonville Sports Day

FIU Panthers Get Historic Win Over Miami Hurricanes

MIAMI – The FIU football program made history on Saturday night at the site of the former Orange Bowl Stadium, as the Panthers defeated the cross-town rival Miami Hurricanes by a score of 30-24 at Marlins Park.
 
With the win, FIU improves to 6-5 on the year and becomes bowl eligible for a record-setting third straight season. UM falls to 6-5 as well after its loss to the Panthers. FIU will return to C-USA play next Saturday as the Panthers travel to play at Marshall for the final game of the regular season. 

Anthony Jones led the Panthers with 112 rushing yards, including a game-sealing touchdown late in the fourth quarter. Tony Gaiter IV and Shemar Thornton each hauled in six receptions and a touchdown with 82 and 70 receiving yards, respectively. James Morgan had 160 yards passing on 16-of-30, with two scores and no interceptions. 
 
On the defensive side, Sage Lewis led the Panthers with 10 tackles and an interception. Jamal Gates and Stantley Thomas-Oliver III also grabbed an INT each for the Panther defense. 
 
FIU began the game with fireworks as Thomas-Oliver III picked off a pass by UM quarterback Jarren Williams on the Hurricanes’ first possession and returned the ball for 23 yards to the Hurricane 18-yard line.

After capitalizing on the turnover with a 29-yard field goal from Jose Borregales, Morgan orchestrated an 11-play, 80-yard drive on the Panthers’ ensuing possession and capped it with a 29-yard touchdown strike to Thornton, as the Panthers took a 10-0 lead over the Hurricanes.

UM’s offense came knocking on the Panthers’ door to follow as the Hurricanes penetrated into the redzone twice in the second quarter, but the Blue & Gold defense held strong and forced a turnover-on-downs on two separate occasions to preserve the first-half shutout over UM. FIU extended its lead to 13-0 just before halftime after Borregales connected on a 50-yard field goal attempt. 

The Panthers maintained momentum coming out of the locker room as the FIU defense nabbed two more interceptions in the third quarter. Lewis picked off Williams on the very first play of the second half, before Gates reeled in another INT on UM’s third possession of the half to set up a whopping 53-yard field goal by Borregales. Trailing by a score of 16-0, the Hurricanes added a field goal of their own before the end of the third quarter to finally grace the scoreboard. 
 
The scoring ramped up in the fourth quarter as FIU and UM combined for a total of 35 points in the final period. FIU extended its lead to 23-3 after Morgan found a wide-open Gaiter in the endzone, but the Hurricanes countered with two touchdown drives of their own to shorten the deficit to 23-17.

With roughly two minutes left to play and the Hurricanes challenging FIU, the Panthers shattered UM’s comeback hopes as Jones burst free for a 37-yard rushing touchdown and gave FIU a 30-17 lead.

The Hurricanes were able to tack on another last-second touchdown with 31 seconds left, but the Panthers recovered an onside kick by UM in the final moments to ice the game and claim one of the greatest victories in the history of FIU.

FIU wraps up the regular-season slate on the road against Marshall next Saturday, Nov. 30. Kickoff against the Thundering Herd is set for 12 p.m. ET at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.

FIU NOTES: FIU earned its first win over an ACC team in the history of the program. The win marks FIU’s second victory over a current Power-5 opponent.  FIU took its first lead ever over Miami after going up by a score of 3-0 in the first quarter. Jose Borregales’ 53-yard field goal ties an FIU school record, which was his own set last season against Middle Tennessee. Three interceptions are the most in a game by FIU this season. Sage Lewis recorded his third interception of the season. Anthony Jones ran past the century mark for the fourth time this season.

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