The FIU Panthers had a bye week, returned with fresh legs for a homecoming game hosting the Middle Tennessee Raiders.
The Panthers made it complex instead.
Panthers defensive back Olin Cushion III intercepted Raiders quarterback Asher O’Hara’s pass in the end zone with 34 seconds left, securing FIU’s 24-21 win over Middle Tennessee on Saturday night.
“It was the biggest play of my football career,” Cushion said.
It was Cushion’s first career interception.
Panthers quarterback James Morgan connected on a 23-yard TD pass to Florida Gators transfer CJ Worton making the score 24-21 for the Panthers (4-2, 2-0 Conference USA) with 3:55 left in the game. Morgan was 27 of 36 for 311 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Worton had five catches for 113 yards and the touchdown.
After throwing those two touchdown passes in the game, Morgan now has 14 touchdown passes for the season. He currently has the most touchdown passes for any Panthers quarterback in his six games at FIU.
Morgan was not the homecoming king, however, there was notice taken in Conference USA. Morgan was named to Manning Award Stars of the Week and Morgan Named to Davey O’Brien Great 8 List after his performance. Morgan posted his second-straight 300-yard passing game placing the Panthers in first place in the C-USA East.
Tavares Thomas finished with two TD runs for the Blue Raiders, giving him five against FIU in his career. He had three scores on six carries last year.
Panthers were down 21-13 entering the fourth quarter; they converted a field goal, touchdown and two-point conversation scoring 11 unanswered points in the fourth quarter. Panthers have outscored 42-6 in the fourth quarter this season.
There were more crowns handed out after the game. Before the end of the first half, Jose Borregales kicked a career-long 53-yard field goal that pulled the Panthers within 14-13.
Borregales was named C-USA Special Teams Player of the Week. The honor for Borregales is his first C-USA Special Teams Player of the Week recognition. Coming into the 2018 season, Borregales was named to the Lou Groza Award Watch List after his stellar freshman campaign.
The beat goes on as Middle Tennessee plays host to Charlotte, while FIU remains home for Rice.