HUNTINGTON, W.V. – The FIU football team fell on the road at Marshall on Saturday afternoon by a score of 38-0.
The Panthers kept things tight in the opening quarter as they limited the Herd to three points. The second quarter is when Marshall started to take control by outscoring the Panthers 21-0 over the second 15 minutes of action.
FIU finished the contest with 288 total yards (108 rushing/180 passing). Marshall managed to register 456 yards en route to the victory (246 rushing/210 passing).
The Panther defense saw a total of three players record double-digit tackles – led by Daniel Jackson’s 14 stops. Richard Dames added 11 and Eric Mitchell tabbed 10.
Senior quarterback Max Bortenschlager completed 14-of-28 passes for 128 yards. Sophomore Tyrese Chambers was his top target with five receptions for 49 yards. Freshman Rivaldo Fairweather added 59 yards on four grabs.
FIU punter Tommy Heatherly put together a solid performance averaging 51.3 yards on six punts, including a long of 63 yards.
Marshall was paced to victory by running back Rasheen Ali, who averaged 5.1 yards per carry and finished with 133 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Herd signal caller Grant Wells completed 20-of-25 passes for 184 yards.
Following three punts on the opening three possessions, Marshall put the game’s first points on the board to take a 3-0 lead on a 29-yard field goal by sophomore Shane Ciucci to cap a 12-play, 68-yard drive that saw the Herd gain 48 of those yards on the ground.
Marshall extended the lead to 10-0 with nine minutes left in the second quarter on a two-yard scamper by Wells – his sixth rushing score of the season. The drive was sparked by a 38-yard punt return by senior Willie Johnson, which set up the Herd at the FIU 35 to start the possession.
Following an interception by Marshall’s Steven Gilmore on the Panthers’ second possession of the second quarter, the Herd wasted little time in increasing their lead to 17-0. Two plays after the pick, the Herd’s Sheldon Evans broke loose through the middle of the FIU defense for a 41-yard scoring burst at the 7:33 mark of the second quarter.
Ali added a six-yard scoring burst with 3:16 remaining until intermission to make the score 24-0. The score capped nine-play, 77-yard drive that was keyed by a 34-yard reception by Shadeed Ahmed.
The Panthers drove 48 yards on their final drive of the opening half but came away empty when a 44-yard field goal attempt by Chase Gabriel was blocked by Marshall’s TJ Johnson on the final play of the second quarter.
FIU posted a stop on Marshall’s opening possession of the second half and responded with a solid drive that set up Gabriel for a 34-yard field goal attempt, which was pushed wide to keep the score at 24-0. Fairweather posted a 41-yard catch on the drive to set up the attempt.
Ali capped a 16-play, 80-yard march by the Herd with his second touchdown of the contest – this one from two yards out to increase the lead to 31-0 with 30 ticks remaining in the third quarter.
Marshall capitalized following a failed attempt on a fourth down and one by the Panthers after it set up the Herd offense at the FIU 38-yard line. Ethan Payne finished off the drive for the Herd with a one-yard scoring run with 9:16 left in regulation to make the score 38-0.
· FIU senior punter Tommy Heatherly drilled a 63-yard punt in the second quarter. He has hit at least one punt over 50 yards in three of the last four games overall.
The beat goes on.
The Panthers return home to FIU Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 6 for a 6 p.m. ET kickoff against Old Dominion.
FIU Panthers contributed to this game recap