McGough, Smith Shine in FIU Homecoming Blowout Victory

Jacob Spiwak

Asst. Sports Director

There are few things in college football more exciting than the annual homecoming game. The stands are packed, the tailgate is electrifying and the parade fills everyone on campus with school spirit. The only way to make it better? Win the game – and that’s exactly what FIU did to celebrate homecoming 2015.

FIU saw a handful of records shattered on Saturday, Oct. 24, as sophomore quarterback and Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week, Alex McGough, led the Panthers (4-4, 2-2) to a 41-12 blowout victory over the Old Dominion University Monarchs (3-4, 1-2). Despite ODU actually gaining more yards on offense than FIU, the final result of this game was never in doubt.

As well as being arguably the most efficient offensive player for the Panthers on Saturday night, McGough also broke quite a few records. McGough finished the game completing 31 of his 39 pass attempts with an incredible 390 yards and three touchdowns. Not only did McGough surpass his previous career high of 270 passing yards, he also moved past former FIU QB Jake Medlock for the second most passing yards in a single game in school history.

McGough’s 17 touchdown passes on the season is already a school record, passing Wesley Carroll’s previous high of 16. As his time here at FIU goes on, McGough continues to make a very strong argument that he will become the greatest quarterback in school history. Quite frankly, I think he’s one appearance in a bowl game away from earning that title.

Tight end Jonnu Smith, who has pretty much already proven that he’s the greatest tight end FIU has ever had, finally had the incredible game we’ve all been waiting for this season. Smith finished the day with 10 receptions for 183 yards and three touchdowns. He hasn’t been having a bad season whatsoever, but after how impressive he looked a season ago, fans have been expecting a performance like that all year.

Smith also broke three records Saturday night: most career receiving yards for an FIU tight end (1,495), most career receptions for an FIU tight end (141) and even broke his own record for most receiving yards in a single game by an FIU tight end (183).

The Panthers’ offense once again showed up in a major way, continuing to prove that they’re a significantly better group than they were a season ago. McGough and Smith were the obvious top contributors against ODU, but it was a team effort that enabled FIU to have yet another impressive scoring performance.

FIU’s defense allowed just 12 points to a new look Monarchs offense, with sophomore linebacker, Anthony Wint, and senior cornerback, Jeremiah McKinnon, once again being the main defensive playmakers. Wint led the Panthers with seven total tackles, while McKinnon intercepted his third pass of the season.

Even though they had barely any points to show for it, ODU actually had the advantage over FIU in total offense. The Monarchs had a ridiculous 297 yards on the ground and 498 total yards, led by sophomore Ray Lawry’s 161 yards on 22 carries. FIU will have to sure things up defensively moving forward, especially with some tough games coming up.

The Panthers’ next game is the one we’ve all been waiting for. On Saturday, Oct. 31 at 3:30 p.m., FIU will take the field against their hated rival Florida Atlantic University in what’s sure to be a Halloween thriller. Not only is the Shula Bowl (currently owned by FIU) on the line, but the Panthers are still fighting to become bowl eligible. FAU would love nothing more than to defend their home field and play spoiler to FIU’s bowl chances, so we’ll certainly be in an exciting rivalry matchup.

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