FIU Loses In Louisiana Again, Even With James Morgan Getting The Start

Injuries, costly mistakes, and a controversial call have FIU Football sitting at 1-3 to start the season and 0-2 in conference play.

Quarterback James Morgan made his return in this game against the LA Tech Bulldogs on Friday, Sept. 21. 

Morgan ended the game with a career-high 394 yards and two touchdowns in the air along with a nice rushing touchdown in the red zone. 

Backup quarterback Kaylan Wiggins, coming off his record-setting performance against University New Hampshire, played a few downs but was held to only two carries and no pass attempts.

With the Panthers needing a touchdown to take the lead in the fourth quarter, Morgan threw a costly interception that iced the game for the Bulldogs.

Receiver Austin Maloney had a big night with five catches for 113 yards. Maloney made a few big plays including a 45-yard bomb that put the Panthers in the red zone. Maloney only registered five catches for 94 yards to start the season so this was a breakout game for him this season. 

A controversial decision by the referees in the first quarter denied running back Anthony Jones a touchdown and changed the course of the game. 

Jones leaped over the pile on the goalline and seemed to get into the endzone before fumbling the ball, recovered by the Bulldogs. After video review, the officials ruled that it was a fumble although multiple angles suggest Jones crossed the plane. 

Injuries continue to plague the Panthers this season. Starting middle linebacker Sage Lewis left the game in the second quarter and would not return for the rest of the night causing the Panthers’ run defense fell apart. 

Bulldogs’ running back Justin Henderson had a career night rushing with 141 yards and three touchdowns on 15 carries. 

FIU’s offense looked much improved with Morgan back under center but the holes in the defense continue to show.  FIU posted a season-high and points and their passing offense was much improved from the first three weeks.

The Panthers’ bye week couldn’t come at a better time after their 43-31 loss. They’ll have an extra week to evaluate and get healthy before taking on Umass Saturday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. at Riccardo Silva stadium.