Miami Sports Day

FIU: Morgan Throws for Career-High in Loss to LA Tech

RUSTON, Louisiana – James Morgan returned under center for FIU on Friday night as the quarterback threw for a career-high 394 yards, but the Panthers couldn’t overcome Louisiana Tech in Ruston after the Bulldogs earned a 43-31 victory.

Morgan finished the game with three touchdowns, two in the air and one on the ground, after he threw for 394 yards on 29-of-41 passing. Austin Maloney earned a career-high 113 yards receiving, while Shemar Thornton (97 yards) and Tony Gaiter IV (87) neared the century mark in receiving.

LA Tech’s Justin Henderson led the Bulldogs after earning 141 yards on the ground and scoring three times.

With the loss, FIU falls to 1-3 overall and 0-2 in league play, while LA Tech improves to 3-1 on the year and 1-0 in C-USA action.

Following a field goal by the Bulldogs to start the game, FIU turned a seven-play, 51-yard drive into three points as Jose Borregales split the uprights on a 36-yard field goal.

Trailing 10-3 following a touchdown run by LT’s Henderson, Morgan showed off his wheels as he slipped past the Bulldog defense on a 15-yard scamper to tie it up at 10-10 with under a minute to play in the half. LT moved the ball just 28 yards before time expired as Bailey Hale connected from 45 yards out to give the Bulldogs a 13-10 lead at the break.

The lead changed four times in the third quarter, highlighted by a pair of four-play scoring drives by FIU thanks to a two-yard rush from Anthony Jones and a 31-yard bomb from Morgan to Thornton, but LT’s Henderson scored twice on his own with each rushing touchdown coming from six yards out to give the Bulldogs a 27-24 lead entering the fourth quarter.

Hale connected on three of field goals in the fourth quarter to cap an 11-play, 12-play and six-play scoring drives to put LT up 36-24 with 2:17 remaining in the contest.

The Panthers would not relinquish however, as Morgan led the offense down the field in little over a minute to earn his second touchdown pass of the game after finding Jones for a 1-yard score to make it 36-31. With only 51 seconds remaining, the Panthers attempted an onside kick, but LT returned the attempt for a touchdown to bring the final score to 43-31.

The Panthers will now have a bye week before returning home to host UMass on Saturday, Oct. 5.

FIU NOTES: FIU falls to 0-4 all-time against Louisiana Tech…. Morgan threw for a career-high 394 yards, surpassing his previous mark of 389 set at Bowling Green in 2016…Austin Maloney earned a career-high 116 yards receiving, surpassing his previous total of 107 set last season at Charlotte….The 87 yards receiving for Tony Gaiter IV was also a career high….in just four games, Shemar Thornton has matched his season-high for receiving touchdowns after earning his second of the year….reshman David Reynolds earned his first career INT after picking off a pass that hit the foot of a LT offensive lineman….Rashad Colson earned his first career start at defensive tackle.

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