Miami Sports Day

Panthers Devour Minutemen, 44-0; Alexander Named C-USA Special Teams Player of the Week

Photo by Michael Berlfein/FIU Athletics

MIAMI  – The FIU football team posted its best performance of the season as the Panthers shutout the UMass Minutemen by the final margin of 44-0 on Saturday night.

With the win, FIU improves to 2-3 on the year and UMass drops to 1-5. FIU will return to C-USA play next Saturday as the Panthers host Charlotte for Homecoming.

FIU outgained UMass 541-115 on the night, as the Panthers earned their largest margin of victory of the season.

James Morgan led the Panthers with 263 yards passing and two touchdowns. Morgan’s favorite target on the night was Tony Gaiter IV, who caught a career-high seven passes for 103 yards and a score.

Defensively, FIU was led by Jamal Gates who earned six tackles. Sage Lewis picked off his second pass of the season, while also earning three tackles and a QB hurry.

On special teams, Jose Borregales was 3-for-3 on field goals as he connected from 22, 29 and 45. Maurice Alexander had another electric night in the return game as he raced past the Minutemen for a 90-yard punt return for a score.

After jumping ahead 17-0, Alexander turned on the jets and returned a punt 90 yards to put FIU out front 24-0 early in the second quarter. The Panthers continued the onslaught midway through as Borregales tacked on his second field goal of the game, before Morgan floated a pass to Austin Maloney for a 30-yard score right before halftime.

Coming out of the break and leading 34-0, FIU turned to the ground game as Napoleon Maxwell smashed his way across the goal line for a one-yard score, before Borregales booted a 45-yard field goal to push the lead to 44-0. The Panthers held the Minutemen scoreless from there on out, as FIU earned the 44-0 victory.

Alexander was named the Conference USA Special Team Player of the Week on Monday.

The weekly conference award is the first of Alexander’s career, while it marks the first league laurel for the Panthers this season. After his stellar play last year, Alexander was honored as a C-USA First Teamer for special teams following the 2018 season.

His 90-yard return ranks as the second-longest in program history, behind only T.Y. Hilton’s 97-yard return in 2011 versus Florida Atlantic.

The Florida City native finished the game with 140 total punt return yards, as he also had a 50-yard return. With Alexander’s career night, the senior now leads the nation with his 28.7 yards per punt return average. Additionally, the 90 yard return and 140 total punt return yards are the most by any player in the nation this season.

FIU will continue its home stretch this Saturday as the Panthers host Charlotte for Homecoming at 7 p.m. ET

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