Miami, FL (12/1/07) FIU won its first game of the season, 38-19, defeating the North Texas football team on Saturday night at the Orange Bowl.
The Mean Green finishes its season with a 2-10 overall record and a 1-6 Sun Belt mark, while the Golden Panthers snap a 23-game losing streak. This was the last college football game to be played at the historic Orange Bowl.
North Texas held two early leads in the first quarter, but the FIU offense took over in the second quarter with three touchdowns. The Golden Panthers outscored the Mean Green in the second half, 17-7.
In the second quarter the Golden Panthers returned a kick-off for a touchdown and followed five minutes later with a 58-yard touchdown pass. North Texas saw a five-point lead, 12-7, turn into a nine-point deficit, 21-12, in a span of minutes.
FIU had big plays for touchdowns, while North Texas was hurt by penalties and two interceptions. The Mean Green held the edge in total offense (348 to 344) and time of possession (32:32 to 27:28 but was hurt by three turnovers. This was the fifth time this year that NT outgained its opponent in total offense and lost the game.
North Texas took an early 6-0 lead on a one-yard run by Jamario Thomas two minutes in. It was Thomas’ eighth touchdown of the year and the 27th of his career. He stands alone in third place on North Texas’ career-rushing touchdowns list. Thomas Moreland had his extra-point partially blocked.
Each team in the first quarter missed field goals before the Golden Panthers outscored the Mean Green, 21-6 in the second quarter. The teams exchanged leads, starting with an FIU 22-touchdown run by Julian Reams, which gave the Golden Panthers a 7-6 advantage.
Mosley gave North Texas the lead back, 12-7, with a one-yard touchdown run. The Mean Green came up empty with the two-point conversion. It was Mosley’s fifth rushing touchdown of the year.
The momentum swung back to FIU for good as Lionell Singleton returned a kick-off for a touchdown, the second time this season that North Texas has allowed a kick-off to come back for a score. On FIU’s next drive, North Texas allows a 58-yard touchdown catch and run, to put FIU ahead, 21-12, at the half.
A fumbled punt return by North Texas led to another score by FIU in the third quarter. FIU quarterback Paul McCall found Marquis Role in the endzone for a 31-yard touchdown play. 28-12
North Texas cut the lead to nine with a seven-yard touchdown reception by Brock Stickler to make the score, 28-19. It was Stickler’s second touchdown reception of the season and the Mean Green’s first since the Navy game.
FIU extended the lead to 35-19 with a 23-touchdown reception by Jeremy Dickens and sealed the game in the fourth quarter with a 28-yard field goal.
Freshman linebacker Craig Robertson intercepted his fifth pass of the season which leads all North Texas defenders. It is also the most interceptions by a North Texas player since Don McGeen had five in 2002.