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FIU falls short against UMass

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Something had to give. Both Florida International and Massachusetts entered Saturday’s game with 0-2 records.

One of these teams had to come away with their first win of the season. In the end, it was the Minutemen, who topped the Golden Panthers 21-13 in Amherst, Massachusetts.

After two blowout losses to Big 10 teams Indiana and Maryland, FIU was in this game to the end. But a key late turnover doomed their chances to win.

Quarterback Alex McGough threw three interceptions returned for touchdowns in the first two games, but suffered no interceptions on Saturday. Instead, a fumble at the UMass 43 in the closing moments allowed the Minutemen to run out the clock.

It started off well for the Panthers. Deonte Wilson intercepted a pass to end the Minutemen’s opening drive. After taking a 3-0 lead, UMass followed with two touchdowns to close the first half with a 14-3 lead.

The Panthers got within 14-13 late in the third quarter, but could not score again. McGough rushed for a first down on a fourth-and-one on their final drive, but he coughed up the ball.

FIU showed a running game on Saturday with Alex Gardner rushing for 130 yards on 23 carries.

The Panthers seek their first victory next week when they host Central Florida on Saturday night.



Bob Sparks is President of Ramos and Sparks Group, a Tallahassee-based business and political consulting firm. During his career, he has directed media relations and managed events for professional baseball, served as chief spokesperson for the Republican Party of Florida as well as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Attorney General of Florida. After serving as Executive Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Charlie Crist, he returned to the private sector working with clients including the Republican National Committee and political candidates in Japan. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife, Sue and can be reached at

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