All good things must come to an end, including the three-game winning streak by the Florida International Panthers. Louisiana Tech came to Miami and knocked off FIU 44-24 in a Conference USA contest.
The Bulldogs were two-touchdown favorites, but after taking a 27-10 lead at halftime, FIU had a chance to make it a game. A 99-yard drive early in the third quarter, capped by a 30-yard touchdown pass from Alex McGough to Thomas Owens, made it 27-17.
After FIU got the ball back, McGough threw a critical interception returned by Xavier Woods to the one-yard line. Two plays later, the Bulldogs’ 17-point lead was restored.
It was McGough’s 10th interception of the season. Four of those have been returned for touchdowns and this one was just as devastating.
After sitting out a series, McGough came back to lead the Panthers on a fourth-quarter touchdown drive, but it was for naught. Carlos Henderson took ensuing kickoff 92 yards for the clinching score with 6 minutes left.
Despite the interception, McGough passed for 281 yards and three touchdowns. It was a pass-oriented offense as the Panthers rushed for only 67 yards.
Louisiana Tech was led by Ryan Higgins, who passed for 269 yards and two touchdowns. Trent Taylor hauled in 11 passes for 156 yards and a touchdown.
Interim Head Coach Ron Cooper suffered his first loss of his brief career. After winning his first three games, the Panthers are now 3-1 under his leadership.
FIU also suffered their first conference loss of the season. Next week FIU hosts Middle Tennessee State, who shocked Missouri of the SEC on Saturday, 51-45.