MIAMI, FL (KTSM) – Anthony Jones had a 65-yard run and a 61-yard catch, both late in the game, keying FIU’s 32-17 win over UTEP on Saturday night at Riccardo Silva Stadium.
The Miners (1-5, 0-3 C-USA) trailed 18-7 before FIU quarterback James Morgan connected with Jones on the 61-yard pass play. It was the final play of the third quarter. Two plays later, Jones ran for a three-yard TD, putting the Panthers ahead 25-7.
After UTEP made it a two-possession game (25-10) on a 23-yard field goal by Gavin Baechle, Jones broke loose for the 65-yard run, setting up Napoleon Maxwell’s 10-yard rushing score and a 32-10 cushion.
The two big plays were back breakers for a UTEP defense that allowed only 209 yards the rest of the night. FIU (4-3, 2-2 C-USA) entered the game coming off consecutive 40-point performances against UMass and Charlotte. The Panthers had averaged 539 yards in their previous three contests.
Against UTEP, FIU finished with 335 yards. The Miners were held to 283 yards.
Brandon Jones quarterbacked the Miners in the first half. He completed 5-of-9 passes for 34 yards with an interception.
The Miners outplayed the Panthers in the first quarter and took a 7-3 lead after 15 minutes. Treyvon Hughes’ one-yard touchdown run capped an impressive 13-play, 75-yard drive that ate over seven minutes off the clock.
FIU scored 15 points in a little more than four minutes to start the second period. A nine-yard touchdown pass from Morgan to Shemar Thornton put the Panthers back in front, 10-7. On the Miners’ next play from scrimmage, a fumbled snap led to a safety and a 12-7 FIU lead. The Panthers marched to the UTEP 17-yard line on their next series and cashed in with a 34-yard field goal by Jose Borregales.
Borregales added a 46-yard field goal with 4:48 remaining in the quarter, and the 18-7 lead held up at halftime.
Locksley came on for the second half and completed 7-of-12 passes for 117 yards. He also rushed 12 times for 63 yards. UTEP scored a late touchdown off a 34-yard pass from Locksley to Jacob Cowing.
The Miners gained 219 of their 283 yards on the three scoring drives. UTEP dominated the time of possession line (37:08 to 22:52), but was whistled for 10 penalties totaling 106 yards.
Hughes added 51 yards rushing on 19 carries for the Miners. The freshman Cowing scored his first touchdown in the Orange and Blue.
Jones rushed 15 times for 102 yards for the Panthers, who ran for 185 yards as a team. Morgan completed 9-of-17 passes for 150 yards.
Josh Caldwell was UTEP’s top defender with a career-high tying seven tackles.
UTEP will return to action at home versus LA Tech next Saturday. Kickoff is at 6 p.m. MDT.