LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) – Darriet Perry scored three second-half touchdowns and Florida International added a defensive score late in the third quarter on the way to a 38-17 win over Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday.
The Golden Panthers (5-5, 5-1) remained in first place in the Sun Belt Conference and can clinch their first conference title with a win in one of their remaining two games.
Perry had a 5-yard scoring run one play after quarterback Wesley Carroll hit T.Y. Hilton with a 49-yard pass to the Louisiana-Lafayette 5 on the third play of the second half. He later added scoring runs of 3 and 7 yards in the fourth quarter as FIU took its fifth win in its last six outings.
The Panthers picked off Ragin’ Cajun quarterback Blaine Gautier three times, and Junior Mertile returned the second of those 26 yards for a touchdown with 4:05 left in the third quarter. That gave FIU a 24-10 lead, but Gautier broke a 55-yard run touchdown run one minute later.
FIU locked up the win with a 94-yard drive early in the fourth quarter, one capped by Perry’s 3-yard run. Gautier was intercepted by Toronto Smith on the next series, and Perry scored three plays later for the final margin.
FIU had a 99-yard scoring drive in the first half, with Carroll hitting Jon Faucher with a 6-yard scoring pass for a 7-0 lead early in the second quarter on the way to a 7-3 halftime lead.
Perry finished with 77 rushing yards and Carroll was 16 of 19 passing for 162 yards.
Gautier, making his second start, rushed for 112 yards and was 13 of 29 passing for 186 yards for the Cajuns (2-9, 2-5), who have lost seven straight.