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MIAMI (AP) — T.Y. Hilton returned a punt 97 yards for a score as Florida International routed Florida Atlantic 41-7 on Saturday night.
Hilton’s return, among the 31 unanswered points scored by FIU (6-4, 3-3 Sun Belt Conference) in the first half, helped the Panthers defeat the Owls for the first time since 2005 and become bowl eligible for the second year in a row. The win was only their second against Florida Atlantic (0-9, 0-6).
FAU stretched its losing streak to 12 games, dating to last season, and the Owls were penalized 14 times for 142 yards.
Quarterback Jake Medlock started in place of Wesley Carroll and threw for 135 yards on 18-of-24 passing. He gave the Panthers a 10-0 lead on a 2-yard touchdown run and later threw a 9-yard TD pass to Willis Wright that made the score 24-0 with 9:52 left in the second quarter.
Kedrick Rhodes rushed for 122 yards on 16 carries and scored on a 12-yard run with 11:36 left in the second quarter to make the score 17-0.
Alfred Morris led FAU with 110 yards on 21 carries. FAU’s Graham Wilbert hit Marcus Cunningham for a 22-yard touchdown that made the score 31-7 with 9:43 remaining in the third quarter.
Wilbert was 17-of-30 for 164 yards and the touchdown, but he threw three interceptions. Cunningham caught six passes for 76 yards and the score for the Owls.
Jack Griffin kicked field goals of 28 and 37 yards, and Darriet Perry’s 2-yard run with 3:50 left in the game gave FIU the final margin.
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