BOCA RATON, Fla. -- Richard Leonard returned a third-quarter kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown, swinging the momentum back to Florida International in its 34-24 Sun Belt Conference victory over Florida Atlantic on Friday night.
Leonard's touchdown gave the Golden Panthers (3-8, 2-5) a 20-17 lead after the Owls (3-8, 2-5) had gone ahead for the first time in the game.
FIU made it 27-17 just before the end of the quarter with a 73-yard drive that featured seven completions by Jake Medlock and ended with his 15-yard pass to Wayne Times.
Graham Wilbert, who completed 28 of 51 for 403 yards, found Jenson Stoshak for a 60-yard score to make it 27-24, but FIU restored its 10-point lead with a touchdown and the defenses took over after that.
The Golden Panthers, who beat FAU 41-7 last year and move to Conference USA next season, retained the rivalry's Don Shula Trophy.
|FIU||Willis Wright 38 yd pass from Jake Medlock (Jack Griffin kick)|
|FAU||Nexon Dorvilus 17 yd pass from Graham Wilbert (Mitch Anderson kick)|
|FIU||Rupert Bryan 5 yd run (Jack Griffin kick)|
|FAU||Mitch Anderson 37 yd FG|
|FAU||Jonathan Wallace 1 yd run (Mitch Anderson kick)|
|FIU||Richard Leonard 100 yd kick return (missed kick)|
|FIU||Wayne Times 15 yd pass from Jake Medlock (Jack Griffin kick)|
|FAU||Jenson Stoshak 60 yd pass from Graham Wilbert (Mitch Anderson kick)|
|FIU||Kedrick Rhodes 1 yd run (Jack Griffin kick)|
|Third Down Efficiency||6-13||4-15|
|Fourth Down Efficiency||0-0||1-2|
|Kick Return Yds||196||42|
|Punt Return Yds||24||18|
|Time of Poss.||31:42||28:18|
|FIU: Kedrick Rhodes 18-99, Jake Medlock 12-36, Darian Mallary 7-32, Rupert Bryan 1-5, Team 1--5|
|FAU: Jonathan Wallace 10-21, Damian Fortner 3--3, Daniel McKinney 2--5, Graham Wilbert 4--25|
|FIU: Jake Medlock 17-28-264-0|
|FAU: Graham Wilbert 28-51-403-1|
|FIU: Wayne Times 5-53, Jacob Younger 4-94, Kedrick Rhodes 3-35, Willis Wright 2-55, Glenn Coleman 2-17, T.J. Lowder 1-10|
|FAU: Daniel McKinney 7-90, William Dukes 6-116, Jenson Stoshak 5-108, Damian Fortner 5-45, Nexon Dorvilus 3-30, Jonathan Wallace 1-9, Robert Lohnes 1-5|
|Florida International||5th Conference USA East||1-7||1-11|
|Florida Atlantic||4th Conference USA East||4-4||6-6|