(Saturday, November 29th)
Final Score: Florida Atlantic 57, Florida International 50 (OT)
Miami, FL (Sports Network) - Rusty Smith's nine-yard touchdown pass to Cortez Gent in overtime propelled the Florida Atlantic Owls to a 57-50 win over the Florida International Golden Panthers in the fourth annual Shula Bowl at Dolphin Stadium.
Smith finished the day with 389 yards and five touchdowns on 25-of-50 passing for FAU (6-6, 4-3 SBC). Gent finished with 108 yards and three touchdowns on seven receptions, while Chris Bonner grabbed six passes for 139 yards. Jamari Grant was also heavily involved, catching seven passes for 80 yards and two scores.
FIU (4-7, 3-4) quarterback Paul McCall completed 27-of-47 passes for 400 yards and four TDs. Greg Ellingson had 138 yards and a touchdown on seven receptions, while T.Y. Hilton caught four passes for 99 yards and two scores. Darriet Perry carried 16 times for 115 yards and two TDs.
The Owls drove right down the field on their opening possession, with Charles Pierre crossing the goal line on a two-yard run to give FAU an early 7-0 lead.
But the Golden Panthers answered right back on their initial possession, as McCall hooked up with Hilton for a 60-yard scoring strike.
Later in the opening quarter, Smith connected with Grant for a two-yard touchdown pass to put FAU on top, 14-7.
The Golden Panthers responded with a seven-play, 60-yard drive, capped by Hilton's six-yard touchdown run. However, kicker Dustin Rivest could not convert the extra point.
The scoring died down until the final seconds of the first half, when Rivest kicked a 22-yard field goal to give FIU a 16-14 lead.
FIU took a 22-14 lead on a four-yard touchdown run by Perry at the 8:57 mark of the third quarter, although the Panthers botched another extra-point attempt.
But FAU came back with another score later in the quarter, as DiIvory Edgecomb scampered into the end zone from 10 yards out. Smith hooked up with Rob Housler on the two-point conversion to tie the score at 22.
The scoring pace was frantic in the fourth quarter, beginning with a 34-yard touchdown pass from McCall to Hilton with 14:17 to play.
The Golden Panthers extended their lead to 36-22 on a 28-yard touchdown pass from McCall to Jason Frierson with 9:16 remaining.
But FAU responded with a 10-play, 94-yard drive, punctuated by Smith's 20-yard scoring strike to Gent.
Less than a minute later, FAU's Corey Small intercepted a pass and returned it 25 yards to the end zone to tie the score at 36.
FIU answered with a seven-play, 76-yard drive, with Ellingson hauling in a 29- yard touchdown pass from McCall.
The FIU defense came up with an interception on the ensuing possession, and two plays later, Perry found the end zone on an 18-yard run.
FAU cut the deficit to 50-43 on an eight-yard touchdown pass from Smith to Gent with 2:08 to play.
After recovering the on-side kick, the Owls drove 51 yards in nine plays, setting up Smith's 11-yard, game-tying touchdown pass to Grant with 18 seconds remaining in regulation.
FAU drew first blood in overtime, as Smith connected with Gent for a nine-yard touchdown pass. On the Golden Panthers' possession, McCall threw three incomplete passes, then was sacked by Daniel Joseph to seal the win for FAU.
The teams combined for 1,037 total yards, and they scored 56 points in the fourth quarter
11/29 21:30:42 ET