(Thursday, September 1st)
Final Score: F-I-U 41, North Texas 16
Miami, FL (Sports Network) - Senior receiver T.Y. Hilton began his season with a strong showing catching seven passes for 132 yards and touchdown as FIU dominated North Texas, 41-16, in the season and Sun Belt Conference opener for both teams.
FIU quarterback Wes Carroll completed 16-of-22 attempts for 193 yards and one touchdown. Darriet Perry contributed in the rushing game with 94 yards on 15 carries and two scores for the Panthers (1-0, 1-0 Sun Belt). Greg Hickman impacted the game on the defensive side with four tackles, two sacks, and a forced fumble.
Derek Thompson completed 14-of-27 passes for 167 yards for North Texas (0-1, 0-1). Running back Lance Dunbar struggled to find his groove as the FIU defense limited him to just 43 yards on 18 carries.
The start of the game was delayed approximately 25 minutes due to weather.
FIU jumped out to an early lead as Kedrick Rhodes rushed for nine yards for a score less than two minutes into the contest.
After the FIU defense stopped North Texas on a fourth and one, Carroll wasted no time extending the home team's lead. Carroll threw a 60-yard touchdown pass to Hilton on the first play of the drive to make it 14-0 in favor of the Panthers just four minutes into the game.
Rhodes added a 19-yard touchdown scamper for his second score with 2:16 remaining in the first frame to push the Panther lead to 21-0.
FIU scored its fourth touchdown of the opening period with just under a minute remaining as Perry punched it in from a yard out to extend the lead to a commanding 28-0.
The North Texas special teams gave the Mean Green some life early in the second as Daniel Prior forced a Hilton fumble that was recovered and returned by Andrew Power for 29 yards and a UNT touchdown.
With four minutes remaining in the half, kicker Jack Griffin connected on a 23-yard field goal to extend the FIU lead to 31-7.
The only points scored in the third quarter came courtesy of Perry as he raced 19 yards to the end zone for his second touchdown of the contest.
Early in the fourth quarter, Ryan Downing scored another TD for the Mean Green as he recovered a fumble in the end zone to make it 38-14.
The FIU offense responded by putting together a drive that concluded with a 45-yard field goal by Griffin to make the score 41-14 with just over nine minutes remaining.
Terrell Brooks recorded a safety as he tackled Jeremiah Harden in the FIU end zone in the final minute of play to finalize the score at 41-16.
FIU dominated on the ground, topping the Mean Green 208 yards to 97.
09/01 23:53:41 ET