Weekend Replay: Football rallies late to defeat Charlotte

Senior tight end Jonnu Smith (#87) catches the game-winning touchdown pass with 1:05 remaining in the fourth quarter against Charlotte on Oct. 15.

Senior tight end Jonnu Smith (#87) catches the game-winning touchdown pass with 1:05 remaining in the fourth quarter against Charlotte on Oct. 15.

By Joel Delgado ’12 MS ’17 

Trailing by 13 points with less than five minutes remaining, things were not looking good for the FIU football team against Charlotte.

But FIU quarterback Alex McGough rallied the Panthers from behind with two touchdown passes in the final minutes of play to lift FIU to a 27-26 victory over the 49ers on Oct. 15.

McGough connected with junior tight end A.J. Branisel on a 15-yard score with 4:21 left in the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to 26-20.

After the Panthers defense made a defensive stop to give the offense an opportunity to put together a game-winning drive, McGough took advantage. This time, he found tight end Jonnu Smith in the end zone with 1:05 left to give FIU the lead.

Charlotte’s last ditch effort to win the game ended with a missed 49-yard field goal attempt in the final seconds, sealing the victory for the Panthers.

FIU (3-4, 3-0 Conference USA) now brings the momentum of a three-game winning streak into Homecoming week, with the Panthers now sitting atop the C-USA standings with a perfect record in conference play.

The Panthers will take on Louisiana Tech in the team’s Homecoming Game on Oct. 22, looking to extend the winning streak to four games. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at FIU Stadium.

For more information on FIU football, go to FIUSports.com.


The FIU men’s soccer team also featured some last-minute heroics in their 2-1 double overtime road victory over the Marshall Thundering Herd on Oct. 15.

Senior forward Luis Bentancur, who led the Panthers in scoring last season but has struggled thus far this season, came through with the game-winning goal with just 14 seconds remaining in double overtime.

The Panthers got on the board early with a goal by junior forward Luca Giovine in the 20th minute of play, but the lead was short-lived as Marshall’s Brayan Lopez-Mendez scored the equalizer nine minutes later.

FIU (4-6-2, 2-2-1 Conference USA) will play three of its next four games at home, beginning with a match against rival Florida Atlantic on Oct. 21 at FIU Soccer Stadium. First touch is scheduled for 7 p.m.

For more information on FIU men’s soccer, go to FIUSports.com.


FIU swimming and diving team completed a three-meet sweep over the weekend at Dual-A-Palooza, hosted by Rice in Houston.

The Panthers opened the tournament with a 142-82 win over Tulane on Oct. 14, winning eight of 11 events with Kyna Pereira posting the top time of the meet in 1000 freestyle (10:03.66).

The next day, FIU defeated host Rice 104-98 in the morning meet and closed the tournament with a 119.50-85.50 win over Denver later on in the day to complete the sweep.

The Panthers improve to 3-1 on the season and 1-0 in Conference USA competition. They will host the FIU Tri-Meet at the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Center on Oct. 21.

For more information on FIU women’s swimming and diving, go to FIUSports.com.