Quarterback James Morgan and linebacker Sage Lewis are part of the most succesful senior class in Panther football history. No group of seniors at FIU has won more games, or gone to three consecutive bowl games.
"It hasn't been the season exactly we wanted, but we never gave up," Morgan said.
On Saturday night in Montgomery, Alabama, the Panthers fell to the Arkansas State Red Wolves in the Camellia Bowl.
After a 1-3 start to the 2019 season, the Panthers turned it around and qualified for bowl eligibility in a win over the University of Miami. Last year, the Panthers achieved a 9-4 record, the most wins ever in a single season at FIU, and defeated Toledo in the Bahamas Bowl. In 2017, Head Coach Butch Davis led the Panthers to an 8-4 record in his first year at the university.
The seniors who just played in their final game feel like they have built something special at FIU.
"I'm so exited to see how [the younger players] taken over different roles. I feel like we tried to be role models for them, so that when the time came, they'd have a mark to live up to," said Lewis, who set the FIU single-season record for tackles in 2018.
Morgan, who set the FIU record for passing touchdowns in 2018, will most remember taking trips with the team.
"I'm just going to miss hanging out with everybody, during practice, after practice, in the hotel. We made a lot of really good memories," Morgan said.
Both Morgan and Lewis will both remember summers at the university as special times.
"The summers are always close-knit, spending as much time as we can together. There were times over the summer where we had to spot each other things, and actually be real brothers to each other," Lewis said.
Many of the seniors will try to make it into the NFL and will begin training in the coming weeks.