FIU’s defense allowed 15 first downs to the Cajuns in the first half alone, and the Panthers had only five first downs — three on the two scoring drives — and were 0 for 6 on third downs.
The host Cajuns forced punts on FIU’s first two possessions, and the Panthers didn’t get a first down until Hilliard hit Wayne Times with a 20-yard toss to start their third possession. An earlier 5-yard catch, one of six catches for 48 yards he had in the game, extended the Miami senior’s streak of 22 consecutive games with at least one reception.
Before that, ULL struck first with an 82-yard march that took only nine plays. Gautier had two completions on the drive and also had a key 21-yard option run that took ULL to the FIU 4. Gautier scored two plays later on a 3-yard scamper.
Moments later, the Cajuns had the ball back, and Gautier’s two passes to wide receiver Bradley Brown — his first two catches of the season — included a 45-yarder that took it to the FIU 18. Four plays later, Gautier hit tight end Jacob Maxwell with a 2-yard toss on the back line of the end zone for a 14-0 lead.
Hilliard was picked off on the second play after the ensuing kickoff, with Moten getting a hand on a pass and collecting it right in front of the Cajun bench at the FIU 31. That set up Brett Baer’s 46-yard field goal.
Gautier left with an apparent injured left wrist one play before the field goal, and after FIU’s fourth punt of the first 16 minutes, Broadway came on and the Cajuns never missed a beat. This time, ULL went 55 yards in only six plays, with Broadway scoring on a 13-yard option with 11:38 left in the half for a 24-0 lead.