The unlikely continues to happen at FIU Stadium this season
Western Kentucky came in with only seven three-and-outs on the season and converting 52.7 percent of third downs — best in the Sun Belt and eighth in the nation. FIU’s defense induced two three-and-outs in the first half alone. For the game, FIU, which came into the game converting 36 percent of third downs, converted seven of 14 third downs and held Western to only six of 14.
FIU redshirt sophomore quarterback Jake Medlock took 174 passes this season to throw his first interception this season, last week against Troy. Western’s Kawaun Jakes threw only four interceptions in his first seven games.
Medlock took only 15 passes to throw his second interception of the season, a third quarter drive killer after FIU’s Chuck Grace picked off Jakes and ran it back to the FIU 47. Medlock overthrew Glenn Coleman along the left sideline and Western’s Cam Thomas made a juggling catch while keeping a foot inbounds.
A sloppy first half loaded with pre-snap penalties ended, appropriately, with a pair of penalties.
On third and 14 from the FIU 21, Western’s Quanterus Smith got busted for a face mask as he sacked Medlock for a loss of 5. That pushed FIU out to the 36, but officials dropped a flag on FIU coach Mario Cristobal for unsportsmanlike conduct, yanking FIU back to the 21.
With the drive short circuited, Medlock took a knee to end the half.
FIU got another sideline unsportsmanlike penalty after a 12-yard Jake Medlock third down scramble to the FIU 15.
“The referee bumped into one of our — he said it was one of our coaches, there were ball boys from both sides on the sideline — but he felt it was one of our guys,” Cristobal said.
It took only four catches for FIU junior wide receiver Willis Wright to get his third consecutive 100-yard receiving night, the first such hat trick in the program’s 11-season history.
Wright ended the night with 128 yards on five catches. In his last three games, Wright’s caught 14 passes for 366 yards and two touchdowns.
On the other side of the field, Western running back Antonio Andrews ran for 158 yards on 27 carries, his sixth consecutive 100-yard game, the longest such active streak in the nation.
A postgame brouhaha between the teams got quelled before any physical altercation could happen.
As FIU walked toward the band, seated at the east end of FIU Stadium, Western Kentucky headed toward the visiting locker room in the northeast corner of the stadium. Words were exchanged.
“Guys were jawing back and forth,” Cristobal said. “When it gets intense like that, just both sides go to your locker room and that’s it. Avoid any issues. Obviously, guys pour their heart and soul into this. It’s an emotional game.”
FIU freshman wide receiver Nick England got his first start Saturday night. Redshirt junior Terrance Taylor got his first start of the season at cornerback.