Florida International U

The FIU Panthers fall to Tulane in the season opener. This is what’s next

FIU senior quarterback James Morgan describes expectations for this season

Florida International University Senior quarterback James Morgan speaks to the media during fall practice at the FIU practice field in Miami, Florida on Wednesday, July 31, 2019.
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Florida International University Senior quarterback James Morgan speaks to the media during fall practice at the FIU practice field in Miami, Florida on Wednesday, July 31, 2019.

FIU’s 2019 football season got off to a poor start on Thursday night at New Orleans as the Panthers were defeated 42-14 by the Tulane Green Wave.

Tulane, which finished 2018 by winning five of its final six games — including the Cure Bowl — never trailed on Thursday, racing to a 21-0 lead midway through the second quarter, leading 28-7 at halftime and 42-7 halfway through the third.

FIU, which went 9-4 last season to set the program record for wins, got a one-yard touchdown run by Anthony Jones in the second quarter and James Morgan’s 17-yard scoring toss to Shemar Thornton in the third.

Morgan’s final stats included 19-for-34 passing for 208 yards and one interception, which occurred in the first quarter.

Jones was FIU’s leading rusher but averaged just 3.4 yards per carry. He ran for 48 yards on 14 tries. Fellow senior running back Napoleon Maxwell had even less success against Tulane’s swarming defense – six carries for 17 yards.

Maurice Alexander led FIU with five receptions, but he got just 30 yards. Thornton had four catches for 40 yards, tight end Sterling Palmer had two grabs for a team-high 49 yards, and Austin Maloney had two for 45.

FIU’s defense could do little to stop Tulane quarterback Justin McMillan, a graduate transfer from LSU who completed 78 percent of his passes against the Panthers.

McMillan went 14-of-18 for 199 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He also ran nine times for 51 yards and one touchdown.

Darius Bradwell, who ran for well over 1,000 yards last season, had success against FIU as well. He ran 13 times for a game-high 90 yards. His backup, Corey Dauphine, ran three times for 76 yards and two touchdowns.

Defensively for Tulane, standout senior cornerback Thakarius Keyes had the interception, completing an impressive Green Wave performance.

Next up for FIU is its home opener on Sept. 7 against Western Kentucky.

James Morgan was intercepted by Keyes on a second and nine at FIU’s 23.

Tulane scored a TD on an 18-yard pass from James McMillan to Tyrick James.

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