Fewer than 300 fans sat in the FIU Stadium stands for the noon kickoff.
And they were the only ones who could see the game after American Sports Network, which demanded the noon kickoff, went off the air early in the first quarter.
A generator blew, taking the network’s truck out of action as Charlotte drove to the touchdown that tied the score at 7 with 9:49 left in the first quarter.
The network remained off for the rest of the first half. Eventually, game officials tapped into the coaches cameras for replay use.
American Sports Network tweeted it was back on early in the third quarter, but it wasn’t on in several markets, including Miami-Fort Lauderdale. Princeton versus Penn continued to be shown. The FIU game eventually came back on with 6:50 left in the third quarter.
Conference USA is in the second year of a two-year deal with American Sports Network and currently negotiating the next deal with the Sinclair Broadcasting group of stations.
Charlotte junior kicker Blake Brewer nailed a 56-yard field goal on the final play of the first half, breaking two records: his own Charlotte record of 51 yards, set last year against Moorehead State, and the FIU Stadium record of 52, set by Adam Moss in 2005 and tied by Austin Taylor in 2013.
It was also the longest field goal in Conference USA this year, surpassing Daniel Portillo’s 51-yarder for Texas-San Antonio against Kansas State.
This and that
▪ With three games left in his senior year, FIU senior wide receiver Juwan Caesar made his collegiate debut. On his first play, he caught a three-yard pass on third-and-4.
Caesar was a three-star recruit out of Coral Park High who went to Michigan State. Injuries and academic problems led to Caesar leaving East Lansing. While enrolled at Miami-Dade College, he decided to see if he could give football another shot at FIU.
He sat out last year as a transfer, then underwent knee surgery before this season.
▪ FIU linebacker Vontarius West left the game in the first quarter with an injury. He was replaced by De’Shawn Hazziez.