FIU completed the 2013 season with a hard-fought 21-6 loss on the road at Florida Atlantic Friday evening. Before an announced crowd of 10,428 at FAU Stadium, the Owls used a balanced effort to stay a step-ahead of the Panthers for much of the game. FAU finished with 431 yards of total offense on 179 yards rushing and 252 passing.
Shula Bowl game MVP honors went to a pair of defensive stars in FAU defensive end Martin Wright and FIU linebacker Markeith Russell. Wright had seven tackles, but stood out with 4.5 sacks, while Russell led FIU with 11 tackles.
After FAU scored the first touchdown of the game on their second drive, FIU responded with a 35-yard field goal from Austin Taylor. On the drive, the Panthers went 32 yards on five plays, starting with a 10-yard reception from tight end Jonnu Smith. Smith's catch would extend his team-best streak with a reception in each game this season.
After both teams punted to open the game, FAU responded with an 11-yard touchdown reception by tight end Nexon Dorvilus from quarterback Jaquez Johnson. The Owl drive, which started at the FIU 44, featured a trick-play on first down that went for 34 yards down to the FIU 10-yard-line. The play saw Johnson throw to reserve quarterback Greg Hankerson, lined up at wide receiver, who then threw the ball back cross-field to Johnson racing 34 yards down field.
Following FIU's field goal both teams again traded punts before FAU found the endzone again. From the FAU 41, Johnson found receiver William Dukes long resulting in a 59-yard touchdown reception. The drive, which began at the FAU 12, started with a Daniel McKinney 15-yard catch on first down, then after an incomplete pass saw Johnson rush for nine and five yards on successive plays to the 41.
The Owls extended their lead to 21-3 in the third quarter on a 10-play, 98-yard drive that finished with a 23-yard touchdown reception from Alex Deleon.
The final score of the game came on Taylor's 43-yard field goal at 11:02 in the fourth quarter.
FAU running back Damian Fortner led the Owl offense with 128 total yards of offense on 100 yards rushing and 28 on kick returns. FIU's T.J. Lowder had 107 all-purpose yards, including 90 on kick returns.
FIU quarterback Jake Medlock, also the Panthers' primary punter, had eight punts for 320 yards (40 avg.), including a long of 50 and a career-high three inside the 20.
The Florida Atlantic game marked the collegiate contest game for 11 seniors, including: Darrious Cook, Junior Delpe, Isame Faciane, Greg Hickman, Derrick Jones, Jr., Sam Miller, Markeith Russell, Zach Schaubhut, Rockey Vann, Jairus Williams and Mitch Wozniak.
The Panthers have concluded the 2013 season.