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MIAMI (AP) — Richard Leonard returned a fumble 100 yards for a touchdown late in the third quarter and Florida International beat Florida Atlantic 38-10 on Thursday night in a game delayed about two hours at halftime because of lightning.
FIU (3-3, 2-0 Conference USA) won the Shula Bowl matchup for the third time in four years after losing eight of the first nine to FAU (2-4, 1-1).
Leonard's 100-yard return off Jay Warren's fumble into the end zone gave the Golden Panthers a 24-10 lead. Leonard also intercepted a pass in the end zone early in the fourth quarter.
FIU pulled away in the fourth on quarterback Alex McGough's 1-yard touchdown run and Anthon Samuel's 9-yard scoring run.
FIU took a 14-3 lead on Alex Gardner's 24-yard touchdown run in the first quarter and Samuel's 1-yard run in the second. FAU cut it to 14-10 on Warren's 31-yard touchdown run in the second.
After the delay, FIU made it 17-10 on Austin Taylor's 37-yard field goal early in the third.
Gardner ran for 100 yards on 21 carries, and McGough was 19 of 29 for 160 yards.