BOCA RATON, Fla. -- Richard Leonard returned a third-quarter kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown, swinging the momentum back to Florida International in its 34-24 Sun Belt Conference victory over Florida Atlantic on Friday night.
Leonard's touchdown gave the Golden Panthers (3-8, 2-5) a 20-17 lead after the Owls (3-8, 2-5) had gone ahead for the first time in the game.
FIU made it 27-17 just before the end of the quarter with a 73-yard drive that featured seven completions by Jake Medlock and ended with his 15-yard pass to Wayne Times.
Graham Wilbert, who completed 28 of 51 passes for 403 yards, found Jenson Stoshak for a 60-yard score to make it 27-24, but FIU restored its 10-point lead with a touchdown, and the defenses took over after that.
The Golden Panthers, who beat FAU 41-7 last year and move to Conference USA next season, retained the rivalry's Don Shula trophy.