Miami, FL (Sports Network) - Jack Griffin nailed a pair of clutch kicks down the stretch to push the FIU Golden Panthers to a 41-38 win in overtime against the Akron Zips at FIU Stadium.
Jake Medlock carried the FIU (1-1) offense all night, completing 19-of-30 passes for 209 yards and a score while also racking up 141 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Jacob Younger had a team-high 68 yards receiving for the Panthers.
Dalton Williams connected on only half of his pass attempts (27-for-54) but racked up 313 yards and five scores through the air for Akron (0-2). Marquelo Suel was Williams' favorite target on the night and had seven receptions for 99 yards and two touchdowns. The Zips have now lost 10 straight dating back to last season.
Medlock scored on a 29-yard run just two plays into the game to put FIU ahead 7-0 with 14:27 on the clock in the first quarter. Medlock accounted for all 73 yards of the short drive, adding a 44-yard run on the first play from scrimmage.
After being forced to punt on its first two drives, Akron finally got on the scoreboard on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Williams to Suel with just over three minutes remaining in the first quarter.
The scoring kept coming for the Zips, who jumped out to a 20-7 lead late in the second quarter following two more touchdown passes from Williams, the first an 11-yarder to Jawon Chisholm and the second a five-yard strike to L.T. Smith.
FIU stayed within striking distance thanks to a seven-yard touchdown pass from Medlock to Jairus Williams just before the half.
The third quarter was quiet on the scoring front until Greg Hickman intercepted Williams to set up FIU with great field position. The Panthers capitalized with a five-yard touchdown run by Darian Mallary four plays later at the 1:09 mark. The lead grew to 28-20 when Richard Leonard returned a punt 49 yards for a score after the FIU defense forced a three-and-out.
Robert Stein hit a 41-yard field on Akron's next possession to shave a few points off the FIU lead. On the Zips' next drive they took the lead on a 21- yard touchdown pass from Williams to Chisholm, which was followed by a successful two-point conversion.
The lead again shifted in the Panthers' favor, 35-31, on a 32-yard rushing touchdown by Mallary on FIU's next drive. It would not be the last time the score would change hands in the final quarter as Akron went ahead, 38-35, with 1:52 remaining thanks to a 16-yard TD pass from Williams to Suel.
FIU then drove the ball down to the Akron two yard line on its next drive. On 2nd-and-goal, Medlock was hit in the backfield and fumbled the ball but recovered at the 13-yard line. Griffin then nailed a 30-yard field goal as time expired to send the game to overtime.
In the extra session Akron got the ball first, lost three yards on three plays and saw Stein's 45-yard field goal attempt miss the mark, giving FIU the chance to win the game.
The Panthers moved the ball to the Akron 12-yard line, which set up Griffin's 29-yard game-winning kick.
09/09 00:45:34 ET
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