MIAMI (AP) — Isaiah Green had two touchdown passes, Omari Cobb scored on an interception return and Brandon Drayton recovered a blocked punt in the end zone for another score as Marshall kept Florida International from clinching the Conference USA East Division title with a 28-25 victory on Saturday.
The Panthers (8-4, 6-2) controlled their destiny at home, needing a win to get to their first C-USA championship game. Now FIU needs UAB to beat Middle Tennessee later Saturday to advance. A Blue Raiders win would send them to play the Blazers again next week at UAB for the conference title. If UAB wins the Panthers hit the road to play the Blazers for the title.
Marshall (8-3, 6-2), which had already clinched its fifth bowl game in six seasons, jumped out to a 14-0 lead on Green's 16-yard scoring strike to Tyre Brady and Cobb's 25-yard pick-6. The Panthers pulled within 14-10 at halftime on a 22-yard field goal by Jose Borregales and Anthony Jones' 1-yard TD run.
Drayton pushed the Thundering Herd's lead to 21-10 when he blocked Stone Wilson's punt at the goal line and recovered it in the end zone. FIU answered with Christian Alexanders' 8-yard TD run and Maurice Alexander's 2-point pass to Christian Alexander to get within 21-18 early in the fourth quarter. Green hit Brady for a 3-yard score to push Marshall's lead back to 10. Napoleon Maxwell scored on a 1-yard run to pull the Panthers back to within three, but Marshall put together a 10-play drive to run the last 4:47 off the clock.
Freshman Brenden Knox ran for 109 yards on 19 carries for Marshall.
Sage Lewis had nine tackles to set FIU's single-season record with 126.