December 22, 2019 / 3:05 AM / a month ago

Arkansas State holds off Florida International in Camellia Bowl

Dec 21, 2019; Montgomery, Alabama, USA; Fiu Golden Panthers running back Anthony Jones (2) carries the ball against Arkansas State Red Wolves at Cramton Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Freshman quarterback Layne Hatcher set Camellia Bowl records by throwing for 393 yards and four touchdowns Saturday as Arkansas State held off Florida International 34-26 in Montgomery, Ala.

Hatcher, who completed 27 of 51 passes with an interception, hit Jonathan Adams with a 13-yard touchdown pass with 3:37 remaining in the game to extend their lead from 27-26. The Red Wolves (8-5) ended the Panthers’ last two possessions with interceptions.

All-American receiver Omar Bayless caught nine passes for 180 yards for Arkansas State, which converted 12 of 19 third downs and rolled up 525 total yards. The Red Wolves overcame 10 penalties for 142 yards.

Quarterback James Morgan completed 22 of 38 passes for 312 yards and a score with two picks for Florida International. Kicker Jose Borregales hit four field goals, but missed a 29-yard attempt with 5:10 left in the game that would have given the Panthers (6-7) a 29-27 edge.

Arkansas State initiated scoring just over 5 1/2 minutes into the game when Hatcher and Bayless hooked up for a 4-yard touchdown pass. Hatcher made it 14-0 with 55 seconds left in the first quarter on a 9-yard scoring strike to Kirk Merritt.

Florida International found some traction in the second quarter, scoring at the 12:50 mark on a 3-yard run by Napoleon Maxwell. The teams swapped field goals for the half’s remainder. Blake Grupe hit from 46 and 37 for the Red Wolves, while Borregales nailed a pair of 25-yarders to make it 20-13 at halftime.

Hatcher and Reed Tyler teamed up for a 15-yard touchdown pass on Arkansas State’s first drive of the second half to up the lead to two touchdowns. Florida International responded with Morgan’s 19-yard scoring strike to Austin Maloney, and Borregales connected from 48 yards with 3:48 left in the third quarter, slicing the deficit to 27-23.

Maloney finished with 10 catches for 178 yards.

—Field Level Media

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