HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- — Frank Gore Jr. threw two touchdown passes and ran for two scores and Southern Miss started fast in a 37-17 victory over Florida International on Saturday.
Dajon Richards scored on a 29-yard run to finish off the first drive for the Golden Eagles (3-9, 2-6 Conference USA). Max Bortenschlager threw a pick on first down for the Panthers (1-11, 0-8) and Gore needed one play to fire a 34-yard scoring strike to Jason Brownlee — one of his two TD catches — for a 14-0 lead. Southern Miss forced a three-and-out and Natrone Brooks returned the punt 77 yards to the Panthers' 2-yard line. Gore ran it in on the next play for a 21-0 lead and the Panthers never got closer than seven points from there.
Bortenschlager got FIU on the scoreboard with a 91-yard TD pass to Tyrese Chambers with 58 seconds left in the first quarter. It was the longest TD pass in FIU history — topping an 87-yarder from Josh Padrick to tight end Samuel Smith in a 14-10 loss to Maryland in 2004.
FIU lost 10 straight games to close out the season after beating FCS-member Long Island University 48-10 in the opener.
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