Florida International's Richard Leonard returned a punt 71 yards to the Bethune-Cookman 7, setting up a 5-yard touchdown catch by T.J. Lowder with 5:15 left. The Panthers' two-point conversion attempt failed.
Freshman quarterback Alex McGough drove Florida International down to the Wildcats' 29 in the final seconds, but they fumbled the field goal attempt as time ran out.
Williams had 149 yards passing for Bethune-Cookman.
McGough finished with 98 yards passing and one touchdown after taking over for E.J. Hillard after the first quarter.