Middle Tennessee (3-4, 2-1 Conference USA), which had lost three straight games, scored 21 points in the second quarter to take a 28-16 lead into the break and was ahead 34-19 going into the fourth.
Florida International ( 3-4, 1-2) scored 15 in the final quarter and drove to the Middle Tennessee 43 with 1:16 remaining where the Panthers failed to convert a fourth-down play. Middle Tennessee's Patrick McNeil and Chris Hale had sacked Alex McGough for a 14 yard loss to set up a second and 24 with 3:10 remaining.
Richie James caught six passes for 104 yards and Rod Ducksworth grabbed three for 76 yards for the Blue Raiders.
McGough threw for 260 yards and two touchdowns for the Panthers.