The offense clicked on the first series for the Hoosiers, who would end up going for it on fourth down twice. They succeeded the first time but failed the second. The second attempt resulted in a fumble by quarterback Nate Sudfeld which was recovered by the Panthers at midfield.
Using the short field position it had on its second offensive series, Florida International scored on a 21-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Alex McCough to wide receiver Thomas Owens to go up 7-0.
Indiana didn't get on the scoreboard until its third offensive series when made it to the Florida International 20-yard line. A 35-yard field goal from kicker Griffin Oakes at the end of the drive cut the Hoosiers' deficit to four.
After forcing the Panthers to punt, the Hoosiers drove to the FIU 10 yard line but could only manage a 27-yard field goal from Oakes on that drive, decreasing Florida International's lead to one.
On the following possession, the Hoosiers gave up another touchdown reception to Owens, except it was 75 yards instead of 21. The receiving score put the Panthers ahead 14-6 with nine minutes remaining in the first half.
Indiana's offense began to click, and, aided by a pass interference call against FIU's defense in the redzone, marched down to the Panther five-yard line. Sudfeld's scramble on third and goal from that spot and Oakes' ensuing successful extra point attempt cut Indiana deficit to 14-13. with just over five minutes remaining in the first half.
Florida International went three-and-out on the ensuing offense series, forced to punt by the Indiana defense. The Hoosiers' following 6-play, 42-yard offensive drive set up a 44-yard attempt for Oakes which was missed wide left.