On the eve of the team’s second most difficult game of the season against TAMU (Pitt would be the hardest), it’s worth noting a few things after we never caught up post the Golden Panthers season-opening loss to Rutgers.
Check out my column here: http://fiusm.com/2010/09/15/despite-loss-team-excels-where-it-matters-most-in-opener/
I’m basically saying that regardless of what this quarterback shuffle results in, FIU did the two most important things on the football field against Rutgers, which was stop the opponent’s run and establish your own run. I can’t recall the last time FIU pushed someone at the line of scrimmage besides FAU and WKU’s anemic defenses in 2008.
Bringing us to TAMU. This game is simply a contest this FIU team is not ready to compete in for long. The Aggies high powered offense plowed through a couple of inferior opponents to start the season, led by Jerrod Johnson. Johnson, though two games, has the second ranked scoring offense in the Big 12 Conference. Ofcourse, FIU has the nations No. 2 defense after a bout with Rutgers, but TAMU will bring significantly better play on the offensive line and Johnson will not be held on a leash in a vanilla offense like Tom Savage was last week.
But the issue is this. If FIU can consistently play defense like it did against Rutgers, and that offensive line can hold up and open decent holes for Jeremiah Harden and Darrian Mallary, this team will be bowl eligible this season. That’s because after facing tough opponents (besides Maryland), FIU will have a great chance to be in the thick of the conference race THIS season.
Now, not to completely discard this game. It will definetly be interesting to see just how this new FIU defense fares against Johnson, who can run as well as throw. This team struggled against mobile quarterbacks last season, and if this team can somehow hold him down, it will really start making me beleive that Geoff Collins has a legit group.
TAMU held off Stephen F. Austin and Louisiana Tech rather easily, so offensively, if FIU is agoing to avoid a blowout it would start with eliminating, at least by half, the seven turnovers they had vs. Rutgers. FIU may have shown promise in the run game, but this TAMU defensive line is just as good as Rutgers’ solid unit, if not better, and the team will play in front of its fervent fan base at Kyle Field. Besides avoiding costly turnovers, FIU will have to show something in its passing game to keep it close as well.
We’ll have to see how much Wesley Carroll plays. Or maybe the better question is how much Wayne Younger plays. Neither was stellar vs. Rutgers after Caroll started, and FIU coach Mario Cristobal has not commited to one lone QB.
It’s going to be a tough afternoon for the Golden Panthers, but a chance to see how it fares with a player like Johnson.
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Written by Jay Ramos