Panthers rally past Eagles, look ahead towards UMass
The Golden Panthers came together last week against NC Central and took home the victory with a large margin of 39-14. FIU came into the game with a tough attitude over their loss to Indiana just two weeks ago.
The Panthers opened the gate firing. They finished the first half leading 26-14. They held the Eagles to zero points in the second half, and scored 13 points total in the second half. Quarterback Alex McGough had a solid game completing 22 of 36 passing throwing for 242 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. This improves the Panthers record to 2-1, and gives fans hope for a more successful season than the ones in the past.
The run game for the Panthers was quite effective this game with Alex Gardner rushing for 81 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. A much improved amount from last game of 61 yards on 18 carries. The Eagles showed little resistance to the Golden Panthers offensive strategy allowing 490 total yards.
Along with their scarce defense, NC Central could not connect offensively giving FIU as many opportunities as possible to score or move down the field, and the Golden Panthers capitalized on almost all of those opportunities giving them the win.
This win puts the Golden Panthers at No. 2 in the standings for their conference, conference USA. They are behind Middle Tennessee, who has the same record as FIU. Middle Tennessee is playing Vanderbilt this week while FIU is playing UMass.
UMass has started a disappointing 0-2 and not a huge threat to FIU. It seems like FIU could win that game and possibly move up in the standings to take the number one spot, if Vanderbilt brings their A-game and takes down the 2-1 Blue Raiders.
Looking ahead to next week’s match up against UMass, the Minutemen lost to the Temple Owls in a nail bitter 25-23. Their paying game was strong with 391 yards and a touchdown but touch interceptions, similar to the game of McGough.
The difference between the two schools is how well FIU connects on offense and how UMass struggles offensively. UMass went scoreless in both the first and third quarters. UMass also has problems stopping teams once they enter the redzone. All three of Temples touchdowns can from with in the 20 yard line.
Game prediction: The Panthers are going in to this game with an attitude of toughness and readiness, knowing the position they could take in the standings. They may play a little less conservative because of the weaker defensive presence that UMass has. FIU will have a good game on the passing front and will be able to win the game not only in the air but also on the ground. UMass will not be able to just to FIU and will struggle most of the the game offensively and defensively. McGough will have a great game throwing for at least 300 yards and FIU will come out with the win: 28-14.