“It’s extremely disappointing.”
This is the way FIU head coach Ron Turner summed up this week’s game against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs for the Golden Panthers. FIU’s sloppy defense and careless offense has lead them straight to a 2-2 record and a disappointing loss against a beatable team.
The Bulldogs’ running back, Kenneth Dixon, rushed for two touchdowns and caught a pass for another to lead Louisiana Tech to a 27-17 win over the Golden Panthers on Saturday. FIU could not find an answer to this rushing game, and allowed 27 points to a usual pedestrian offense because of their failure to stop the run.
Despite these struggles; however, it wasn’t a completely negative night for the Golden Panthers. Quarterback Alex McGough threw for 263 yards and two touchdowns and created most of FIU’s offense.
Unfortunately for the Golden Panthers, that was where all the offense came from.
There seemed to be no sense of urgency offensively, and in FIU couldn’t get the ball rolling.
FIU not only started slow but never led in the game, going down 17-3 at the end of the half and only scoring 14 points throughout the game’s final two quarters.
Alex Gardner struggled again in this one, rushing for only 29 yards on 14 carries and no touchdowns. The inefficient running game has been a clear factor in these two losses, and despite the talent Gardner holds, there seem to be no holes being opened up on the line.
When the FIU offensive line is at the top of their game, Gardner is always looking good and putting up solid numbers.
Let’s take the two wins, for example.
Against UCF, Gardner carried the ball for 75 yards and a touchdown, and versus NC Central he carried for 81 yards and another touchdown.
In the two the loses; however, Gardner has rushed for under 65 yards and no touchdowns.
This just goes to show that he is a big key to the Golden Panther’s offensive game, and without him performing at a certain level, the offense does not click.
If FIU wants to get back over .500 they will have to cement the running game early, and open things up from there.
Game prediction: This week the Golden Panthers face off against the University of Massachusetts and it should be a well contested game. I think FIU will have the advantage in the passing game, and win the game through the air with McGough throwing for over 275 yards. The Panthers win the game in the fourth quarter, by simply out playing UMass.
Final score: FIU 27 UMASS 14.