It's not an easy task, but if the Golden Panthers have any chance of upsetting defending Sun Belt Champion Troy then they need NOT to contain, but STOP quarterback Omar Haugabook.
Haugabook, the Sun Belt's Player of the Year last year and making a strong case for it again this season, is an offensive machine piling up 2,714 yards of total offense last season with 26 TDs. This year, he's on a pace to surpass that total yardage mark with 1,662 yards as of today and he has 13 touchdowns (8 passing).
What makes Haugabook so dangerous is that he can viewed as a quarterback with the combination skills set of a Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith. (For those wacky posters, who may be inclined to pound their keyboard after reading the previous statement, I am NOT saying Haugabook is equal to those two NFL Hall of Famers). What I am saying is he's a good passer, but if there is nobody open, he can easily tuck the ball and go through the defense with his legs. He was the leading rusher in last year's Troy/FIU game with 111 yards.
And as we've seen in the past two games (against Kansas and Middle Tennessee) stopping a mobile quarterback for FIU has been as difficult as counting all the grains of salt in the Atlantic Ocean. Haugabook can make the Golden Panthers ache. The Trojans offense is averaging 34 points per game and nearly 500 yards (446) of total offense -- all of this against stiff competition like Florida, Arkansas and Oklahoma State.
Once again the pressure is on the FIU offense to get something going and score. Yes, we know all the talent is not there yet for the offense (let MC bring in another class or two of recruits), but they are not going to cancel tommorrow's game because of rain so the Golden Panthers have to find a way to score or this game could get ugly on the scoreboard with Troy's offensive firepower.
The GPP thinks: Troy 44, FIU 12
Puma: Unfortunately for FIU right now, your question is a valid one: will there be more turnovers than points in Saturday's game? If there is a silver lining to playing Troy is that the Trojans' defense is human having allowed 46, 59, 23 and 31 points this season before holding Louisiana-Monroe to 7 last week. Of course, the 46 and 59 were to Arkansas and Florida. The FIU offense like the rest of this team is being built and it's a process and I know "process" has become a football cliche over the years, but that's where it's at now. Who knows maybe this is the week we see some of the process evolve.
Don't worry there will be an FIU basketball blog along with an FIU baseball blog on the GPP next week when football is on a bye.
NYCFIUFan: There will be ample notice given when the "Win a GPP Blog" winner will write so that those who don't want to read it can turn off their computers....no delete that last part....no, so those who don't want to read it can read the GPP blog archives.
TNGoldenPanther: There are enough great Florida high school players for FIU to get even with the recent lack of success. Plus, MC and staff have shown they can get players from across the U.S. And don't forget some of the selling points of FIU: new stadium and football facilities, a great university located in South Florida/Miami and players have a chance of playing right away. Yes, the 17-game losing streak is not good for business, but the positives here outweigh the negative.
CJ: Got your score 24-10.
One of my amigos, Larry Milian, of the "Dos Amigos" radio show on 790 AM will have MC on the show tommorrow Saturday between 12 noon and 1 p.m. The show runs from 12 noon to 3 p.m., but MC is expected to be interviewed between 12 and 1 p.m.
Off to FIU baseball practice this afternoon, will let you know what's going on....soon.