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FIU-W. Kentucky recap; injury update

FIU played a thriller Saturday, pulling out a close 28-21 victory over Sun Belt Conference foe Western Kentucky. The Panthers seemed to have the game in control leading 21-0 in the first-half when WKU decided to make a game of it. Both teams played well, with FIU making a few more plays at the end. WKU showed that they are much improved and almost tied the game on a fourth down pass that was broken up by Dez Johnson. If the Hilltoppers can find some more consistancy at quarterback, I have no doubt that they can win some game.

For the first time this season FIU, showed they have the guts to tough out a close win. The game might not have been everything FIU fans wanted, but to see the team rally and play back is a good sign.

Injuries

FIU coach Mario Cristobal said during Monday's Sun Belt conference call that, Jeremiah Harden was going to evaluated on Monday by doctors. Harden missed the Western Kentucky game with an undisclosed injury. 790theticket.com reported that Harden had suffered a concussion. After the game on Saturday, Cristobal stopped short of calling Harden's injury a concussion, saying Harden played a physical game against Pittsburgh and was going to be evaluated.

TV for North Texas

Chances are the game will be picked up locally by CSS. Game will also be on ESPN3.com.

Here are a few positives and negatives observations.

QB play - positive

Wes Carroll had 12 completions on 19 attempts for 108 yards and an interception. Carroll's low yard total Match fiufoot10A1 MHS AU is due to FIU running only 53 total plays (19 pass, 34 run). On his 12 completions, Carroll connected with seven different receivers, including three passes to T.Y. Hilton (left. Andrew Uloza, For the Miami Herald). Carroll was effective and was able to protect the ball. Carroll has done a job good of avoiding the pass rush. Carroll's only mistake came on a poorly timed crossing pattern that missed the receiver and ended up in a defensive back's hands. Carroll has continued to improve in each game he has played. The Panthers' offense was able to move the ball early but had trouble late in the game after WKU adjusted.

Running - positive

Run fiufoot10A1 MHS AU Without Jeremiah Harden, the Panthers made easy work of the Hilltoppers' defense. FIU had 235 yards rushing, using three running backs: Darriet Perry, Darian Mallary and Kedrick Rhodes (left, Andrew Uloza, For the Miami Herald.) 

FIU scored four rushing touchdowns, with Carroll and Hilton getting into the mix. It was good to see FIU move the ball on the ground. FIU was held to a season-low 93 yards against Pittsburgh. The team did not fare much better against Maryland 117 yards and Texas A&M 115 yards. Granted, in two of the three games FIU had to pass more, since they were playing from behind.  Coach Mario Cristobal said after the game that the team would continue to use short, quick passes to augment the running game.  

Special teams - negative

FIU punter Josh Brisk needs to work on his consistency.  Brisk kicked a couple of short punts that set up WKU in FIU territory. Brisk did pin the Hilltoppers deep in their own territory on a 45-yard punt, so some credit is due. Brisk nearly pinned WKU deep in its territory a second time by the ball brushed the front of the goal line.

Defense - positive and negative

The defense played better than last week against Pittsburgh, but there is still need for improvement. FIU held WKU to 299 yards Ball fiufoot10A1 MHS AU of total offense. FIU needs to improve on third down, WKU converted 9 of 18 tries and tackling. You have to give credit to the FIU defense for the way they battled through a tough stretch in the second and third quarter when WKU controlled the ball. (Picture is of Toronto Smith #13, Gregory Hickman #55, Chuck Grace #21. Andrew Uloza, For the Miami Herald)

FIU recorded three sacks.

Here's a shot of the Dazzlers (Andrew Uloza, For the Miami Herald) on Saturday .

Cheerleader fiufoot10A1 MHS AU

Response to comments

@Southpaw, You're right. It did not lead to a TD. I just watched the replay again. The interception was on the drive right after WKU scored.

Below is from last night.

Report: WR Dozier verbally commits to FIU

According to Scout.com, WR Freeman Dozier, from Jacksonville's Raines High, verbally committed to FIU. Dozier, a senior, listed between 6-1 and 6-2 and runs a sub 4.4, 40-yard. 

Justin Azpiazu

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I think with another win at Texas we can finally start to get the ball rolling to finish the season 6-6 and ONLY one game away from the Bowl Game! I think with the 6-6 record we would actually be 3rd in the conference also. Great win on Saturday, and I can't wait to see the UNT game.

JUSTIN:
Any TV info for the UNT game that you may know?

I never got an opportunity to buy the newspaper on Sunday. I wanted to see if the Herald mention the FIU win in a positive way or found a way to screw it up.. Any time FIU wins anything the Herald usually starts with "FIU won the game, but the ONLY reason they won was because blah blah blah".. I hope Im wrong and they covered the game in the correct way!

Go FIU!

Game will be on CSS.

Wesley's only interception didn't lead to any WKU points, and it wasn't his fault. Greg Ellingson was mugged before the ball got to him by a freshman linebacker and never had a chance to catch the ball. It wasn't poorly thrown. As a result of the turnover, WKU went for a TD instad of kicking a FG and came up empty right before the half.

In all honesty, the Herald's coverage in recent weeks has been much better and more balanced. The anti-FIU slant has seemed to have taken a vacation for now. But FIU fans are watching closely, Miami Herald!

Justin,
Correction on Ta&m, FIU led for 3-1/3 qtrs.... recall 20-6 lead, and offense changed to clock control and hang-on the same as on saturday. Problem is our staff is so entrenched on what they are trying to do that they dont notice the shift in momemtum.
And almost blew that game, a better qb for WKU ties the game up.... and then what, ask wc to go drive 70 yrds in under 2 min after shutting him down for a half.
They are not learning, get it together MC, and clean up the penalties.

Justin,

All the TV exposure this year has me wondering. What is the reason behind this? I'm not complaining but so far all of the games with the exception of the A&M game have been picked up. Is this because ratings for FIU games are good or is it improved play? Is there something else I am not accounting for? Just curious. By the way, thanks for the coverage.

Doesnt the Sun Belt have their own network now? Or some sort of contract with CSS? I feel like a lot more Sunbelt games in general have been available..

@Southpaw, Carroll's interception lead to a touchdown. It's in the game notes online if you want to check for yourself. WKU went for it on fourth down with 12 minutes to play. The interception happened a few minutes before halftime.

Justin, as far as I remember, WC's interception (on that interference "non-call") did not end up a TD by WKU, but did in fact, change the momentum of the game and more time in possession in favor of WKU, and the opportunity for FIU to put up more points, besides resting the defense a little bit more.

Actually, looking at ESPN3.com's replay, and the official scoreboard "Drive Chart", the WC interception was with 3:12 left in the 1st half. On the ensuing WKU possession the end result is "end of half".

As for the TV question, yes, the Sun Belt has their own TV Contract with several south cable providers, including Comcast Sports Southeast. In it, they included every team to at least 1 or 2 games, I believe. Besides, we've been several times now in ESPNU, and on what is called "ESPN GamePlan".

You're right. It did not lead to a TD. I just watched the replay again. The interception was on the drive right after WKU scored.

To the Miami Herald:

The University of Miami lost their game on Saturday. They were embarassed. Stop writing little cute stories that make excuses for that team. Counting today, its been three days in a row that there has been a UM story in the Herald. FIU stories? Just one and that was the obligatory Sunday story.

Today's story was as irrelevant as irrelevant could be. A story on Van Dyke having a kid? Great. Let Barry Jackson cover that in his gossip column.

Sure FIU beat a weak sun belt team, but they won. People in Miami wouldnt know it if they read the Herald since the Herald conveniently excludes FIU from its coverage. Focus on the winning team Miami Herald. One of your jobs is to support the community and FIU is an integral part of this community.

http://fiusports.typepad.com/the-prowl/

alt7787, didn't pete write something about that earlier this summer?

Let's go Panthers!

No one cares about FIU. Hence, the little coverage from The Herald.

You think they'd be doing ignoring this school if their was a demand? Get a clue.

A blog on a recap of a win by FIU gets 12 posts. ANYTHING about UM on this site gets hundreds.

That right there says it all.

We need a real coach.

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