Join me Saturday for the FIU-WKU live blog kicking off at 3:15 p.m. from FIU Stadium.
Western Kentucky scouting report
Over the past few seasons, Western Kentucky has piled up a 24-game losing streak, the longest Football Bowl Subdivision losing streak in the country. The Hilltoppers last win came on Sept. 20, 2008 against Murray State.
What I wrote about WKU in yesterday's blog
FIU is 0-4 and coming off the toughest opening schedule in the SBC. FIU fared well against Texas A&M, Maryland, Pittsburgh and Rutgers, but the losses are starting to pile up for the Golden Panthers. FIU starts the heart of its season on Saturday, taking on a lowly WKU team that is in the dredges of the nation's longest FBS losing streak.
There is no doubt in my mind that both teams will be hungry for a win. WKU has also played a tough opening schedule, but has not played as well as FIU. (Photo is of Anthony Gaitor breaking up a pass against Pittsburgh, Keith Srakocic AP).
For the first time this season FIU is favored in a game. According to the odds makers, the Golden Panthers are 9 1/2 point home favorites against WKU. FIU has been a double-digit underdog in all four of its games.
With the start of Sun Belt play, the Panthers will need a win to alleviate fears that the team cannot finish a game. Quarterback Wesley Carroll (left) is coming off a 23 for 38, 223-yard passing game against Pitt. Carroll, completed an efficient 60 percent of his passes and best of all, Wes threw no interceptions. FIU has been able to move the ball through the air, with Greg Ellingson and T.Y. Hilton (left, photo credit Keith Srakocic, AP) catching the bulk of the passes. The WKU secondary has really struggling to stop anyone.
The FIU offense has been playing at a higher level ever since Maryland, but the defense has struggled. Pittsburgh running back Ray Graham had a field day rushing for 277 yards on 29 carries and three touchdowns against FIU. Graham had 79, 34 and 19-yard rushes for touchdowns in Pitts' 44-17 win on Saturday. FIU will need to desperately address the rushing defense to stop WKU. The Hilltoppers' Bobby Rainey, is capable of making plays.
FIU will move the ball early but can they stop WKU? I expect this to be a close game at first, but FIU should be able to pull away late. I expect the FIU defense to be the difference in the game. FIU should be able to put pressure on WKU's quarterback and push him into making mistakes. If FIU can stop Rainey, then FIU will win. Carroll just needs to be efficient and protect the ball. I expect the FIU receivers to have a big day.