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FIU-W. Kentucky breakdown; live blog

Join me Saturday for the FIU-WKU live blog kicking off at 3:15 p.m. from FIU Stadium.

FIU-WKU breakdown

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

The Hilltoppers started the season playing three of their first four games on the road. Western Kentucky's opening schedule has been one of the toughest in the SBC. Western Kentucky lost at Nebraska, at Kentucky, Indiana at home and at USF. The Hilltoppers have struggled to keep pace with their out of conference opponents. Western Kentucky features talented running back Bobby Rainey, who has a team-high five touchdowns. The Hilltoppers open conference play on Saturday at FIU. - Justin Azpiazu GPP.

W Kentucky Kentucky Football(2) WKU has relied on quarterback Kawaun Jakes and running back Rainey (left, photo credit David Perry, AP) on offense. Both are above average players that have big play capabilities. Rainey is considered by the experts to be a little on the small side at 5-8, 196, but is described as an explosive back that can get up the field in a hurry. Rainey has been a work horse for WKU, rushing the ball over 20 times in each of the Hilltoppers first-four games. Rainey has three over 100-yard performances this season, including 155 yards on 30 carries in WKU's 49-10 loss at No. 7 Nebraska (5-0). Rainey had a season-low 64 yards on 21 carries against USF.
2010 stats, Rainey: 508 yards, 94 carries and five touchdowns.
Quarterback Jakes and the Hilltoppers passing game has struggled to start the season. WKU has been conservative on offense opting to run the ball. Jakes best game was against South Florida last weekend, passing for a season-high 221 yards on 19 completions. Western Kentucky scored on a six-play, 80-yard drive late in the game to pad the score. Jakes hooked up with WR Jack Doyle on a 25-yard touchdown pass. Doyle is the Hilltoppers No. 1 receiver, catching 15 passes for 173 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, the WKU secondary has allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete 75 percent of their passes. The Hilltoppers have surrendered an average of 441 yards on defense.

FIU breakdown Fla International Pittsburgh Football
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.
Fla International Pittsburgh Football(2)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.
FIU 34-14.

Justin Azpiazu


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