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Gameday V, 2012: FIU vs. Louisiana

Two root canals at halftime in my mouth and one beloved father-in-law very late in the game in Mount Sinai in New York. With those in-progress updates out of the way, the latter of which prevents me from gulping gumbo in Louisiana this weekend’s nights and will keep me from covering this game Saturday, we bring you this week’s pregame blog.

Louisiana-Lafayette wants to be called just “Louisiana.” That is their right. The school also likes their nickname, “Ragin’ Cajuns.” So do I. But “Lou-La” and “the RCs” take up less space, type quicker and I’m all about Shelby speed in getting this thing done tonight.

I’m starting with special teams, which means starting with Louisiana-Lafayette punter/kicker Brett Baer. His performance last year against FIU might’ve been the best game by a punter or kicker I’ve ever seen. FIU felt like it kept taking a right hand from Max Baer – Sr., not Jr., who played Jethro on The Beverly Hillbillies – after each punt. Off Baer’s punts, the Panthers started drives at their own 28, 1, 2, 13, 4, 20, 21 and 5. He set the stage for a safety and nailed a 48-yard field goal on the possession after the safety, five points that swung the momentum toward Lou-La. Got a 39-yard field goal, too. He’s leading the nation in field goals per game.

Baer’s still doing his thing. He’s the main reason Lou-La  leads the Sun Belt in gross punting, net punting and kickoff return defense. Considering FIU’s troubles returning punts, I’d say go after Baer. You’re more likely to make him alter his punt than you are to break the return.

Coming back the other way, the RCs rank second in the Sun Belt on kickoff returns and third on punt returns. FIU’s stuffed kickoff returns in three of four games and were good on punt coverage against Louisville, aside from the “didn’t he signal fair catch?” punt return.

Now, when the offenses get the ball…

FIU’s chased Blaine Gauthier – could there be a better name for an RC quarterback? – for two years. He’s run for 198 yards in two games. Nobody’s been forced to scramble against FIU so far this season. If FIU’s secondary has turned the corner, maybe the Panthers prefer to keep Gauthier in the pocket and make him throw. He’s not the tallest quarterback, so if FIU starts to get the kind of push they did up the middle on Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater, expect Lou-La to start sliding Gauthier outside with a moving pocket or on bootleg passes.

Behind pretty much the same line matchup, the RCs had some of the few RBs who ran successfully against FIU. Also, Lou-La’s 13 for 13 scoring in the red zone and they’re not doing it cheaply – nine touchdowns, four field goals.

Nobody’s really stopped FIU’s run game yet (except on fourth down). Expect Kedrick Rhodes back. Don’t expect Darian Mallary. Rhodes, Mallary and Jeremiah Harden all have it going. That’s what’ll be necessary to help out E.J. Hilliard.

Yes, Louisiana’s had a week to check tape on Hilliard, while he essayed the rule of  a true X Factor, an unknown quantity, against Louisville. Expect Lafayette to throw more wrinkles at Hilliard. He might start slowly. Expect a strong finish, however, once he gets settled, especially if the game’s still close and FIU’s running well. Perhaps the most impressive part of last week’s game: Hilliard couldn’t resort to the run. By his second drive, FIU was down 28-14 in the third quarter. They needed something and they needed it fast.

I picked FIU before the season on the basis that this would be a shootout game and would come down to which defense finally made a game-changing play. On the quarterback change, I’m going to back off that a little bit.

Lou-La RCs 35, FIU GP’s 31.

That’s just one black man’s opinion. I could be wrong.

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DJN,

You provide real analyis, not hyperbolic hate or half-hearted contributions, like some of your predecessors not named Pete Peligrin (We HEART Pete P.).

As for today's game, FIU is capable of pulling this off. On offense, if they need 1 yards, they need to ge 3.5 yards. All the refs in the country hate or at least disrespect FIU, so we can't leave anything close.

On defense, be on the lookout for the ULL trick play. Those guys pulled out the all sorts of stuff on us last years...and we fell for it. Not this year, if FIU expects to win.

On Special Teams, i've reduced my expectations to not fumbling. That's it. Anything more is gravy. Just don't fumble the freakin' ball!

FIU 28, ULL 24.

Go Panthers!

I agree that in this game, we need to go after the punts EVERY - SINGLE - TIME!

We can't keep getting pinned in our own 10 for the entire game and God knows we can't return well anyways, so I say just go for a full block and get into this head.

Hell, we can even show a full block, and back off at the last minute to try a return AFTER we get into his head.

Ruh roh...

I remember watching the game last year at home on my laptop cuz I was too sick to make it out. I believe that was where medlock broke a LouLa safetys arm after lowering his shoulder downfield. It was a tough one to lose.

I for one am hoping for lots of rain and a healthy dose of Rhodes and Harden. LouLa plays really well at home and we are going to need something to take them out of their element. If we can force some turnovers early, I believe we can stay on top of these guys.

OH nO we suck again

LOL!!!
Louisiana Laughing-yet 48
Calle Ocho 'Kitties' 27

ut oh!...looks like The Calle Ocho Express to fourandeightsville may be head to Threeandninesburgh instead, because Ark-and-saw State looks poised to hang an L on you bums also!

LOL!!!...hilarious!!!

ops! Make that:
Laughing-yet 48
Calle Ocho's 20

LOL! What a "rise"??? : )

DJN

What is your team analysis. Did they give up on the season after Duke? Is it coaching? Lack of talent? Are they distracted by the elections? What's up? I understand that the sun belt looks great this year. But the panthers defense just looks bad. By the way middle tennesse did what UM couldn't do to GT by beating the living daylight out of the yellow jackets.

just wait to see what middle tenn does to fiu...

Loneoutcast, we may be having a bad season, but that doesn't change the fact that you guys are still no closer to a national title than we are.

Cristobal needs to go, we need a fresh start.

Guys loneoutcast is the same trashday. And he is not a UM fan. He is the same guy that pretends to be a UF fan on the UM site. He is just a guy that enjoys insulting people. The guy obviously has mental issues. I just thought you should know. Notice that he is at this day and night. Go to the other sites and he does the same thing. He also goes on the news and says absurd things to upset people. The guy has been Baker Acted by his family and has been arrested before for fighting. I feel sorry for him. Seriously.

I don't have the pleasure of knowing Mr. trashday, but he seems like a likeable guy!
...certainly a smart young man, I'd say! : )

What's hilarious is that you poor little calle ochians wanted nothing more than the attention of UM fans before your season started and CBS's Computer ranking had you higher than UM, then Duke the All-time Perennial Doormat beat the bejesus out of you, which has been followed up by other less than powerhouse teams beating you handily, til this latest pummeling by some storied jugger-NOT by the name of Louisiana Laughing-yet (to which I am very much, thanks!) 48-20.

You DO realize that if not for your OVERTIME WIN against that Girl Scout Troop from Akron (while playing in your own Little High School Aluminum Bleacher Stadium) you'd be 0-5?

Oh what a "rise"??? : )

@ JulesFIU07
"Loneoutcast, we may be having a bad season, but that doesn't change the fact that you guys are still no closer to a national title than we are."
-------------------

LOL!
By default alone we are closer than Fiwho, Dufus!
How many teams from the Sun Belt Conference has EVER (in the entire history of NCAA Football) made it to a national title game (let alone win one)?...NONE...ZERO...oh I forgot who I was talking to...NADA! WON'T EVER HAPPEN!
And Guess what?...Neither has any team from that other pathetic conference you're moving to (C-USA), and neither will they EVER get to one!

Completely asinine!...but what else would you expect from a calle ocho Soccer fan? (shrugging)

LOL, good one Jules!

You and I know we'll have the last laugh.

MC is a solid citizen but he is not a game day coach. Looks like 3-9 to me. Hope I am wrong.

Sorry to hear about your father in law, DJN.

I read this article and somehow missed the part right up front about your father-in-law DJN. Only noticed it after Diagodog's comment. Wishing your family the best.

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