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The Florida International Panthers will be trying to get back on the winning track when they visit the UTSA Roadrunners on Saturday evening. Florida International had reeled off four consecutive victories before falling to Florida Atlantic this past weekend. The Roadrunners are coming off consecutive setbacks against Louisiana Tech, Southern Miss, and UAB.
Florida International defensive back Richard Dames was ejected for targeting on the heels of a big hit against wide receiver Willie Wright during the Panthers’ 49-14 loss at Florida Atlantic last week. FIU safety Olin Cushion had previously been tossed for a similar hit last month against Western Kentucky. A head of officiating later apologized to head coach Butch Davis for the Cushion ruling, and Davis was also miffed about the call on Dames.
“I looked at the Jumbotron,” Davis said, “and it looked to me that [Dames’] helmet hit the kid in the chest. I love [Dames’] aggressiveness,” Davis said. “We tell all our kids, ‘Don’t ever aim for anything above the shoulders.’ But if you are flying in to make a tackle, and the guy ducks, I don’t know what to tell you. I know that we don’t have a kid on our team who tries to target someone’s head.”
— FIU Football (@FIUFootball) November 6, 2018
Whatever the case, Florida International’s defense needs to get back in business following the performance against Florida Atlantic. FIU is in the middle of the pack in Conference-USA (seventh in total defense) but looked far worse than that while losing to the Owls–who racked up a ridiculous 596 yards of offense (439 on the ground).
UTSA’s offense was its typically anemic self during a 52-3 loss at UAB last weekend. The Roadrunners finished with a mere 220 yards of total offense, compared to 668 for UAB. UTSA did not even reach the 100-yard mark on the ground, averaging just 3.2 yards per carry.
Offensively, UTSA has been led–although that might as well be a misnomer–by quarterback Cordale Grundy, who has completed just 50.5 percent of his passes for five touchdowns to go along with three interceptions. The team’s top receivers are contributing only 46.9 yards per game (Greg Campbell Jr.) and 23.3 yards per contest (Blaze Moorhead). On the ground, neither B.J. Daniels nor Jalen Rhodes is averaging more than 32.9 yards per outing.
The UTSA Roadrunners are:
- 3-13-1 ATS in their last 17 overall
- 0-8-1 ATS in their last nine home games
- 0-6-1 ATS in their last seven games against teams with winning records
The Florida International Panthers are:
- 4-1 ATS in their last five road games
- 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games following a loss
- 5-2 Under in their last seven games following a loss
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
UTSA’s offense went from bad to worse last week, so Florida International’s defense should be licking its chops. As long as the Panthers can be disciplined, their Conference-USA third-ranked pass defense should have no trouble taking care of the Roadrunners. Meanwhile, it is hard to see how the home team will keep up on Saturday. After all, FIU’s offense is fifth in the conference in total offense–including third in rushing.
Prediction: Florida International Panthers
Full-Game Total Pick
UTSA’s offense ranks 128th in scoring and dead last in the entire FBS overall. That’s right; now offense at the highest level of college football is operating as inefficiently as that of UTSA. The under is 5-2 in the Panthers’ last seven following a loss and 13-3 in their last 16 on the road against opponents with losing home records. It is also 11-5 in the Roadrunners’ last 16 overall, 5-2 in their last seven at home, 7-2 in their last nine against winning opponents, and 10-2 in their last 12 against Conference-USA. Look for this one to stay under the total.