Gridiron Preview: Florida International University
MT (3-2, 1-1 Sun Belt) begins practice this week after a tough loss to Louisiana-Monroe, in which the Blue Raiders were out gained through the air and on the ground, and eventually succumbed to the Warhawks, 31-17.
ULM quarterback Kolton Browning lit the defense with 285-yards passing with one touchdown and also adding 44 yards on the ground. MT is looking to bounce back from the loss on the road at FIU Stadium in Miami, Fl.
FIU (1-5, 0-2 Sun Belt) is coming off a 34-20 loss to Arkansas State. The Panthers’ only win of the season came in an overtime shootout, beating Akron 41-38. There is a silver-lining though, quarterback Jake Medlock will be returning to the starting lineup after dealing with a foot injury. The Panthers look to turn their disappointing season around with a win against MT. The Panthers defeated MT last year at Johnny “Red” Floyd Stadium 31-18, but the Blue Raiders have shown much improvement over the last year.
Wide receiver Marcus Henry is emerging as deep threat for the Blue Raider offense, averaging over 20 yards per reception after hauling in a 75-yard touchdown versus Georgia Tech.
MT ranks 43rd in rushing yards with an average of 183.4 yards per game. Their rushing attack is led by running backs Benny Cunningham 370 yards with nine touchdowns and Drayton Calhoun 199 yards with two touchdowns. The team is 61st in passing yards being led by Junior quarterback Logan Kilgore. Kilgore has already thrown for over 1,100 yards this season as well as eight touchdowns. Anthony Amos tops the Blue Raiders’ receiving stats with 32 receptions, 423 yards and four touchdowns. The Blue Raiders also place 44th in points this season with just over 33 points per game.
On defense, the leading tackler for MT is Roderic Blunt with 42 tackles, Leighton Gasque leads the team in sacks with three and there are three players tied with one interception.
FIU is 77th in rushing yards this season averaging 153.3 yards per game. The running game split carries between Kedrick Rhodes (240 yards and four touchdowns), Jeremiah Harden (235 yards and one touchdown), Darian Mallary (209 yards and seven touchdowns) and Jake Medlock (167 yards and two touchdowns).
In passing yards the Panthers rank 84th with 211.0 yards per game. The oft-injured Jake Medlock accounts for 827 yards, four touchdowns and back-up E.J. Hilliard with 419 yards, two touchdowns. Senior Wayne Times leads the Panthers in receptions with 35 and yards with 313, and Kedrick Rhodes along with Jacob Younger have registered two receiving touchdowns. John Cyprien has 53 tackles this season, Paul Crawford tops the team with 1.5 sacks and five players are tied with an interception.
This will be the eighth meeting between the two teams with MT leading the series 4-3. Kickoff is set for 5:00 p.m. central time at FIU Stadium in Miami, Fla.