The 2013 season was not kind to the Florida International Panthers. They managed only one win all season, and that was against a Southern Miss squad that had not won since Christmas of 2011 and would not win until their season finale. And that win was by a single point thanks to a fourth-quarter field goal - their only points of the entire second half.
So could we be terribly surprised that they fell 34-13 to a good-but-not-great Bethune Cookman team? Well, yes and no. We would not be terribly surprised that they lost the game. However, we would be surprised to see them lose by three touchdowns, and that margin would have been wider were it not for the touchdown they scored with 90 seconds left to play.
We might also be surprised that said touchdown drive was also the fourth time in the game that the Panthers started a drive inside the Bethune-Cookman 40 yard line, but the first time they came away with any points at all, let alone a touchdown. Or that they would let Wildcats rushers tote the ball for 200 yards in the first half.
You get the point. It was perhaps the ugliest game in an ugly season for the Panthers. Fortunately for them, they would get the opportunity to start last season with revenge, as they would open their 2014 slate with a rematch at home.
Except that they would lose again, and the offense would actually perform worse than it had the year prior.
|3rd down efficiency||3 for 12||1 for 16|
|4th down efficiency||1 for 2||3 for 5|
|Yards per rush||2.2||1.3|
|Penalties/ yards||7 for 50||8 for 47|
As you can see, they did literally everything worse on offense. They managed to accumulate more first downs and not turn the ball over, and they converted more fourth downs, but that was more than likely because they converted fewer third downs.
My favorite part is that they again had four drives that started across midfield, and for the second year in a row the only one of those they turned into a touchdown was a fourth-quarter drive that started at the Bethune-Cookman seven yard line.
On the bright side, this time the defense played better, so they were only down two with about five and a half minutes left to play; but of course, the two point conversion failed. The Panthers actually made it to the edges of field goal range within the last minute, but the team who had gained three yards on their last four run plays decided to, yes, keep on running. You'll be shocked to learn that they ended the game with runs of 3, 2, -2 and -16 yards. THat's how they wound up losing 14-12.
Granted they could have avoided this fiasco if their first two scoring drives hadn't stalled at the eight yard line. But this was the first in a series of near-misses for the 2014 Panthers. If they had scored a touchdown instead of a field goal on exactly one drive in each of their losses, suddenly they would have finished 8-4 (6-2) and nearly made it to the conference title game. I know that "almost 8-4" is still really 4-8, but perhaps there's something to that.
Regardless, since there appear to be zero highlights of this game on the internet, let's just go ahead and pretend that both of these games never happened.
Whoops, looks like there's highlights of the 2013 game. But not for FIU.
Oh, and then let's also hope they manage to not pull of this embarrassing feat in 2015 against North Carolina Central.