FIU head coach Butch Davis frequently says in his post-game presser that you learn nothing about your team when you win 70-0.
While his team didn’t quite hit 70, he certainly has a lot to assess in the Panthers 55-9 win over FCS Arkansas Pine-Bluff.
The major news for FIU didn’t take place on the field, but instead 75 minutes for kickoff when star DE/LB Fermin Silva announced on his personal Twitter page that he will miss the rest of the season with an injury.
“We’ll see about Fermin, there’s a lot of things that have to be discussed as far as potential draft eligibility and he can also return here,” said Davis.
It’s killing me inside knowing that I’m done for the rest of the season that I can’t go out there and suit up with my brothers but god has a reason for allowing things to happen. We may never understand his wisdom but we simply have to trust his will. I WILL BE BACK pic.twitter.com/KZrBM0IalO— SACKMASTER7️⃣ (@_SACKMASTER7) September 29, 2018
Golden Lion running back Taeyler Porter had 72 yards on the ground in the 1st quarter alone. He would finish the game with 137 yards rushing.
Pine-Bluff came into Riccardo Silva Stadium as a 58 point underdog after being outscored in its last two contests 152-16. For their efforts they put up a reasonably decent fight.
Wide receiver Jeremy Brown hauled a Skyler Perry pass and while dragging an FIU defender made it down to the Panther one-yard line. However, he fumbled away the Golden Lions chance at a touchdown into the back of the endzone while trying to score on the play.
Panther quarterback James Morgan had only completed 60 percent of his passes three times in his entire career prior to FIU. With his 64 percent completion rate tonight, he’s matched his career output this season alone.
“I’m just really comfortable with this offense, it allows me as the quarterback to have some autonomy out there and I’m just trying to get better and watch the film everyday,” said Morgan.
Morgan’s evening would be done at halftime and finished with 341 yards passing and tied a Panther record with four touchdown passes.
While the current quarterback looks to be on the rise, former starting quarterback Maurice Alexander has exceeded all expectations in his move to wideout.
The Homestead native ended his night with 144 yards on five catches.
He took a short swing pass 76 yards to the endzone to put FIU ahead 7-0, along the way showing off the electrifying moves that makes him touchdown threat every time he touches the ball.
“Being a former quarterback helps me because I can read the coverages and I’m pretty sure when I break one loose nobody is going to run me down,” said Alexander.
With the loss of Silva, it will take the defense as a unit to make up for his production. Senior middle linebacker Sage Lewis stepped up to the task recording 16 tackles and safety Rishard Dames added an early interception.
Pine-Bluff began the game short-handed as both starting quarterback Shannon Patrick and leading receiver Josh Wilkes didn’t make the trip due to injury. Backup wide receiver Chris Robison II had to take two drives at QB due to Perry being injured.
A bizarre play would put FIU ahead 24-3 in the second quarter. Alexander caught a Morgan pass and was blazing past Golden Lion defenders when he was stripped from behind. However, fellow wideout Austin Maloney was running in stride next to him and seamlessly corralled the loose ball in the air and would take it the rest of the way.
Napoleon Maxwell and D’Vonte Price added scores on the ground as the Panther running game over-matched UAPB’s defense.
FIU would put it on cruise control the rest of the way as the Panthers will enter a bye week before starting conference play at home against Middle Tennessee State.