Start Time: Saturday, Oct. 14, 7:00 pm EST
Live Coverage: Stats available at http://www.sidearmstats.com/fiu/football/
Location: Riccardo Silva Stadium, Miami, FL.
The Series: This is the initial meeting between the two programs.
Betting Line: Tulane is favored by 14 points.
Tulane Outlook: The Green Wave is on a two game winning streak following last week’s obliteration of Tulsa (62-28). Tulane came out the gate and inundated the Golden Hurricane with seven touchdowns in its first seven possessions, leading to a 48-7 halftime lead. The Tulane defense was stifling as well shutting down what was one of the nation’s top ten rushing attacks, although there were a few coverage busts which allowed the visitors a couple of face saving touchdowns in the second half.
The Tulane offense scored the most points (62) versus an FBS opponent since 1998 and the Green Wave gained 653 total yards, including 488 yards on the ground. Quarterback Jonathan Banks was a brutally efficient 9-for-13 for 165 yards and a touchdown while also rushing for 93 yards on 10 carries and another score. The Tulane running backs had a day, with Dontrell Hilliard garnering LSWA offensive player of the week honors after gashing the Tulsa defense for 175 yards on 19 carries and four touchdowns. Darius Bradwell (71 yards, 1TD), Sherman Badie (68 yards) and Stephon Huderson (21 yards 1TD) joined in revelry as well as Coach Willie Fritz emptied his bench with 11 Green Wave players carrying the ball. Of course when you score 62 points and run for 488 yards the offensive line deserves a large amount of the credit, and the Green Wave offensive front and tight ends are beginning to form a cohesive unit.
Defensively Tulane played very well, but were not flawless due to of a couple of busted coverages which led to Tulsa receivers running wide open. True freshman safety Chase Kuershen had himself quite the game with seven tackles and interception, while the defense as a whole was stifling in the first half. Seniors Ade Aruna, Sean Wilson and Rae Juan Marbley all registered sacks and Defensive Coordinator Jack Curtis was able to get all of his reserves valuable playing time with the game in hand. The Green Wave will look to continue their strong play defensively while correcting mistakes.
FIU Outlook: FIU is attempting to bounce back this week after suffering a setback to MTSU last week which ended a three game winning streak. The Golden Panthers are 3-2 and 3rd in C-USA’s eastern division, as head coach Butch Davis has come in and immediately improved the program’s fortunes this season. The Golden Panthers are led by the trio of quarterback Alex McGough, running back Alex Gardner and receiver Thomas Owens on offense and have the 90th ranked offense in the nation. Last week Owens was nearly unstoppable at MTSU with 11 catches for 162 yards and a touchdown in the loss. Defensively the Golden Panthers are ranked 84th in the nation in total yards and have struggled a bit lately giving up 29 and 37 points in their last two contests.
Prediction: Tulane is on a bit of a hot streak having won their last two games, the offense is operating at a level not seen in New Orleans in a long time, and the team has a some confidence. But this is a bit of a trap game for the Green Wave, as following this contest with FIU are the 18th ranked USF Bulls at Yulman Stadium, and this team needs to be wary of the look ahead game. That being said, the Tulane coaching staff has instilled a mentality in this team which previous renditions of the Green Wave have been lacking, and the Green Wave gets it done in south Florida Saturday night.
Tulane 33 - 17