Old Dominion-Florida International
Start Time: 6:00 PM EST
Location: FIU Stadium, Miami, Florida
Records: Old Dominion: 3-3. FIU: 3-4. Old Dominion leads the overall series 1-0.
Live Stats: here.
Line: FIU: -13. Over/Under: 51.5.
Old Dominion Outlook: After a season of struggle on offense, the Monarchs went in a different route versus Charlotte and replaced quarterback Shuler Bentley with David Washington. The former wide receiver found an immediate connection with wide receiver Zach Pascal to the tune of 11 catches for 231 yards and three touchdowns. Passing will be much tougher versus FIU, so do not expect those numbers to be recreated in this game. It will be interesting to see how the Monarchs do versus a good defense in FIU.
Running the ball for ODU has been a struggle since a great start to the season. Ray Lawry is leading the way with 669 yards on the ground, but only one other back (Jeremy Cox) has over 100 yards rushing on the year. In addition, the Monarchs have fumbled the ball 10 times, five lost. The run game is good for 150.8 yards per game on the year.
The ODU defense has struggled all season long to stop the run game. Offenses are successful on nearly 50% of all rush attempts for 222.5 yards per game. The front seven should be able to hold their on versus FIU, but did let Charlotte have their way running the ball last week. The numbers for ODU’s pass defense look good at the midway point of the season. Part of that has to do with the fact that teams are only passing the ball on only 39.3% of all offensive plays. Why pass when you can run the ball at will? Overall, the Monarchs are giving up 417.7 yards per game of total offense.
Players to watch on the ODU defense include: TJ Ricks, Oshane Ximines, and Justice Davilla.
FIU Outlook: To say that giving up 42 points to MTSU was a disappointment is a huge understatement. The Blue Raiders were able to move the ball at will versus the FIU defense with ever scoring drive coming from 60 or more yards. The Panthers look to get back to a rush defense that gives up only 3.7 yards per carry. They will face a rushing attack from Old Dominion that has struggled in recent weeks. The FIU pass defense is bend but don’t break in giving up seven yards per pass attempt, but only 231.6 yards per game in the air.
Players to watch on the FIU defense include: Anthony Wint, Richard Leonard, and Denzell Perine.
It will be interesting to see if the FIU offense has turned a corner after scoring 34 points versus MTSU. It was only the second time all season that the Panthers scored over 30. The run game has continued to struggle with one of the lowest success rates in the nation. Alex Gardner and quarterback Alex McGough have been solid, but should have big games versus a very poor Old Dominion rush defense. Expect the Panthers to run the ball quite a bit.
Maybe McGough has turned the corner as a passer. It is no coincidence that his play has improved in proportion to his passes in the direction of tight end Jonnu Smith. Smith, Thomas Owens, and Gardner are the top three targets with 155 passes in their direction this season. Overall, the Panthers have passed for 255.9 yards per game and 15 touchdowns.
Prediction: Old Dominion has been unable to get anywhere near the production of Heinicke at quarterback this season, hurting their running game in the process. FIU is mad and embarrassed coming off of a loss the MTSU in which they gave up 42 points. Florida International rolls. FIU 38, Old Dominion 13.