Via FIU Sports

Indiana Football Week One: FIU Primer and Prediction

After more than nine months of speculating, wondering and waiting, Indiana University football is back for its 134th all-time season.  The Hoosiers open the 2018 season with their third meeting in the last four seasons against Florida International.  IU won the previous two contests.

With Florida International’s home stadium only seating 20,000, it shouldn’t be a raucous home environment — at least not compared to what IU faces in the Big Ten.  Moreover, with the Hoosiers having 23 players hailing from the Sunshine State and a strong local alumni base, a decent percentage of the crowd should be pro-IU.

INDIANA (0-0) at FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL (0-0)

Kickoff:  Saturday, September 1; 7:00 PM Eastern

Television:  CBS Sports Network

Point spread:  Indiana -9.5

Series:  Indiana leads, 2-0

ABOUT FIU

  • The Panthers are led by a well known name in head coach Butch Davis.  He is the former head coach of the University of Miami, Florida and the Cleveland Browns.  FIU went 8-5 last year in Davis’ first season with the program.
  • Overall, FIU returns six starters on offense and four on defense.
  • For the first time in four years, the Panthers are replacing their starting quarterback.  Alex McGough started from 2014 to 2017.  He threw for over 9,000 yards and completed 65 touchdowns in his career and was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks.
  • It is expected that both Bowling Green transfer James Morgan and Christian Alexander will see time at the quarterback spot.
  • Similar to Indiana, a major strength of the team will be its offensive line, with most of the unit returning from last year.  The Panthers also return three of their top four running backs, although they did lose their leading rusher from 2017.
  • Beyond the line and the running backs, it will mostly be new faces for FIU on offense.
  • On defense, FIU has lost its top four tacklers from last year.  Overall, the biggest losses are at the safety, corner and linebacker positions.  FIU lost all four starters in its secondary.  The Panthers should be relatively strong on its defensive line where it has depth and experience.

You can see all of our 2018 IU football positional previews here.

Rob Foldy/Getty Images

GAME NOTES

  • Indiana will wear a helmet decal to honor former head coach Bill Mallory, who passed away in Bloomington on May 25, 2018.  Mallory is the program’s all-time winningest coach.
  • IU has won 12 of its last 14 season openers.
  • The Hoosiers have won 11 of its last 12 non-conference games.

PREDICTION

We think this one will be closer than what many are expecting.

FIU has an advantage with its experienced offensive line against the young Hoosier front seven.  Look for FIU to try to slow down the game and eat clock with its running game.  If it’s able to do that it will help the Panthers to protect their own young defense.

On the other side of the ball, Peyton Ramsey and his receiving core will be looking to pick apart the young and inexperienced Panther secondary.  If Ramsey is patient and efficient and the Hoosiers are able to effectively mix in the running game, they should be able to put up points.

A score on defense or special teams will likely turn this game.  We see the Hoosiers pulling it out late in a nail biter.

INDIANA 24

FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL 20


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