JONESBORO, Ark. (CBSMiami.com) – The most successful college football team in South Florida heads back into conference play Tuesday night when Florida International University travels to Arkansas to battle the Arkansas State Red Wolves.
Both schools bring matching 4-2 records into Tuesday night’s game, but FIU is trailing the Red Wolves in Sun Belt Conference play by one game.
Arkansas State is poised to attack Florida International’s biggest defensive weakness, the passing game. FIU would be 5-1 if the team could have held up against the pass during the Duke game.
But FIU’s pass defense has been atrocious and is ranked 87th in the country, giving up 245 yards per game. FIU’s defense has surrendered seven touchdowns and just two interceptions in 2011.
Arkansas State brings in the 15th ranked passing offense in the country. The Red Wolves attempt nearly 40 passes per game and gain roughly 303.5 yards per game, according to cfbstats.com.
Where the Red Wolves passing game is very vulnerable is turnovers. The Red Wolves have thrown as many touchdowns as they have interceptions this season.
FIU’s defense can pressure just about any quarterback in their conference, as the defense has pulled won 16 sacks this season. The sacks FIU’s pulled down has them ranked 26th in the nation for sacks.
Arkansas State is scoring nearly 29 points per game and giving up just 21 points per game. On the flip side, FIU counters with an offense that is scoring 28 points per game and giving up the same 21 points per game.
FIU also has the electrifying T.Y. Hilton who now holds the Sun Belt Conference record for all-time receiving yards.
Hilton has also become the first player in Sun Belt Conference history to break 6,000 yards in all-purpose yards and he could break 7,000 by season’s end.
Hilton is also just two touchdown receptions away from setting the Sun Belt Conference record for all receivers.
And if Arkansas State decides to deviate from the passing game and run the football against FIU, good luck. The Panthers are ranked 28th in the country in run defense, allowing just 107 rushing yards per game.
FIU held Duke, from the ACC, to just 49 yards on the ground.
The game is set for a 8:00 p.m. kickoff and will be televised nationally on ESPN2.