BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (CBSMiami.com) – The Florida International Panthers will look to make it two in a row Saturday when they head to the Bluegrass State to take on the Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers.
FIU’s defense has helped the school win two of their last three games and overall, the Panthers have put together a solid season of 5-3. If FIU wins Saturday, it will make the Panthers bowl eligible.
For the Panthers, the key to victory will be whether or not the defense can contain the Hilltoppers’ dynamic rushing attack led by senior running back Bobby Rainey.
Rainey has rushed for more than 1,000 yards already this season and is averaging 126.75 yards per game, according to cfbstats.com. Rainey is a workhorse for the Hilltoppers as he is averaging 30 carries per game.
Rainey is running into a defense that is ranked second in the Sun Belt Conference in scoring, allowing just 22.6 points per game. FIU is stout against the run, giving up just 121 yards per game, according to cfbstats.com.
Where FIU is extremely vulnerable is through the air. FIU’s defense has lost two of the games this season by giving up big passes. FIU’s pass defense is ranked fifth in the pass happy conference. FIU has allowed a league best eight passing touchdowns in 2011.
FIU’s offense will live and die by the team’s ability to run the football. The Panthers are averaging 156 yards per game and have scored 12 touchdowns on the ground this season. FIU’s rushing offense is ranked third in the Sun Belt Conference.
Not to be outdone, FIU’s passing offense, led by quarterback Wesley Carroll and wide receiver T.Y. Hilton can move the football. FIU is ranked fourth in the conference in passing offense, averaging exactly 250 yards per game in 2011.
FIU’s game has not been selected for any television coverage, but can be seen in a live stream at wkusports.tv. Kickoff for the game is set for 4:00 p.m.