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FIU Playing For Pride

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(Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

(Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Florida International Panthers 2012 season began with high hopes for another bowl bid. Instead, the Panthers season fell apart quickly and heading into Saturday’s game against Western Kentucky, FIU is simply playing for respect.

FIU seemed to have the game in hand last weekend against Troy in the fourth quarter, before giving up a furious rally to the Trojans and losing the game 38-37 to drop to 1-7 on the season and 0-4 in Sun Belt Conference play.

Now, the Panthers will welcome in Western Kentucky, a team that has already knocked off an SEC team (Kentucky) and like FIU is coming off a 1-point loss last weekend (43-42 to a good Louisiana-Monroe team.)

FIU’s Jake Medlock threw for 316 yards and three touchdowns in the defeat last weekend to Troy and has thrown for 696 yards in the last two games since returning from an injury.

But there’s no real way to sugar coat just how bad FIU’s defense has been, despite returning several starters from last year’s bowl team. FIU is surrendering 37.4 points per game, which is dead last in the Sun Belt Conference by almost a touchdown.

Opponents are gaining roughly 432.8 yards per game against the FIU defense, according to cfbstats.com.

On the flip side, FIU’s offense is managing just 26.9 points per game and is gaining just 5.4 yards per offensive play this season. FIU’s also lost nine fumbles this season and is being penalized 8.3 times per game, which puts them further behind the chains.

FIU and Western Kentucky kick off at 6 p.m. and the game can be seen on ESPN3.com.

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