LOUISVILLE (CBSMiami) – The Ron Turner-led Florida International University Panthers are looking for their first victory of the season, but won’t find it this weekend when they travel to Louisville to play the Cardinals.
FIU has been flat-out horrible this season, the first under Turner. After going to two straight bowl games just a couple of years ago, FIU lost last week by double-digits to a Football Championship Subdivision school (Bethune-Cookman).
The pain has been felt on both offense and defense under Turner.
According to cfbstats.com, FIU is 124th out of 125 teams in total offense, averaging 191 yards per game, which breaks down to roughly 3.37 yards per play.
In scoring offense, FIU is ranked 124th out of 125 teams, averaging just 7.7 points per game. The only team worse than FIU in scoring offense is Massachusetts.
On the bright side for the Panthers, the team’s defense is ranked 97th in the country in total defense, allowing 438.3 yards per game. Scoring defense isn’t nearly as good, allowing 38.3 points per game, 116th out of 125 FBS teams.
Against that backdrop, FIU must travel to Louisville to play the high-powered Cardinals offense keyed by Heisman Trophy candidate, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
Bridgewater has thrown for 1,002 yards, 10 touchdowns, and just one interception over three games this year. He leads the team’s 19th ranked offense which is gaining 527.3 yards per game.
Last week, Bridgewater and the Cardinals came out flat against Kentucky before eventually pulling away. In the Kentucky game, Louisville ran the ball for 242 yards and two touchdowns.
Given the fact that FIU gave up 311 rushing yards to Bethune-Cookman; the Cardinals may be preparing to run the ball a lot by the time the game is out of hand and the backups come in for Louisville.
Bridgewater will need a big performance to keep his Heisman hopes alive. Louisville’s schedule is weak throughout the season and he needs to dominate the bad competition to be a contender for the Heisman later in the season.
FIU beat Louisville just a few years ago behind a standout performance from T.Y. Hilton. The Panthers, then coached by Mario Cristobal, went on to a bowl game that season.
Louisville is a 42 favorite over FIU this week.