Miners on road need a win at FIU

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Miners on road need a win at FIU

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Danny Lopez, Contributor

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The Miners take on the Florida International University Panthers Saturday searching for their second win of the season as UTEP now sits near the bottom of Conference USA’s standings. The team is coming off a loss to the University of Texas at San Antonio Saturday night and is hoping to rebound. 

UTEP is still trying to get consistency at quarterback with the rotation of seniors Kai Locksley and Brandon Jones. Between injury and poor play the offense has struggled at times, no matter the quarterback.  

The Panthers come into this game scoring 30 points per contest with a balanced offense. The Panthers average 189 yards rushing and 207 yards passing per contest. The offense averaging 207 yards per game passing for FIU.. The Panthers’ defense allows 24 points per game and holds opponents to 181 rushing yards per game. Through the air, FIU is allowing 190 yards per game.   

Having three running backs among the top 15 rushers in the conference, FIU has a very balanced rushing attack led by Anthony Jones (87-414) and Napoleon Maxwell (61-346). The Panthers average 5 yards per carry on the ground.   

James Morgan leads the Panthers at quarterback and the Bowling Green transfer has thrown seven touchdowns and two interceptions while completing 62 percent of his passes for the team.   

The Panthers 48-23 victory over Charlotte Saturday brought FIU’s record to 3-3 (1-2) and in the middle of Conference USA’s East Division Standings. Holding a 2-1 series record versus UTEP, the Panthers have won the last two matchups, including a 52-12 blowout the last time they played in Miami in 2015.   

The Miners’ offense is ranked 123rd overall, averaging 157 yards passing and 140 yards rushing per game.Not a good start for a football team that is trying to get a second win to get to .500 for the season.  

As for Miners’ defense, it ranks 99th overall, allowing 187 yards rushing and 237 through the air. The Miners on paper seem to be overmatched going into this game versus FIU. It will take an effort from both sides of the ball to come out with a victory for the Miners.   

Third-down efficiency is a significant Achilles’ heel for the Miners as the team ranks dead last in the entire NCAA in this category, only converting 21 percent.   

 The Miners must find ways to get the ball moving, or once again, will find itself on the losing end of a conference matchup. This game will be a barometer of the team’s growth for the season so far.  

“FIU is a team that has a lot of speed on offense and defense,” Coach Dana Dimel said. “They are a really athletic team that had a good season last year and started off this year with some struggles early.” 

The Miners lone win last season was a road victory at Rice 34-26. 

UTEP plays at FIU Saturday Oct. 19 5 p.m in Miami.  

Danny Lopez, Michael Cuviello may be reached at [email protected] 

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