By: Brandon Wise / Staff Writer
There are moments in a football game that define the team’s season, whether it is a single throw by the quarterback, a defensive stop, or a coach making a major decision. That moment happened this week for the FIU Panthers.
Jake Medlock had been sitting on the bench all season. Sitting, waiting, watching everything Wesley Carroll did as quarterback. Over the past four weeks, Carroll threw four interceptions and did not run the offense particularly well at all.
In steps, Medlock, who when given the opportunity, has run the offense very efficiently. The offense has scored 65 points in the seven quarters that the redshirt freshman has seen action. He brings a dimension to the offense that Carroll does not power run.
Medlock is not afraid to get out and try to run over some of the linebackers and defensive backs. He has even been known to get out front and lead block for Kedrick Rhodes or Darriet Perry.
However, the Jacksonville native better be careful and learn his lesson that he cannot do that every play because other wise, he is going to find himself in a hospital room.
While it was great to see the young gun and future starter get his shot, it was a sad sight to see Carroll watching the game from the sideline with a headset on after taking this team to heights never seen before and leading them to a 5-4 record so far this season.
The redshirt senior was a game manager and handled the offense well when he was asked.
However, last week the offense could only score nine points against a shaky Western Kentucky defense. It seems like head coach Mario Cristobal went with the hotter hand at the time.
There is now a quarterback controversy to deal with in Miami: Carroll or Medlock. Even though he only passed for 135 yards, there is no reason for Medlock not to start against Louisiana-Monroe. He can manage the offense better and find more receivers down field other than T.Y. Hilton.
If Carroll gets the start this week against the Warhawks, it is a despicable move by Cristobal and a blatant sign of disrespect to the senior. He only touched the field against the Owls to hold the snap for the extra points.
Cristobal even put it in a back up kicker to kick the last extra point for the Panthers, but Carroll cannot even get a ceremonial snap at the end of the game.
IT’S ABOUT TIME
This is officially a rivalry now. It took ten years (technically), but the monkey is finally off of the Panthers’ backs. Those obstreperous Owls could not do anything to control Rhodes running the ball, much less themselves.
Even with the win getting the Panthers over the hump against FAU and making them bowl eligible, it is not as impressive a win as one might think by looking at the box score. The Owls are the worst team in college football this season and have barely played up to the enormous expectations that their legendary head coach Howard Schnellenberger places on his team every season.
The Panthers still have a lot to prove with two games remaining in the season. So far in Sun Belt, the reigning conference champions have beaten the teams that they were suppose to.
But, they have also lost to each of the teams that are ahead of them in the conference, Louisiana, Arkansas State and Western Kentucky.
This team can finish the season 8-4 and still finish fourth in the Sun Belt and miss a bowl game. With only two bowl tie-ins, the Godaddy.com bowl and R+L Carriers bowl. The Panthers will most likely have to hope that a bowl committee is willing to pick them up as the fourth team from the Sun Belt.
The chances are slim to none and slim is on the way out.