The presence of the biggest name to come out of the football program wasn’t enough to help the Panthers against Louisiana Tech.
T.Y. Hilton, arguably the most successful Panther in the NFL to date, was unable to attract fans or even what looked to be some players to FIU Stadium as the Panthers fell to the Bulldogs 23-7.
Once again the Panthers failed to muster any kind of momentum coming off their second bye week of the season. And such as previous home games, you could have easily played connect the dots with the number of fans in attendance Saturday night.
Mental lapses in judgment also contributed to the demise for the Panthers, giving up over 200 yards on seven penalties. It seems as if this team is past the point of no return as it finished the game with 197 total yards, compared to the 333 for the Bulldogs, a common occurrence in every game this year.
The bye week also seemed to do no better than just give fans and players a week to focus on studies, or so you would think. The offensive line has yet to produce midway through the season, as they allowed five sacks in Saturday’s contest.
The offense also seems to struggle to find openings for running backs Lemarq Caldwell and Silas Spearman, and as the backs fail, so does quarterback Jake Medlock.
The lone positive output from Saturday’s game came as a touchdown pass from Medlock to Jonnu Smith, who led the team with 54 yards, on two catches. For those who don’t follow the sport of football, two catches for only 54 yards to lead a team isn’t saying much.
As the season continues, it comes to question if and when the coaching staff will take some of the blame for the debacle of the team. Does Head Coach Ron Turner still fall under the first-year coach excuse or has he been at the helm long enough to take the bulk of the blame?
There just aren’t enough fingers on a person to point them to. It doesn’t follow in rapper Drake’s footsteps, because, in this case, it all started from the top. Executive director of sports and entertainment Pete Garcia has yet to come out and speak to the fans, or what’s left of them, about the direction of the team.
With a website calling for your head, many people in favor of the site are questioning why Garcia has kept quiet during the whole ordeal.
New buildings are being built on campus but maybe time and money should be placed on rebuilding the football program. Ticket sales seem to continue to take a nosedive and plummet to the bottom of the ocean floor and there doesn’t seem to be an answer in sight.
Even the attempt to bring in one of the youngest stars in the NFL couldn’t fill half of the stands. To give athletics the benefit of the doubt, the game was during a weekend where everyone brings out his or her inner fantasies through costumes.
Teams have been known to hit rock bottom once they begin giving away free tickets, example being the Marlins down in Little Havana. But when tickets are already free for current and former students alike, what more can you offer besides the kitchen sink?
So far, opponents have clipped the nails off the claws of the Panthers, who are now starting to look more like cubs. A Panther is supposed to intimidate its enemy, but these Panthers only seem to be intimidating people from entering the stadium.
As repetitive as it may sound, for those who have been following this team since January, only time will tell if the next game will bring back life to the corpse that is FIU football.