Panthers’ Preview: football team hopes to gain first win

Peter Holland // Assistant Sports Director

The Panthers are in search of their first win of the season as they will travel to face the University of Massachusetts. The Minutemen are also searching for their first win of the season. For both teams, holding a record of 0-3 is not an option.

Junior quarterback Alex McGough has been struggling to find a rhythm on offense. He’s already thrown four interceptions this season, with three ending in touchdowns. McGough went down with a sore lower back injury last week Friday against the University of Maryland.

Redshirt freshman Maurice Alexander stepped in and showed flashes, finishing the game 9-18 for 131 yards and one touchdown.

“I think Maurice did some good things,” said head coach Ron Turner. “Obviously he makes some mistakes, some things he needs to work on, but I think he showed a lot of good poise and have the feel for the game and responded well.”

Fortunately, McGough has been practicing all week and should be ready to play in Saturday’s game. At least for the Panthers, they do now have a back up with game experience.

MatchUp To Watch: Ross Comis and Marquis Young vs. FIU Defense

The defense has been up and down in the last two games. The main problems for them is making open field tackles. Junior linebacker Anthony Wint is looking for his defense to improve on tackling correctly.

“I feel I need to tackle better,” Wint said. “They’re going to try to run the football, that’s their game, and they’re going to take their shots. We just need to tackle well and cover what need to be cover.”

The defense will go against a young offense led by its two sophomores Ross Comis at quarterback and Marquis Young at running back. Comis will be making his third career start at quarterback. As a dual-threat, he will use his legs before using his arms to make plays. Young is their primary back. Last season he rushed for 960 yards and seven touchdowns his freshman year. The 6-foot, 196 pounder was one of the MAC conferences top rushers, averaging 81.1 yards per game. The Minutemen’s offense also will try to be complex and keep a young defense like FIU’s guessing according to Wint.

“They like to run tackle over and funky formations to mess with your eyes,” said Wint. “So just getting lined up takes part with me and the other linebackers.”

Final Score Prediction: FIU – 23, UMass – 13

FIU will finally get their first win and could finally take one step in the right direction. McGough will find a way to get out of his slump now that the Panthers are playing an inferior team. To get their first win of the season, McGough has to be consistent and communicate better with his receivers.

Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m on Saturday, Sept. 17. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN3.