Panther Preview: FIU Football vs Western Kentucky 

FIU head coach Mike MacIntyre talking with his team in a huddle during FIU vs Bryant. Photo by FIU Athletics

By: Jonathan Mayer / Assistant Sports Director 

Following a bye week, the FIU football team hist the road for the second of three consecutive road games, traveling to Bowling Green, Kentucky on Saturday, September 24th to take on Western Kentucky. 

The game against the Hill toppers kickoffs Conference-USA play for the Panthers. FIU (1-1) is coming off a 41-12 road loss against the Texas State Bobcats. The offense struggled with just 62 yards on the ground and the defense gave up 452 total offensive yards to the Bobcats. 

Panthers quarterback Grayson James made his first collegiate start, going 30-of-47 with 196 passing yards and two interceptions. FIU wide receiver Tyrese Chambers led the way with ten catches for 72 yards, while on the defensive side linebacker Donovan Manuel had 14 tackles on the night to led the defense. 

““We’re a young team and we’re fighting hard, I’m really proud of how hard they’re fighting and it’s a process,” FIU head coach Mike MacIntyre said postgame after the loss.  

Macintyre feels his team is ready for their chance to take on an experienced Western Kentucky team. 

“Our guys are excited to go up there and play. It will be a tough contest for us, they are a very talented team.” MacIntyre added at his media availability earlier this week. 

As for the quarterback battle, Macintyre said there is still no decision between James and Gunnar Holmberg, who left the game against Bryant in the second half.  

“They {quarterbacks] all practiced today, and we will make a decision after Wednesday’s practice.” Macintyre stated. 

Western Kentucky (2-1) is back at home after losing last Saturday to the Indiana Hoosiers 33-30 in overtime. The Hilltoppers led by as much as 11 in the third quarter, only to be outscored 20-6 in the remainder of the game to lose their first game of the year. 

West Florida transfer Austin Reed has looked sharp as the Hilltoppers quarterback after former Hilltoppers quarterback Bailey Zappe was drafted by the New England Patriots in April. 

Reed has started all three games, throwing for 876 passing yards and nine touchdowns, including 329 yards and two touchdowns against Indiana. 

Western Kentucky wide receiver Daewood Davis is a big target for his quarterback. The Oregon transfer has 279 receiving yards, including a 129-yard game against Austin Peay. 

On the other side of the ball, linebacker JaQues Evans leads the Hilltoppers with 17 tackles, and defensive back Kaleb Oliver, who has two picks through three games this season. 

For the Panthers, this is a young team taking on a Western Kentucky squad that won nine games including a bowl game in 2021. 

 I expect FIU to attack on the passing game as the Hilltoppers have given up 264 passing yards on offense this season. Look for Chambers and receiver Kris Mitchell to go deep for big passing plays. 

A point of interest is the Panther defense taking on a Western Kentucky team that has been successful in throwing the football this season, averaging 292 passing yards per game. 

Kickoff from Houchens-Smith Stadium is set for 3:30 PM and will be televised on CBS Sports Network. It can also be heard on 1140 WQBA in Miami. 

Be the first to comment on "Panther Preview: FIU Football vs Western Kentucky "

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.