Panther Preview: FIU Football vs. Maine

FIU's offense celebrating Shomari Lawrence's touchdown. Photo courtesy of FIU Athletics.

Will Duval | Sports Director

The FIU football team is taking on the Maine Bears in their home-opener on Saturday, Sep. 2, 2023 at the FIU Football Stadium in Miami, Florida.

Coming off of a 22-17 loss to the LA Tech Bulldogs, the Panthers are looking to find their footing on offense in this matchup. Holding the lead until the fourth quarter, FIU only had four total passing yards in the game, which ultimately led to their demise.

Maine is playing their first game of the year, leaving many aspects of their team as to be determined in this game. In 2022, they held a 2-9 record and averaged the fourth fewest points in the Coastal Athletic Association.

Despite their record, the Bears were statistically better than the Panthers on both offense and defense in 2022. 

On offense, Maine averaged 23.3 points per game, 148.2 rushing yards per game and 205.5 passing yards per game. 

Defensively, the Bears allowed 31.5 points per game, which was more than they scored in each game.They allowed 412.5 yards per game, the second most in the CAA, making it easy for other teams to execute their gameplan.

In order to leave this matchup with a victory, FIU needs to improve passing the ball as completing five passes for a total of four yards doesn’t give any team a chance to win.

Taking advantage of Maine’s defense will be essential for the Panthers. With a defense that allowed over 400 yards, finding an offensive rhythm will be essential.

In 2022, if junior quarterback Grayson James had at least three total touchdowns, the Panthers won that game. If he had any interceptions, they would lose the game.

Quarterback Grayson James’ statistics during FIU wins in the 2022 season. Photo courtesy of FIU Athletics.

Utilizing the run game, through players such sophomore running back Shomari Lawrence, can be a major weapon for FIU in this game. Last season, Maine allowed 166 rushing yards per game, the sixth most in the CAA.

Both teams come into this matchup with a common goal: collecting their first win of the new season. For FIU to emerge victorious, they have to attack the Bears’ defense and finish the game strong.

The game will be played on Saturday, Sep. 2, 2023 at the FIU Football Field in Miami, Florida.

Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m. and it will be broadcasted on ESPN+.

Follow Will Duval on X: @willduval40

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