The FIU Golden Panthers open their Sun Belt Conference schedule at home against the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns on Saturday. The Panthers are 1-3 but are coming off a close loss against a ranked team that saw their defense make a very strong effort.
The FIU defense held the Louisville Cardinals to a season-low 323 yards. Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater entered the game with a completion rate of 81.8 percent, but managed only 53 percent (19-for-36) against the Panthers. The Panther offense also took a step forward against Louisville. Redshirt senior Jeremiah Harden stepped in as tailback and collected 102 yards on 20 carries.
The Panthers may have to turn to their defense again. Louisiana-Lafayette is allowing an average of 29.7 points per game, but a pair of key injuries on offense will slow down the Panthers. Starting quarterback Jake Medlock, who left the game vs. Louisville with a foot injury, will not play on Saturday. Starting running back Darian Mallary is doubtful for the game. Together they account for two of the touchdowns FIU had against Louisville.
The Panthers have a challenge against the Ragin' Cajuns, but if they can capture their momentum from the Louisville game they have a good shot at starting out their Sun Belt schedule with a win.
Game Time: 7 p.m. ET
Television Coverage: ESPN3
Radio Coverage: FIU Sports Radio Network at FIUSports.com
Odds: Louisiana-Lafayette favored by seven points