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Coming off its first win of the season last week at Southern Miss, FIU could encounter a similar yielding defense in UAB on Saturday night at FIU Stadium (7:30 p.m.). You can listen to the game worldwide on the FIU Sports Radio Network. I will have the call beginning at 7:25 p.m. Former FIU quarterback Paul McCall will be the guest analyst on this week's broadcast. CLICK HERE to access the radio broadcast of the game.
The Blazers defense allows 193 rushing yards per game which might have FIU freshman running back Silas Spearman and sophomore Lamarq Caldwell licking their chops. Like last week, it will be key for the FIU offense to establish the run game to give quarterback Jake Medlock enough time to throw the ball. Look for Medlock to feed tight ends Jonnu Smith and Ya'Keem Griner, who were both very productive last week and are tremendous athletes. Medlock returned to practice this week after being knocked out of last week's game. Medlock took all the first team snaps during the week and will be under center Saturday.
It will also be important for the Panthers to run the ball with success because of UAB's potent offense, which puts up 30 points per game. The Blazers have scored at least 23 points in four of their five games this season. UAB does it with a balanced attack with running backs Darrin Reaves and Jordan Howard and the passing game of Austin Brown. Although, the Blazers best receiver Jamarcus Nelson might miss the game with a foot injury.
One part of the UAB offense to keep an eye on that other teams have hurt the FIU defense with is the quarterback read-option. UAB backup quarterback Jonathan Perry would be the Blazer to run the read-option on Saturday. You saw what Maryland quarterback C.J. Brown and Bethune-Cookman quarterback Quentin Williams did to the Panthers defense combining for 174 rushing yards and three touchdowns out of the read-option.
FIU should be able to move the ball on UAB, but again the Panthers need to cash in when they reach the red zone. Field goals will not get it done against this potent UAB offense. If FIU shuts down the read-option and gets six instead of three when it is in the red zone then the Panthers should have their second win of the season come Sunday.
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