Two teams from the Conference USA ranks will look to turnaround their seasons after a slow start.
The FIU Panthers (1-4) will host the UAB Blazers (1-4) at Alfonzo Stadium at FIU Field on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET. The game will air on CSS with Matt Stewart doing play-by-play, Chuck Oliver as color, and Hannah Chalker as the sideline reporter.
FIU is hoping its second conference game will be as fruitful as the first; a 24-23 victory over Southern Miss last Saturday. UAB is hoping for a change of fortune following a loss in its Conference USA debut to Florida Atlantic.
The Panthers offense has been off in 2013. They have averaged 9.4 points per game on offense, which is 124th overall. They average less than 200 yards of total offense per game and have also been shut out twice.
The quarterback play for FIU has been a problem. Jake Medlock and E.J. Hilliard have combined to throw just three touchdowns and four interceptions through five games, and are averaging just 117 passing yards per game.
Wide receiver T.J. Lowder and tight end Jonnu Smith have 27 of the Panthers’ 57 receptions, 51 percent of the yards, and all three receiving touchdowns.
The defense hasn’t been much better, allowing 42 points per game and more than 400 yards through the first five games of 2013.
Greg Hickman has been a bright spot on a dark FIU defense. He has 7.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, and three forced fumbles.
The UAB defense has encountered the same success the FIU defense has: very little. The Blazers have allowed 41.7 points per game and more than 480 yards allowed per contest.
Jake Ganus is the defensive player to watch for UAB. He is always around the ball, as evident by his 40 total tackles.
The UAB offense has found some success early on. The Blazers average just more than 29 points per game and 373 yards per game.
Receivers Jamarcus Nelson and Jamari Staples have eight of UAB’s 11 touchdowns through the air. Along with fellow receiver Kennard Backman, Nelson and Staples make up 64 percent of the completions for the Blazers.
FIU Panthers Notes
1) In the win against Southern Miss, true freshman running back Silas Spearman III had 29 carries for 136 yards and two touchdowns. It is the best game by a true freshman running back in FIU history.
2) The offensive line is one of 13 in NCAA FBS to not feature a senior.
3) Twenty two players have gotten their first collegiate start for the Panthers this year.
UAB Blazers Notes
1) In 2012, running back Darrin Reaves ran for 1,037 yards and became only the fourth UAB player — and third running back — to eclipse 1,000 yards on the ground in a season. He has 459 through five games in 2013.
2) Kicker Ty Lawson has made 27 consecutive field goals from within 40 yards.
3) Eleven of Jamarcus Nelson’s 14 touchdowns have come from plays longer than 40 yards.