Panthers down Arkansas Pine Bluff, 55-9

The football team (3-2, 1-0 in Conference USA) outpaced the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff by a score of 55-9. Here are a few takeaways from Saturday’s game at Riccardo Silva Stadium.

Taming the lions

FIU was a heavy favorite entering Saturday night’s game. The Golden Lions belong to the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), which is a tier below FIU’s playing level, the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS).

For the Panthers, this game was about handling business and getting the backups experience.

The Golden Lions covered 55 yards on their opening drive and converted a 37-yard field goal. The Panthers responded with a 76-yard toss from junior quarterback James Morgan to junior wide receiver Maurice Alexander for a touchdown. FIU followed that up with a 23-yard field goal from sophomore Jose Borregales and a 52-yard touchdown throw from Morgan to junior wide receiver CJ Worton. By the end of the first quarter, the Panthers held a 17-3 lead. They went on to score the next 31 points.

“As a whole offense, I think we’re improving every week. It’s about just continuing to get better and never getting fine with where you’re at,” said Morgan.

Sophomore running back D’Vonte Price had five carries for 110 yards.

In and out

Saturday brought major personnel news, both positive and negative.

The bad news: senior linebacker Fermin Silva has suffered an injury and will sit out the remainder of the year. Graduate student Edwin Freeman should see an uptick in playing time in his place.

The good news: senior running back Anthony Jones may return this season, head coach Butch Davis said in the post-game news conference. He did not specify when. Jones and teammate freshman offensive lineman Mershawn Miller suffered gunshot wounds in an incident in Opa Locka four weeks ago.

“[Jones returning] would be amazing for us. We’ve been tight since high school, so we’re looking forward to getting him back healthy,” said junior wide receiver Maurice Alexander.

Coming up next…

The Panthers have no game this weekend. After that, it’s seven straight weeks of Conference USA competition. The team hosts Middle Tennessee State University on Oct. 13 for homecoming.

“Next week is an opportunity for players to get a little bit healthier. We’ll have limited practices during the middle of the week and try to get ourselves healthy for the final seven weeks,” said Davis.