Football

Charlotte 49ers vs. Florida International Golden Panthers: Gameday

Charlotte (2-6, 0-5) at Florida International (4-5, 2-3)

Noon, Ocean Bank Field, Miami.

TV: WCCB-TV (Charlotte cable channel 11, digital channel 1212)

Radio: WFNZ, 660. Pregame show at 11 a.m.

SCOUTING FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL

The Golden Panthers are coming off a disappointing 31-17 loss last Saturday to rival Florida Atlantic in a game billed in south Florida as the Shula Bowl … FIU favors a short passing game, and sophomore quarterback Alex McGough does it well. He is completing 66 percent of his passes with 18 touchdowns and only four interceptions … His favorite receivers are running back Alex Gardner and wide-out Dennis Turner, both of them also sophomores … FIU is averaging only 108 rushing yards a game … The defense has been so-so against the run but is among the league’s best against the pass. The Panthers have given up only eight passing touchdowns and have seven interceptions.

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Charlotte linebackers Caleb Clayton-Molby, Nick Cook, Daquan Lucas and Jalen Holt against FIU quarterback Alex McGough and receivers Alex Gardner and Dennis Turner. When the Panthers have succeeded, it’s been because the passing game has carved up an opposing defense. Charlotte’s pass defense has been shaky in the past three games and especially prone to surrendering the big play.

OBSERVATIONS

▪ Charlotte is playing a desperate team. The Golden Panthers appeared headed toward bowl eligibility two weeks ago, with a 4-4 record and games against Florida Atlantic and Charlotte, both near the bottom of the standings. Last week’s loss hurts. Even if FIU wins today, it will need one more victory for bowl eligibility – and its remaining games are Nov. 14 at Marshall (8-1) and Nov. 21 against Western Kentucky (7-2).

▪ FIU head coach Ron Turner says that when he looks at video of the Charlotte defense and then sees the team’s 2-6 record, “it is amazing. What has hurt them is the big plays.”

▪ This is the 49ers’ first football visit to south Florida and their first football meeting with FIU. Charlotte will be greeted with typical south Florida weather – high humidity and temperatures in the mid 80s at kickoff.

BY THE NUMBERS

0 Number of weeks off this season for Florida International. They are among few FBS teams that do not have a bye week. Their regular season ends Nov. 21.

17 FIU quarterback Alex McGough’s national FBS ranking in passing touchdowns (18). He also ranks 19th in passing yardage and has thrown for 200 or more yards in seven of the nine games.

3,025 Career rushing yards for Charlotte junior Kalif Phillips. His 926 rushing yards this season account for more than 25 percent of the team’s entire offensive output.

Steve Lyttle

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