IU football season is finally here.
The second year of the Tom Allen era begins this Saturday as the Hoosiers travel to Miami to face off against Florida International University. Here are three things to know about IU’s first opponent of the 2018 season.
1. FIU is coming off its first winning season since 2011.
FIU is traditionally a pretty weak program. However, under Head Coach Butch Davis, the Panthers have begun to see their fortunes change. Last season, FIU boasted a record of 8-5, concluding with a 28-3 loss in the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl. This will be Davis’ second year in charge of the program, and despite some roster turnover, he will be looking to build off of a strong first season.
2. Head Coach Butch Davis is a proven winner.
Fans may know Butch Davis from his days at the University of Miami, or with the Cleveland Browns or maybe even at North Carolina.
Davis has won everywhere he’s coached, and that hasn’t changed at FIU. At Miami, Davis came oh-so-close to winning a national title for the Hurricanes in 2000, when the BCS controversially placed Florida State in the title game instead of Miami.
In Cleveland, Davis produced a 9-7 record in 2002, his second year in charge. Fun fact: the Browns have only had two winning seasons since 1997. Davis holds one, and the other belongs to Romeo Crennel.
Davis led North Carolina to three straight eight-win seasons 2008-2010, but was forced to vacate wins in two of those years due to an academic misconduct investigation. Even with the 2008 and 2009 seasons stricken from the record books, the fact still remains that Davis has shown the ability to win everywhere he’s coached.
3. FIU is facing a lot of roster turnover, especially on offense.
After one of the best seasons in program history, the FIU offense lost a lot of their production.
Quarterback Alex McGough is gone, and he’s replaced by junior Christian Alexander. Redshirt senior Napoleon Maxwell replaces the departed Alex Gardner, who led the team in rushing yards last season. Also gone is receiver Thomas Owens, who racked up 887 yards and six touchdowns as FIU’s leading receiver last season.
Replacing him will be redshirt junior Maurice Alexander. Alexander started at quarterback in FIU’s bowl game last season, but moved to receiver after a disappointing performance under center. On the bright side for the Panthers, the entire starting offensive line returns from a year ago, which could give the offense some much-needed consistency.
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