Indiana Hoosiers (6-7) at FIU Golden Panthers (5-7)
|Date & Time||Thursday September 1, 2016, 7:30 PM (EDT)|
The Line: FIU Golden Panthers +9 -- Over/Under: 61
The Indiana Hoosiers and FIU Golden Panthers open the season Thursday night at FIU Stadium on ESPNU.
The Indiana Hoosiers are coming off their first bowl appearance in quite some time and hope to get off to another fast start under coach Kevin Wilson. An Indiana offense that averaged more than 35 points last year returns a lot of key guys, including receivers Simmie Cobbs Jr. and Ricky Jones, while Devine Redding returns as a 1,000-yard rusher. The concern with the offense is the fact Richard Lagow will replace quarterback Nate Sudfeld, a task that can’t be easy. Defensively, the Indiana Hoosiers have a lot of work to do after allowing 37.5 points last season, but leading tackle Marcus Oliver and playmaking safety Jonathan Crawford are back for another season.
The FIU Golden Panthers enter their fourth season under coach Ron Turner and have won just 10 games the last three years. The good news for Florida International is there’s stability at quarterback, as Alex McGough topped 2,700 yards and 21 touchdowns last season. McGough now has 35 touchdown passes the last two seasons. Thomas Owens also returns after hauling in 51 passes and Alex Gardner is a playmaking running back who had 10 total touchdowns as a sophomore last season. Defensively, the FIU Golden Panthers allowed nearly 30 points a game last season, but leading tackler Anthony Wint is back at linebacker and Niko Gonzalez is capable of holding down the fort at safety.
The Hoosiers are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 non-conference games and 5-0 ATS in their last 5 vs. CUSA. The Golden Panthers are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 Thursday games and 0-3-1 ATS in their last 4 games overall.
FIU doesn't get many national TV games, so this is its chance to make a statement and show up. The Golden Panthers also have some under the radar talent on both sides that can't be ignored. And while the Hoosiers are the better team overall, they're also a team that doesn't play a lick of defense.
I'll take a stab with the points here.