Game Information - September 13, 2014, FIU Stadium, 12:00 p.m., FS1
Location - Miami, Florida.
Enrollment - 50,394 (36,217 undergrads;14,177 postgraduates)
Stadium - FIU Stadium, 20,000 capacity
Notable Alumni - T.Y. Hilton, Colts Wide Receiver; Andy Garcia, Actor; Raja Bell, ex-NBA player.
Conference Affiliation - Conference USA (2013-present)
National Championships - None
Head Coach - Ron Turner (1-11 at FIU, 43-72 overall)
Series History - Pitt leads the series 1-0 with a 44-17 win in 2010.
Florida International is in their second season of the Ron Turner era, and there's nowhere to go but up from their 1-11 campaign in 2013. Turner has spent most of his time recently as an NFL assistant and before that, he had an uninspiring stint at Illinois with only two bowl games in eight seasons. Way back when, Turner was an assistant at Pitt in 1983-84. FIU had one of the worst offense in all of the FBS, and the goal will be to be somewhat competent this season. EJ Hilliard will likely be the starting quarterback after being a part time starter in 2013. He only threw for three touchdowns in 132 pass attempts last season.
Both leading rushers are back, and the running game may have to be the strength for the anemic Panthers' offense. Lamarq Caldwell rushed for 504 yards and he was complimented Silas Spearman III's 368 yards. To point out how bad FIU's offense was, they ranked 125th in points scored with only 9.8 per game. The defense was not much better as they allowed 37 points per game, and the Panthers were certainly on the wrong end of a lot of beatdowns in 2013. It will be hard to see that trend turning around this season. FIU does not appear to be well equipped to do a whole lot of damage this season.
When Pitt comes to town, the FIU Panthers will be coming off a pair of games against two FCS teams in Bethune Cookman (who beat FIU last year) and Wagner. The easy slate to start the year could give them some confidence, and it could be a perfect storm for an upset with a power conference team coming to town. Especially since Pitt will be coming off a nationally televised road conference game against Boston College the week prior. FIU also hosts Louisville the week after the Pitt game and giving a Conference USA team a rare opportunity to host two ACC schools in consecutive weeks.
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