For those of you who weren't a fan of the nearly four-hour game last week due in part to the 8,766 commercials that ESPN ran, Friday's game between FIU and Maryland might be more up your alley because you might see a run-heavy type of game.
Running the ball is what Maryland does best offensively and what FIU has to be more consistent doing in order to have its offense flowing.
The Panthers ran for just 63 yards on 21 carries last week in the season opener against Indiana. The lack of a run attack allowed the Hoosiers to get after quarterback Alex McGough and turn the Panthers into a one-dimensional offense. The inability to establish the run last week had FIU possessing the ball for 26 minutes -- seven minutes less than Indiana had the ball. The Hoosiers in turn ran for 246 yards and kept the ball for 33 minutes which eventually took a toll on the FIU defense in the fourth quarter.
Maryland soundly beat Howard last week 52-13 and held the Bison to 69 yards rushing. However, the Terrapins do have some inexperience in their defensive front seven and could be run on. FIU doesn't have to pound the ball on the ground for 200 yards against Maryland. The Panthers just need to make the Terps respect the run enough to open up the FIU passing game. Controlling the ball and thus the clock better will also help the FIU defense against what is expected to be a pretty darn good rushing team in Maryland. Indiana's size kind of wore the FIU defense down a bit in the fourth quarter last week. Maryland presents a similar size issue with only three of its 16 offensive linemen weighing less than 300 pounds.
Maryland rushed for 317 yards last week and got rushing touchdowns from six different players. The Terps run a fast-paced offense and use a variety of backs -- almost like the old Sun Belt Conference type of offenses that FIU used to face. And like those SBC offenses, quarterbacks and receivers get in the run game action as well. Maryland quarterback Perry Hills can run the ball off of option plays. The Terps like to use the inside zone read which will test the discipline of the FIU defense. If FIU reads, no pun intended, the inside zone wrong it can spring some big plays for the Terps.