When you saw Wagner on the FIU schedule you might have been like me wondering what's Wagner all about in football. Later this week I'll have Wagner beat writer, Jim Waggoner, drop by to talk about the Seahawks. [By the way, how is that for a last name for the Wagner beat writer? Waggoner]. It's like if CollegeFootballNews.com's Pete Fiutak covered FIU.
FIU plays Wagner for the first time in the Panthers' 13-year history of football on Saturday from FIU Stadium. Wagner is coming off a 21-3 win over Georgetown last Saturday where the Seahawks totaled 330 yards of offense, 167 yards on the ground. The Hoyas were limited to 204 total yards.
You can hear Saturday's game on ESPN 1210 AM at 6 p.m. with Mike Levine and yours truly on the call. Pre-game show starts at 5:30 p.m. You can also watch the game on PantherVision as our radio broadcast will be simulcasted on the live videostream.
FIU played Georgetown, Wagner's opening week opponent, in the Panthers inaugural season of 2002 when FIU was a Division I-AA Independent. FIU defeated the Hoyas 27-2.
The Panthers are 11-13 all-time against FCS teams. FIU is 11-15 against the FCS if you count new Sun Belt member Georgia Southern, who the Panthers lost to twice back in 2003 and 2004. Wagner will be the 54th different opponent FIU faces in its football history. Later this season meetings with Old Dominion, Rice and UTSA will make it 57 different teams FIU has played in its 13-year history.
The Wagner Seahawks, from Staten Island, New York, first started playing football in 1927 and won a Division III national championship in 1987. Wagner has been an FCS school since 1992. Wagner coach Walt Hameline is in his 34th season as the Seahawks coach. Hameline has 217 career wins, which ranks fifth among active FCS coaches.
Wagner was 3-8 last season and returns 14 of its 22 starters. The Seahawks feature nine Florida players, six of which are from South Florida high schools. Wagner was picked to finish fifth in the Northeast Conference.
The Seahawks lost their leading rusher and receiver from a year ago, who combined for 1,699 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Former Fort Lauderdale Dillard High product running back Otis Wright rushed for 74 yards and two touchdowns last week. The Seahawks like Bethune-Cookman like to run the football.
The leading returning receiver Anthony Carrington caught a touchdown pass from quarterback Brian Gehring last week. Gehring (photo above) played in four games last season and beat out Chris Andrews in camp. Andrews played in eight games last season.
Five of the six leading tacklers for Wagner last season are back led by leading tackler linebacker Trevor Loveland, who also led the team in tackles for loss with 12.