In addition to quarterback E.J. Hilliard, two other FIU freshmen saw their first significant pregarbage-time action of the season.
DeAndre Jasper, a speedster out of Miami Jackson High, saw his first action of the season on the kickoff following Louisville’s first touchdown and instantly showed why coaches lamented the broken wrist that kept him out of training camp. Jasper blew up the middle for 70 yards on the return that was called back because of a holding penalty.
Tampa Bay Tech graduate Lemarq Caldwell, thought to be something of a replacement for Darriet Perry as the power back, came in for the goal-line offense during FIU’s first touchdown drive. Lining up as the fullback in the I-formation, Caldwell came open on a flare route off play-action, but redshirt sophomore quarterback Jake Medlock overthrew him.
The first-quarter touchdown by senior running back Darian Mallary gave him a touchdown in each of the first four games, the first time an FIU player has done that.
When Mallary went down in the first quarter, flat on his back, both teams retreated to huddles on the sidelines. Louisville sophomore cornerback Andrew Johnson wandered away from the Cardinals’ huddle for a closer observation of the cluster of coaches and medical staff around Mallary. It was understandable — Mallary and Johnson are brothers facing each other in a game for the first time.
Mallary left the game with 12 yards on five carries.
On the first play after FIU tied the game at 7-7 in the first quarter, Louisville wide receiver Charles Gaines briefly looked as if he would be the beneficiary of the erratic communication that has plagued the Panthers’ secondary this season. Gaines was open on a deep pattern up the right sideline, but FIU senior safety Johnathan Cyprien closed quickly and jumped in front of Gaines for an interception.
FIU’s fourth interception of the season extended its streak to 12 consecutive games with an interception.
After two games with senior Jack Griffin doing the punting, placekicking and kicking off for FIU, Josh Brisk resumed punting duties.
It was no shock that the first block of fans in the student section were from FIU’s swimming and diving team. Steady rains turned the parking lots around FIU Stadium into giant, ankle-to-knee deep pools of water. City of Sweetwater parks and recreation trucks pumped water from the parking lot directly behind the south end of the stadium. The main tailgating lot was impassable by anything less than a canoe.
• The game was thrown back to the 1950s when headset problems for both staffs meant neither could use them in the first half.
• Junior wide receiver Willis Wright got his first start of the season for FIU.
• A pair of 12-men-on-the-field penalties on FIU closed the third quarter. On the first penalty, FIU actually had 12 on the field and only one player came off the field.