FIU running back Kedrick Rhodes missed his second game of the season Thursday as he continues to battle his nagging right ankle injury.
Rhodes practiced during the week leading up to the Arkansas State game, but Darian Mallary started in his place and Jeremiah Harden handled most of the workload.
Harden ran well, gaining 46 yards on 10 carries in the first half as FIU’s running game improved from last week’s 55-yard effort at Louisiana-Lafayette.
Wayne Times extended his streak of consecutive games with at least one catch to 23. Times caught a short 6-yard pass for a first down from E.J. Hilliard late in the first quarter.
The streak is a career high for Times, who can tie Chandler Williams for the third-longest such streak in school history if he gets a reception in FIU’s next game against Middle Tennessee. Cory McKinney holds the school record at 44 followed by T.Y. Hilton (30).
Punter Josh Brisk started his second game in a row, but FIU continued to split the workload between he and kicker Jack Griffin.
Brisk booted four punts for 169 yards. He also dropped three punts inside the 20-yard line. His longest punt was 46 yards. Griffin punted once in the second quarter for 35 yards.
Brisk delivered his best contribution with his feet, however. He gave FIU a lift when it needed it, trailing 7-3 with 6:10 left in the second quarter. Brisk took the long snap and ran up the middle on a fake punt. Brisk swerved through the Arkansas State coverage up front for a key 33-yard run that set up FIU’s second-quarter touchdown three plays later.
Last week against Louisiana-Lafayette, Brisk punted nine times for an average of 41.4 yards — the best by an FIU punter entering Thursday night’s game.
Brisk started FIU’s opener against Duke and posted a 38.2-yard average in the game. But FIU used its kicker Griffin as its punter for the next two games. Griffin was effective in both areas, recording a combined 40.6-yard average in 16 attempts over those games.
Brisk and Griffin also split the punting duties against Louisville.
FIU honored injured Tulane player Devon Walker during the game with a helmet sticker. The blue decal with the initials “DW” honored Walker, who sustained a fractured spine Sept. 8 in a game against Tulsa. Walker was hospitalized for more than a week before being transferred to an in-patient rehabilitation center three weeks ago.
Walker’s plight has inspired several such actions or rallies in his honor and in support of the Tulane program, especially in the New Orleans area.
NOT SO LOCAL
Arkansas State is one of only two teams in the Sun Belt without any players from South Florida. Senior quarterback Ryan Aplin (Fleming Island) and senior running back Anthony Kincy (St. Petersburg Gibbs) are the only players from Florida.