Florida International U

FIU-Indiana series to be lucrative for Panthers

Saturday’s game was the first of four between FIU and Indiana that’ll net the FIU athletic department $1.4 million.

FIU will receive $1 million from Indiana for Saturday’s game and pay Indiana $200,000 for coming to West Miami-Dade next year. Then, FIU gets $800,000 for returning to Bloomington in 2017 and gives Indiana $200,000 for a 2018 Panthers home game.

Forcing fumbles

Senior defensive end Michael Wakefield forced a fumble from Indiana quarterback Nate Sudfeld on the fourth down stop that ended the Hoosiers’ first possession.

It gave Wakefield two for the season and six for his FIU career, tying former FIU linebacker Antwan Barnes (2003-06) and FIU’s all-time leading tackler safety Johnathan Cyprien (2009-12) for second in career fumbles forced. Defensive lineman Greg Hickman (2010-13) holds the school record with seven forced fumbles.

Reliable

Junior tight end Jonnu Smith caught a pass on FIU’s first drive, giving him at least one catch in all 26 FIU games over his three seasons.

Hands team

The FIU defensive backs might spend a little more time with the Juggs machine this week. For the second consecutive week, a defensive back dropped a chance to open the game with an interception return for a touchdown.

Saturday, senior cornerback Jeremiah McKinnon jumped a bubble screen on Indiana’s first possession yet couldn’t hang on to the ball. In the second quarter, junior safety Wilkenson Myrtil, who almost had an interception the first drive against Central Florida, got his right hand on a pass into the end zone but couldn’t bring in the pickoff.

The next play, Sudfeld scrambled 5 yards for a touchdown.

Moving over

Junior Vontarius West, converted to linebacker from safety, saw an increase in playing time with the season ending pectoral injury to senior outside linebacker Davison Colimon.

Redshirt sophomore Jordan Guest started the game in Colimon’s spot, but it was West who had eight solo tackles and 10 overall in the first half.

Jones targeted

FIU tried a couple of strange ways to get the ball in the hands of freshman Anthony Jones.

Out of their regular offensive set, they twice handed the ball to Jones, 5-11, 190 on inside handoffs in long yardage situations. The first gained 1 yard and the second gained 3 yards.

When the second half kickoff got bounced to Richard Leonard, Leonard pitched it to Jones. Jones got yanked down as FIU got whistled for holding.

Little success

FIU went into Saturday’s game 0-8 against teams currently in the Big Ten, but only 0-2 against teams in the Big Ten when the Panthers played them. Penn State obliterated FIU 59-0 in 2007 and Iowa 42-0 in 2008.

Captains named

FIU’s captains for Saturday’s game were sophomore quarterback Alex McGough; fifth-year senior cornerback Richard Leonard; redshirt junior center Michael Montero; and senior Michael Wakefield. FIU won the toss and deferred to the second half.

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