Florida International U

FIU Panthers adjust to offensive line injuries

<cutline_leadin>a game of chase: </cutline_leadin>FIU’s De’Shawn Hazziez tries to bring down Old Dominion quarterback Taylor Heinicke during the third quarter on Saturday.
<cutline_leadin>a game of chase: </cutline_leadin>FIU’s De’Shawn Hazziez tries to bring down Old Dominion quarterback Taylor Heinicke during the third quarter on Saturday. The Virginian-Pilot

FIU lost two offensive linemen in the first half, then proceeded to run for 256 yards.

On the Panthers’ first possession, fifth-year senior center Donald Senat went down with a hyperextended right knee. He tried to put weight on it but had to be helped as he hopped off the field. Sophomore Michael Montero played the rest of the game.

In the second quarter, left tackle Dieugot Joseph stiffly ambled off the field. Fifth-year senior David Delsoin, who started every game last season at left tackle and the first game this year, replaced Joseph for the rest of the game. FIU coach Ron Turner said after the game that only Joseph “would be fine.”

Junior running back Anthon Samuel, who ran for 137 yards on 25 carries, said: “I’ve got to give a lot of credit to my O-line. They lost two guys, but they were able to adjust well.”

Two for the money

Redshirt junior wide receiver Clinton Taylor’s jet sweep was FIU’s first two-point conversion attempt this season. It was FIU’s first successful two-point conversion since another wide receiver from Miami Northwestern High, Wayne Times, ran one in against Arkansas State in 2010.

Offsetting frenzy

You don’t expect much weirdness from the occasional event of offsetting penalties. Leave it to FIU to put the wacky into offsetting penalties.

On Saturday, something that happens less often than once per game on average happened three times, and all with Old Dominion on offense. Twice, holding on the Monarchs was nullified by pass interference on the Panthers. And another Old Dominion holding penalty cancelled out an offsides call on FIU.

Earlier this season, FIU took the extremely rare tactic of declining a penalty on Marshall to preserve a Richard Leonard interception. Had it accepted the penalty, with the penalty on FIU, the offsetting penalties would have required the down be replayed and possession revert to Marshall.

Punting shakeup

Some teams have a kicker for long field goals and one for short field goals. FIU now apparently has a long punter and a short punter.

Punting from the Old Dominion 37-yard line, FIU turned back to redshirt sophomore punter Chris Ayers, its punter at the start of the season before being replaced by Jose Laphitzondo. Laphitzondo, a student in the Honors College, came from rugby and isn’t as skilled in the technique of punting to pin a team back.

So Ayers came in and dropped a perfect punt that senior Randy Harvey downed at the Monarchs’ 1.

Packed house

Saturday’s sellout at S.B. Ballard Stadium — originally built in 1935 as a WPA project and modernized in 2009 with three floors of suites on one end — was the 40th in a row for Old Dominion. Official attendance was 20,118.

It’s the first time FIU has played in front of a sellout crowd since another come-from-ahead fourth-quarter loss, the 31-27 homecoming loss to Duke in 2011 before a packed FIU Stadium.

▪ Sophomore guard Jordan Budwig was one of the game captains for the first time this season. The other three were junior linebacker Davison Colimon, redshirt junior cornerback Richard Leonard and junior Michael Wakefield.

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