FIU went into the week short-handed in some spots because of health. Nothing that happened during the week or Saturday helped matters.
When FIU coach Ron Turner went off after the game about the team’s lack of discipline, the fury seemed to be from more than just Saturday. And, indeed, he left starting senior defensive tackle Darrian Dyson and redshirt junior safety Deonte Wilson home for unspecified violations of team rules.
Said Turner: “With what they did, I would’ve left them home no matter what happened” last week at Louisiana Tech, when Turner excoriated his team’s discipline.
“They got left home because they didn’t deserve to be here,” he said. “I don’t disclose reasons, but they had no accountability to their teammates. They made a poor decision without thinking about their teammates.”
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According to Turner, Dyson won’t be back next week. Wilson will be.
FIU’s safety medical report didn’t improve. Shemarke Spence’s broken arm has him out for the season, and Wilkenson Myrtil hasn’t been near practicing since his serious concussion two weeks ago against North Carolina Central. With Jordan Davis (knee) and Niko Gonzalez (stinger) still out, the loss of Wilson left FIU down five safeties. That’s why senior Jeremiah McKinnon moved from corner to safety Saturday, and redshirt freshman Mark Bruno started in McKinnon’s usual spot.
“We had no choice,” Turner said of moving McKinnon. “It was either him or me, and I didn’t want to get out there.”
Graduate senior transfer Jephete Matilus started at middle linebacker in place of junior Treyvon Williams. Matilus had a team-high 12 tackles, including a 15-yard sack before having to be helped off the field late in the game.
Sophomore wide receiver Dennis Turner remained down on the field for several minutes after a tumble following an incomplete pass left him looking woozy. Junior tight end Jonnu Smith played and extended his catch streak to 28 games, but caught merely two passes, both bubble screens, for a total of 1 yard.
THIS AND THAT
▪ FIU and UMass soon will announce another two-game extension to their series. The next game in the original two-game deal will be in 2018, but FIU has room in 2016 for one more nonconference game and room for two more in 2017.
▪ FIU’s captains for the game were sophomore quarterback Alex McGough, senior tight end Ya’Kim Griner, fifth-year senior cornerback Richard Leonard and senior defensive end Michael Wakefield. For the first time this season, FIU lost the toss. UMass took the ball, a departure from the trend of toss winners deferring to the second half.