Florida International U

FIU Panthers face crucial game vs. Middle Tennessee

The situation at North Texas, where coach Dan McCarney was fired following a 66-7 loss to Portland State, makes Saturday’s FIU-Middle Tennessee State game even more clearly an elimination game in the Conference USA East race.

Western Kentucky, which routed Middle Tennessee on Saturday, plays North Texas on Thursday and averages 42.2 points per game. Barring an upset, Western will win to go to 4-0 in conference play. That will put the East leader two games up on the loser of FIU-Middle Tennessee.

And that doesn’t count Marshall, 2-0 in conference play and facing FAU on Saturday. Saturday’s FIU-Middle loser will have to get past three teams and make up two games to reach the conference championship game. If FIU wins, it’ll stay within striking range of Marshall and Western, the Panthers’ final two opponents.