If you missed the FIU Panthers season opener on the road versus the University of Central Florida Knights, you may want to look away slightly while reading this.
Butch Davis returned to the sideline for the first time in seven years. Davis built his name as an assistant and head coach with the Miami Hurricanes. He is back in Miami however with FIU. The buzz on his return ended at kickoff. Davis had a crash course that success will not happen at FIU overnight.
The Panthers opened the season with a 61-17 loss at UCF. McKenzie Milton threw for 360 yards and four touchdowns for Central Florida who spoiled Davis’ return to the field for the first time since 2010. Davis shared his emotions on the return with the Miami Herald. “I enjoyed it. I hate losing. I can’t tell you how much I hate losing. But I really love those kids. There was going to be adversity.” The Knights, who finished 6-7 last season, put up 447 yards of offense in just the first half.
The Panthers, who went 4-8 in 2016 along with their head coach being fired midseason, faced a 30-point deficit at the half. They did show life when Alex McGough found Thomas Owens with 9:30 to play in the first quarter to get FIU on the scoreboard 8-7. Jose Borregales kicked a 39-yard field goal to cut the deficit to 14-10, but from there UCF opened the flood gates and the Panthers were not swimming. Central Florida scored 26 points in the final 11:44 of the first half.
When the Panthers look at the game film, they will need to make defensive adjustments as they allowed the Knights to score at will. FIU also turned it over four times. On film, the Panthers will see that four UCF rushers scored: Jawon Hamilton on a 16-yarder, Taj McGowan on a one-yard plunge, Cordarrian Richardson on a 10-yard run, and Greg McRae on a six-yarder.
The beat goes on as the Panthers host FCS opponent, the Alcorn State Braves, in their home opener.