Indiana football vs. Florida International: Time, TV schedule, game preview, score
Panthers host Hoosiers in season opener
MIAMI – Indiana opens its 2018 campaign -- and quest to return to a bowl game after missing out last season -- when it travels to take on Florida International in a non-conference contest Saturday night. The Hoosiers are hoping to get more consistency at quarterback with redshirt sophomore Peyton Ramsey (1,252 yards, 10 touchdowns, five interceptions) earning the job after starting four games in 2017.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network. LINE: Indiana -10.5
Coach Tom Allen likes the team's uptempo offense under offensive coordinator Mike DeBord, and Ramsey should be more comfortable running things in his second season playing in the system.
Senior Luke Timian gives Ramsey an explosive target, having made 68 catches for 589 yards and two touchdowns in 2017, while the sophomore duo of Morgan Ellison (704 yards, six touchdowns) and Cole Gest (428, one) will power the Hoosiers' ground attack.
The Indiana defense will be anchored by senior safety Jonathan Crawford, a playmaker who can also stop a ball carrier, ranking fourth on the team with 62 tackles in 2017.
Golden Panthers coach Butch Davis isn't giving anything away about his quarterback for the opener, listing junior Christian Alexander or Bowling Green transfer James Morgan as the starter, saying he'll wait until the day of the game to make a decision, though both are expected to play.
ABOUT INDIANA (2017: 5-7)
For consistency sake, Allen is hoping Ramsey can stay healthier than last season, when he was sidelined after making four starts under center. But with the recent departure of expected backup Brandon Dawkins, a graduate transfer from Arizona in the offseason, that leaves Allen having to count on freshman MIchael Penix Jr. if Ramsey goes down.
Ramsey is able to pick up yards on the ground, rushing 92 times for 226 yards and two scores as a freshman, but Allen may look to rein in his signal caller and have him stay in the pocket to avoid taking needless hits and avoid injury.
ABOUT FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL (2017: 8-5)
The Panthers had a very efficient offense last season behind quarterback Alex McGough, finishing first in the nation in red-zone efficiency, scoring on 40-of-41 trips inside the 20.
Now Davis' squad has to almost start over, with Alexander only having played in four games over the last two seasons, while Morgan is new to the program.
That means the team will likely try to rely on the ground attack to start so senior Napoleon Maxwell, who averaged 6.1 yards per carry in 2017, will have to be ready for a solid workload against the Hoosiers.
1. Indiana ranked first nationally in forcing three-and-outs defensively, averaging 6.5 per contest.
2. The Hoosiers have won 11 of their last 12 non-conference games and were 3-0 in such contests in 2017.
3. Indiana has won both its meetings with Florida International -- 36-22 in 2015 and 34-13 in 2016 -- with last season's scheduled game canceled because of Hurricane Irma.
PREDICTION: Indiana 31, Florida International 14
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