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FIU goes 0-2 against the Big 10 to start the season

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The Florida International Golden Panthers wanted to make a splash early in the season. By taking on two Big 10 teams at home in their first two games, Coach Ron Turner was hoping to gain at least one win to earn some respect and give his players a boost.

Things did not turn out like Turner hoped as FIU fell to 0-2 following Friday night’s 41-14 drubbing at the hands of the Maryland Terps. They lost to Indiana last Thursday night 34-13, who were helped immensely by two interception returns for touchdowns.

While Indiana and Maryland are from one of the nation’s most iconic football conferences, they are clearly not among the league’s elite. Maryland finished the 2015 season with a 3-9 record while Indiana was only 6-6. The Terps hired D.J. Durkin from Jim Harbaugh’s staff at Michigan to take over their program beginning this season.

Durkin’s team provided an even tougher test for FIU on Friday night. Another interception return against Alex McGough for a touchdown, this time by Jermaine Carter, Jr., put Maryland up 10-0 in the first quarter.

Following the interception, Maurice Alexander came on in relief of McGough and finished the game. From his respectable performance that included one touchdown pass and no interceptions, he may well get the nod to start next week.

It was 31-7 by halftime and 41-7 at the end of the third quarter. Quarterback Perry Hills threw for three touchdowns with D.J. Moore catching two of them. Reserves played most of the fourth quarter.

The Panthers search for their first win next week on the road. They will play against the Massachusetts Minutemen, a team that stayed with the Florida Gators for most of the game last week before falling 24-7.


Bob Sparks is President of Ramos and Sparks Group, a Tallahassee-based business and political consulting firm. During his career, he has directed media relations and managed events for professional baseball, served as chief spokesperson for the Republican Party of Florida as well as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Attorney General of Florida. After serving as Executive Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Charlie Crist, he returned to the private sector working with clients including the Republican National Committee and political candidates in Japan. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife, Sue and can be reached at

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