Florida International and Sam Houston State get back-to-back Wednesday night games, with the two Conference USA squads facing off after both squads lost last week.
Florida International is 3-4 on the season, and all four losses have come in conference play. Sam Houston State, meanwhile, has yet to earn a win this season in their first season in the FBS.
What Channel Airs the Florida International-Sam Houston State Game?
Florida International @ Sam Houston State
- Start Time: 7 p.m. ET
- Channel: CBS Sports Network
- Odds: Sam Houston State -5
- Over/Under Total: 40
Florida International has turned the offense over to freshman quarterback Keyone Jenkins, who has provided a key spark for this Panthers offense. Jenkins has passed for 1,474 yards this season and five touchdowns. FIU’s scheme offers a heavy dose of play-action and RPO calls, and these defined reads have helped Jenkins stay productive while adjusting to college life.
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Helping him out is running back Shomari Lawrence (who has been one of the best backs after contact this season) and wide receiver Kris Mitchell (who leads the C-USA in receiving yards). Mitchell is an electric deep threat who has been Jenkins’ go-to all season.
Florida International’s offense will have to square off against a Sam Houston State defense that belies their record. Only Liberty has allowed fewer passing yards in C-USA this season, and Sam Houston’s defensive backs play tough and contest passes well.
The Bearkats have allowed just eight touchdowns through the air. Their starting cornerback duo of Dakerric Hobbs and David Fisher have allowed just 13 completions so far this season, and the team’s safety room is deep and immensely talented.
Sam Houston State linebacker Trevor Williams is second among all Conference USA defenders and tied for third nationally in run stops this season with 26, playing with a physicality that defies his 5’9″ frame.
However, Sam Houston State’s offense has struggled immensely this season. Quarterback Keegan Shoemaker has been inconsistent this season despite being the Bearkats’ sole form of offense but has looked better the last two weeks.
Leading the Bearkats’ receiving room is slot receiver Noah Smith, who has been Shoemaker’s first and sometimes only read. Smith has had 26 targets over the last two weeks for 196 yards and a touchdown, and their connection is something that this Sam Houston State offense needed to provide an offensive spark.
Shoemaker has been sacked five times this season, but four of those came against Air Force, and he hasn’t been sacked since. D’Ary Patton has bounced around both tackle spots and was the team’s center last year, but he returned to right tackle and has settled in comfortably, allowing zero sacks and just six pressures (five against Air Force).
This makes for an intriguing matchup against Florida International’s defense. The Panthers’ pass rush is one of the best in the conference as well, leading C-USA in total pressures. Edge rusher Alex Nobles and defensive tackle Jordan Guerad both lead their positions in conference play in pressures with 20 and 18, respectively.
Led by cornerbacks Brian Blades and Hezekiah Masses and safety D’Verick Daniel, the Panthers’ secondary is tied with Liberty for most pass breakups in Conference USA and tied for fourth place nationally.
While there aren’t high stakes in this one, this could be the game where Sam Houston State gets its first FBS win and could be an entertaining watch with these two squads playing for pride.
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