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12 in 12: Day 11 — Florida Atlantic

Team: Florida Atlantic
Play Western: Nov. 28, at Florida Atlantic
‘08 Record: 7-6
Coach: Howard Schnellenberger
Returning starters: six offense, three defense
The Buzz: Florida Atlantic started last season 1-5, then won six of its last seven games starting with a 24-20 victory at Western.
The goal this season for the Eagles is to not dig the same hole that started with a debut 52-10 loss at Texas. Florida Atlantic opens 2009 at Nebraska, another Big 12 program with historic prestige and a strong home-field advantage.
Outlook: While the Eagles defense is in disarray after graduation took its toll at the end of last season, redshirt senior quarterback Rusty Smith will lend stability to the offense in his third year starting under center.
Smith, like the team as a whole, started off slow last season and had to build himself back to one of the country’s most prolific passers by year’s end. Smith didn’t match numbers from his Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year season in 2007, but he came awfully close, throwing for 3,224 yards and 24 touchdowns.
Assisting the fifth-year quarterback at wideout is Cortez Grant, the team’s leading wide receiver for past two seasons, but most expect tight end Jason Harmon to be a huge threat now that he’s back from an injury that left him out all of 2008.
The defense doesn’t expect to be as efficient. The secondary looks good with senior contributors at safety and cornerback, but there are some gaps to be filled from last season on the line and at linebacker.
How Western can win: With last season’s top running backs gone from FAU, a load of pressure will fall on Smith’s shoulders. Should Smith’s single-game completion percentage drop below average against Western, the Eagles don’t stand a chance thanks to a suspect defense faced with the task of stopping four capable Topper running backs.
-Jonathan Lintner

Team: Florida Atlantic

Play Western: Nov. 28, at Florida Atlantic

‘08 Record: 7-6

Coach: Howard Schnellenberger

Returning starters: six offense, three defense

The Buzz: Florida Atlantic started last season 1-5, then won six of its last seven games, starting with a 24-20 victory at Western.

The goal this season for the Eagles is to not dig the same hole that started with a debut 52-10 loss at Texas. Florida Atlantic opens 2009 at Nebraska, another Big 12 program with historic prestige and a strong home-field advantage.

Outlook: While the Eagles defense is in disarray after graduation took its toll at the end of last season, redshirt senior quarterback Rusty Smith will lend stability to the offense in his third year starting under center.

Smith, like the team as a whole, started off slow last season and had to build himself back to one of the country’s most prolific passers by year’s end. Smith didn’t match numbers from his Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year season in 2007, but he came awfully close, throwing for 3,224 yards and 24 touchdowns.

Assisting the fifth-year quarterback at wideout is Cortez Grant, the team’s leading wide receiver for past two seasons, but most expect tight end Jason Harmon to be a huge threat now that he’s back from an injury that left him out all of 2008.

The defense doesn’t expect to be as efficient. The secondary looks good with senior contributors at safety and cornerback, but there are some gaps to be filled from last season on the line and at linebacker.

How Western can win: With last season’s top running backs gone from FAU, a load of pressure will fall on Smith’s shoulders. Should Smith’s single-game completion percentage drop below average against Western, the Eagles don’t stand a chance thanks to a suspect defense faced with the task of stopping four capable Topper running backs.

-Jonathan Lintner

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12 in 12: Day 10 — Louisiana-Monroe

Team: Louisiana-Monroe
Play Western: Nov. 14, at Louisiana Monroe
‘08 Record: 4-8
Coach: Charlie Weatherbie
Returning starters: Seven offense, 10 defense
The Buzz: Like Western, Louisiana-Monroe struggled to finish on the better side of close games in 2008. Three of the Warhawks’ eight losses were decided by three points or less.
But unlike Western, ULM found a way to win a few — most notably a one-point win over Troy and a four-point victory over Florida International. In a season where the Toppers are hoping to win the close ones, knocking off the Warkhawks is a viable opportunity.
Outlook: ULM lost three-year starting quarterback Kinsmon Lancaster to graduation last season, shifting the focus of this year’s offense to the running game. The Warhawks return all-conference performer Frank Goodin, who ran for 783 yards last season in the shadow of Lancaster’s 1,557 rushing yards as a capable running quarterback.
Goodin will earn more carries, but if the Warkawks win, they won’t light up the scoreboard in the process. The defense returns almost completely in tact from last season and will be the strong side of the team.
ULM is transitioning to a 3-3-5 defense this season and has a trio of linebackers that will ensure the new system’s success. All-conference performer Cardia Jackson joins Josh Thompson in the middle and James Truxillo is back from a knee injury that kept him sidelined last season.
How Western can win: Western won’t face many 3-3-5 defenses, and ULM presents the possibility of running the Wildcat Formation with the return of receiver Darrell McNeal from academic suspension in the spring.
The Warhawks will throw plenty of unique looks at the Toppers on both sides of the ball. How Western adapts and adjusts will key the outcome of this game.
-Jonathan Lintner

Team: Louisiana-Monroe

Play Western: Nov. 14, at Louisiana Monroe

‘08 Record: 4-8

Coach: Charlie Weatherbie

Returning starters: Seven offense, 10 defense

The Buzz: Like Western, Louisiana-Monroe struggled to finish on the better side of close games in 2008. Three of the Warhawks’ eight losses were decided by three points or less.

But unlike Western, ULM found a way to win a few — most notably a one-point win over Troy and a four-point victory over Florida International. In a season where the Toppers are hoping to win the close ones, knocking off the Warkhawks is a viable opportunity.

Outlook: ULM lost three-year starting quarterback Kinsmon Lancaster to graduation last season, shifting the focus of this year’s offense to the running game. The Warhawks return all-conference performer Frank Goodin, who ran for 783 yards last season in the shadow of Lancaster’s 1,557 rushing yards as a capable running quarterback.

Goodin will earn more carries, but if the Warkawks win, they won’t light up the scoreboard in the process. The defense returns almost completely in tact from last season and will be the strong side of the team.

ULM is transitioning to a 3-3-5 defense this season and has a trio of linebackers that will ensure the new system’s success. All-conference performer Cardia Jackson joins Josh Thompson in the middle and James Truxillo is back from a knee injury that kept him sidelined last season.

How Western can win: Western won’t face many 3-3-5 defenses, and ULM presents the possibility of running the Wildcat Formation with the return of receiver Darrell McNeal from academic suspension in the spring.

The Warhawks will throw plenty of unique looks at the Toppers on both sides of the ball. How Western adapts and adjusts will key the outcome of this game.

-Jonathan Lintner

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12 in 12: Day 9 — Troy

Team: Troy
Play Western: Nov. 7, at Western
‘08 Record: 8-5
Coach: Larry Blakeney
Returning starters: eight offense, five defense
The Buzz: Troy is looking to make its reign of the Sun Belt Conference into a dynasty by returning a full coaching staff from last season, the starting quarterback , leading rusher and wide receiver in coach Larry Blakeney’s 19th season as head coach of the Trojans.
Troy earned a vote in the Preseason AP Top 25, and should they refrain from slipping up in conference and put on a respectable show at Florida in Week Two, the Trojans could enter the polls as soon as the halfway point of the season. Tennessee and South Florida are formidable, but Troy is comparable to Western’s first two non-conference opponents.
Outlook: Quarterback Levi Brown took over for injured starter Jamie Hampton six games into the 2008 season and finished with 2,030 yards passing, 15 touchdowns and only three interceptions. Brown is back for his senior season in 2009, and accompanying him at the offensive skill positions is the same group that won five of Troy’s last seven games to end the season on a high note.
Last season sophomore running back DuJuan Harris posted the first 1,000-yard performance from a Troy running back since 2004 despite Blakeney’s pass-friendly spread offense. At wideout the Trojans return their top player from last season in Jerrel Jernigan, completing the trifecta of skill position returns from 2008. Jernigan will move from the inside to outside receiver spot to garner more receptions
The defensive unit is more of the same. Troy’s front four is formidable and the defensive has a plethora of capable linebackers. Depth won’t be a problem, except for perhaps in the secondary. The Trojans will rely on at least one first-year starter at cornerback to supplement a pair of senior safeties, Chris Bowens and Courtland Fuller.
How Western can win: Troy has either won or shared a part of the Sun Belt Conference Championship each of the past three seasons and touts eight of its 15 returning starters as members of the Sun Belt All-conference team in 2008.
The Toppers’ best shot of winning against their most daunting in-conference foe is hope they go overlooked by the Trojans. Troy’s schedule isn’t as strong as 2008’s (included Ohio State, Oklahoma State and LSU), but an uncharacteristically late non-conference match-up looms against Arkansas following the Western game on Nov. 7.

Team: Troy

Play Western: Nov. 7, at Western

‘08 Record: 8-5

Coach: Larry Blakeney

Returning starters: eight offense, five defense

The Buzz: Troy is looking to make its reign of the Sun Belt Conference into a dynasty by returning a full coaching staff from last season, the starting quarterback , leading rusher and wide receiver in coach Larry Blakeney’s 19th season as head coach of the Trojans.

Troy earned a vote in the Preseason AP Top 25, and should they refrain from slipping up in conference and put on a respectable show at Florida in Week Two, the Trojans could enter the polls as soon as the halfway point of the season. Tennessee and South Florida are formidable, but Troy is comparable to Western’s first two non-conference opponents.

Outlook: Quarterback Levi Brown took over for injured starter Jamie Hampton six games into the 2008 season and finished with 2,030 yards passing, 15 touchdowns and only three interceptions. Brown is back for his senior season in 2009, and accompanying him at the offensive skill positions is the same group that won five of Troy’s last seven games to end the season on a high note.

Last season sophomore running back DuJuan Harris posted the first 1,000-yard performance from a Troy running back since 2004 despite Blakeney’s pass-friendly spread offense. At wideout the Trojans return their top player from last season in Jerrel Jernigan, completing the trifecta of skill position returns from 2008. Jernigan will move from the inside to outside receiver spot to garner more receptions

The defensive unit is more of the same. Troy’s front four is formidable and the defensive has a plethora of capable linebackers. Depth won’t be a problem, except for perhaps in the secondary. The Trojans will rely on at least one first-year starter at cornerback to supplement a pair of senior safeties, Chris Bowens and Courtland Fuller.

How Western can win: Troy has either won or shared a part of the Sun Belt Conference championship each of the past three seasons and touts eight of its 15 returning starters as members of the Sun Belt all-conference team in 2008.

The Toppers’ best shot of winning against their most daunting in-conference foe is to hope they go overlooked by the Trojans. Troy’s schedule isn’t as strong as 2008’s (included Ohio State, Oklahoma State and LSU), but an uncharacteristically late non-conference match-up looms against Arkansas following the Western game on Nov. 7.

-Jonathan Lintner

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12 in 12: Day 8 — North Texas

Team: North Texas
Play Western: Oct. 31, at North Texas
‘08 Record: 1-11
Coach: Todd Dodge
Returning starters: eight offense, nine defense
The Buzz: After a back-and-forth shootout won by North Texas cemented Western’s spot as what would have been the worst of the Sun Belt Conference in 2008, the two meet again on Halloween and expect to fight for the same spot — this time on the Mean Green’s home field.
Outlook: North Texas’ quarterback battle was solved upon two-year starting quarterback Giovanni Vizza’s transfer to Texas A&M. In his place will be the heralded coach’s son, redshirt freshman Riley Dodge.
Dodge ran his father’s system throughout high school and gets the pleasure of going to work behind an offensive line that returns all five starters from a year ago. Assisting Dodge in the backfield is senior running back Cam Montgomery, who last season led the team rushing with 928 yards.
On the other side of the ball, North Texas returns nine players on the nation’s worst defense two years running. A trio of linebackers in Tobe Nwigwe, Craig Robertson and A.J. Penson anchor the middle and take a leadership role on a still young defensive unit. Topper fans will remember Nwigwe as the player that finished off last season’s Western-North Texas game with an interception returned for a touchdown late in the going.
How Western can win: Dodge won’t be shaken under center thanks to familiarity with his father’s spread offense system, but the Mean Green receiving corps isn’t as fortunate. Thanks to the graduation of record-setting wide receiver Casey Fitzgerald, North Texas is left with a handful of transfers and underclassmen at wideout.
Western will pit their inexperienced defensive backfield against North Texas’ youth down the sidelines, a match-up that could decide who stakes claim to the bottom of the Sun Belt in 2009.
-Jonathan Lintner

Team: North Texas

Play Western: Oct. 31, at North Texas

‘08 Record: 1-11

Coach: Todd Dodge

Returning starters: eight offense, nine defense

The Buzz: After a back-and-forth shootout won by North Texas cemented Western’s spot as what would have been the worst of the Sun Belt Conference in 2008, the two meet again on Halloween and expect to fight for the same spot — this time on the Mean Green’s home field.

Outlook: North Texas’ quarterback battle was solved upon two-year starting quarterback Giovanni Vizza’s transfer to Texas A&M. In his place will be the heralded coach’s son, redshirt freshman Riley Dodge.

Dodge ran his father’s system throughout high school and gets the pleasure of going to work behind an offensive line that returns all five starters from a year ago. Assisting Dodge in the backfield is senior running back Cam Montgomery, who last season led the team rushing with 928 yards.

On the other side of the ball, North Texas returns nine players on the nation’s worst defense two years running. A trio of linebackers in Tobe Nwigwe, Craig Robertson and A.J. Penson anchor the middle and take a leadership role on a still young defensive unit. Topper fans will remember Nwigwe as the player that finished off last season’s Western-North Texas game with an interception returned for a touchdown late in the going.

How Western can win: Dodge won’t be shaken under center thanks to familiarity with his father’s spread offense system, but the Mean Green receiving corps isn’t as fortunate. Thanks to the graduation of record-setting wide receiver Casey Fitzgerald, North Texas is left with a handful of transfers and underclassmen at wideout.

Western will pit their inexperienced defensive backfield against North Texas’ youth down the sidelines, a match-up that could decide who stakes claim to the bottom of the Sun Belt in 2009.

-Jonathan Lintner

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12 in 12: Day 7 — Middle Tennessee

Team: Middle Tennessee
Play Western: Oct. 24, at Western
‘08 Record: 5-7
Coach: Rick Stockstill
Returning starters: 10 offense, seven defense
The Buzz: The Sun Belt Conference’s two most historically successful college football programs meet to continue a budding rivalry midway into the 2009 season, and to up until their Week Eight match-up, both will be battling to make this game mean something at all when the date finally arrives.
Middle Tennessee State has limped through two straight 5-7 seasons, but most experts speculate that this is the year the Blue Raiders return to the upper echelon of the Sun Belt thanks to 17 returning starters — 10 of them on offense.
Outlook: After a hiatus from coaching at the college level, offensive coordinator Tony Franklin ventured from Troy to Auburn and landed at MTSU for the 2009 season. At his disposal is an offense that has to replace only its signal caller, but after narrowly losing out on last season’s quarterback battle with Joe Craddock, junior Dwight Dasher doesn’t represent a downgrade in talent.
Close on Dasher’s heels is redshirt freshman quarterback Brent Burnette. Should Dasher not return to the same form that won him four games his freshman season, Franklin won’t hesitate to substitute a rookie for the veteran. Phillip Tanner is MTSU’s best threat on the ground and the Blue Raiders go five deep with veteran leadership at the wide receiver position.
And while the offense is full of returning stars, the defense is made up of few standouts. MTSU takes a hit a linebacker and will have to fill two spots with inexperienced replacements, but with safety Jeremy Kellem leading the defensive backfield, the rest of the Blue Raider defense should remain at last season’s level or better.
How Western can win: The Topper defense will need to step up and make MTSU’s attack one dimensional. Tanner is a sure thing running the ball, but Dasher’s arm is often questioned, especially after a 17-of-44 effort last season that included three interceptions in limited playing time.
Should the senior quarterback struggle early on, Western will have little trouble containing a predictable running game.
-Jonathan Lintner

Team: Middle Tennessee

Play Western: Oct. 24, at Western

‘08 Record: 5-7

Coach: Rick Stockstill

Returning starters: 10 offense, seven defense

The Buzz: The Sun Belt Conference’s two most historically successful college football programs meet to continue a budding rivalry midway into the 2009 season, and to up until their Week Eight match-up, both will be battling to make this game mean something at all when the date finally arrives.

Middle Tennessee State has limped through two straight 5-7 seasons, but most experts speculate that this is the year the Blue Raiders return to the upper echelon of the Sun Belt thanks to 17 returning starters, 10 of them on offense.

Outlook: After a hiatus from coaching at the college level, offensive coordinator Tony Franklin ventured from Troy to Auburn and landed at MTSU for the 2009 season. At his disposal is an offense that has to replace only its signal caller, but after narrowly losing out on last season’s quarterback battle with Joe Craddock, junior Dwight Dasher doesn’t represent a downgrade in talent.

Close on Dasher’s heels is redshirt freshman quarterback Brent Burnette. Should Dasher not return to the same form that won him four games his freshman season, Franklin won’t hesitate to substitute a rookie for the veteran. Phillip Tanner is MTSU’s best threat on the ground and the Blue Raiders go five deep with veteran leadership at the wide receiver position.

And while the offense is full of returning stars, the defense is made up of few standouts. MTSU takes a hit a linebacker and will have to fill two spots with inexperienced replacements, but with safety Jeremy Kellem leading the defensive backfield, the rest of the Blue Raider defense should remain at last season’s level or better.

How Western can win: The Topper defense will need to step up and make MTSU’s attack one-dimensional. Tanner is a sure thing running the ball, but Dasher’s arm is often questioned, especially after a 17-of-44 effort last season that included three interceptions in limited playing time.

Should the senior quarterback struggle early on, Western should have little trouble containing a predictable running game.

-Jonathan Lintner

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12 in 12: Day 6 — Louisiana-Lafayette

Team: Louisiana-Lafayette
Play Western: Oct. 17, at Western
‘08 Record: 6-6
Coach: Rickey Bustle
Returning starters: six offense, eight defense
The Buzz: Louisiana Lafayette was an offensive juggernaut by Sun Belt Conference standards last season, yet the Ragin’ Cajuns amassed only six wins all season. Without the team’s big three yardage-gaining machines back for 2009, UL is expected to return to the bottom tier of the conference.
Their only hope? Offensive coordinator Ron Hudson will return and attempt to work some magic in his second year on the job.
As a note, the Ragin’ Cajuns will also host a big-name BCS-conference opponent. Kansas State heads to Lafayette on Sept. 12, the same day South Florida faces Western in Bowling Green.
Outlook: Depleted at the offensive skill positions, Louisiana Lafayette will rely heavily on the experience of its offensive line, which returns all five starters from a team that last season ranked seventh in the nation in rushing yards per game. Unfortunately for the Ragin’ Cajuns, 1,035 of those 3,164 rushing yards came from then-starting quarterback Michael Desormeaux, the 2008 Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year.
Desormeaux is gone along with No. 1 running back Tyrell Fenroy and wide receiver Jason Cherry. Left in their wake is a quarterback battle that’s yet to be solved. Candidates include Brad McGuire and Chris Masson, both of which have experience and near-equal credentials.
On the defensive side of the ball, Louisiana Lafayette returns eight starters from last season, but playmakers are few and far between. Returning linebackers Antwyne Zanders and Daylon McCoy will anchor the defense after recording 69 tackles apiece last season.
How Western can win: The Toppers defensive line will key the tempo of this game. If they allow a veteran front five of Louisiana Lafayette to push them around, yards will pile up for the tandem of running backs senior Undrea Sails and freshman Draylon Booker, who look to run by committee this fall.
— Jonathan Lintner

Team: Louisiana-Lafayette

Play Western: Oct. 17, at Western

‘08 Record: 6-6

Coach: Rickey Bustle

Returning starters: six offense, eight defense

The Buzz: Louisiana-Lafayette was an offensive juggernaut by Sun Belt Conference standards last season, yet the Ragin’ Cajuns amassed only six wins all season. Without the team’s big three yardage-gaining machines back for 2009, UL is expected to return to the bottom tier of the conference.

Their only hope? Offensive coordinator Ron Hudson will return and attempt to work some magic in his second year on the job.

As a note, the Ragin’ Cajuns will also host a big-name BCS-conference opponent. Kansas State heads to Lafayette on Sept. 12, the same day South Florida faces Western in Bowling Green.

Outlook: Depleted at the offensive skill positions, Louisiana Lafayette will rely heavily on the experience of its offensive line, which returns all five starters from a team that last season ranked seventh in the nation in rushing yards per game. Unfortunately for the Ragin’ Cajuns, 1,035 of those 3,164 rushing yards came from then-starting quarterback Michael Desormeaux, the 2008 Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year.

Desormeaux is gone, along with No. 1 running back Tyrell Fenroy and wide receiver Jason Cherry. Left in their wake is a quarterback battle that’s yet to be solved. Candidates include Brad McGuire and Chris Masson, both of which have experience and near-equal credentials.

On the defensive side of the ball, Louisiana Lafayette returns eight starters from last season, but playmakers are few and far between. Returning linebackers Antwyne Zanders and Daylon McCoy will anchor the defense after recording 69 tackles apiece last season.

How Western can win: The Toppers’ defensive line will key the tempo of this game. If they allow a veteran front five of Louisiana Lafayette to push them around, yards will pile up for the tandem of running backs senior Undrea Sails and freshman Draylon Booker, who look to run by committee this fall.

— Jonathan Lintner

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12 in 12: Day 5 — Florida International

Team: Florida International
Play Western: Oct. 10, at Western
‘08 Record: 5-7
Coach: Mario Cristobal
Returning starters: 10 offense, five defense
The Buzz: Florida International returns 15 starters from their best team in a short program history, and with that comes a handful of seniors ready to win after years of wallowing at the bottom of the Sun Belt Conference. The Golden Panthers were a combined 1-23 in 2006 and coach Mario Cristobal’s first season in 2007.
The Golden Panthers finished 2008 with a 27-3 win over Western and in the process became one of many upstart Florida football programs. Less than 10 percent of the roster calls someplace other than the peninsula home, placing FIU alongside Central Florida, South Florida and Florida Atlantic as relying heavily on home state talent to populate the depth chart.
Outlook: The brightest star on FIU’s roster is T.Y. Hilton, who last year became the first player in school history to top 1,000 receiving yards in a season — his freshman season — despite not catching a pass in the team’s first game at Kansas and tallying only 41 receptions all season.
Delivering the passes in 2009 will be Paul McCall. The senior quarterback threw for a modest 2,332 yards last season, but more impressive were his nine interceptions to school-record 15 touchdown passes. McCall will be watching his back, however, with freshman Chris Schirripa beginning to breathe down the veteran’s neck. In last Saturday’s scrimmage, McCall completed one pass to Schirripa’s 6-of-9 on the day.
As a team, the Golden Panthers serve up more than a few unknowns entering 2009. While the only loss on offense came in the backfield, the defense lost over half its personnel, including three on the front line. The good news? Three seniors will fill that void.
How Western can win: FIU will put up some numbers — it’s inevitable with Hilton on the field — but going point for point with one of the Sun Belt’s weaker defenses won’t be the Toppers’ toughest task this season.
Worst-case scenario, this game could be Western’s only FBS win in 2009’s battle for the bottom of the conference.

Team: Florida International

Play Western: Oct. 10, at Western

‘08 Record: 5-7

Coach: Mario Cristobal

Returning starters: 10 offense, five defense

The Buzz: Florida International returns 15 starters from their best team in a short program history, and with that comes a handful of seniors ready to win after years of wallowing at the bottom of the Sun Belt Conference. The Golden Panthers were a combined 1-23 in 2006 and coach Mario Cristobal’s first season in 2007.

The Golden Panthers finished 2008 with a 27-3 win over Western and in the process became one of many upstart Florida football programs. Less than 10 percent of the roster calls someplace other than the peninsula home, placing FIU alongside Central Florida, South Florida and Florida Atlantic as relying heavily on home state talent to populate the depth chart.

Outlook: The brightest star on FIU’s roster is sophomore T.Y. Hilton, who last year became the first player in school history to top 1,000 receiving yards in a season, despite not catching a pass in the team’s first game at Kansas and tallying only 41 receptions all season.

Delivering the passes in 2009 will be Paul McCall. The senior quarterback threw for a modest 2,332 yards last season, but more impressive were his nine interceptions to school-record 15 touchdown passes. McCall will be watching his back, however, with freshman Chris Schirripa beginning to breathe down the veteran’s neck. In last Saturday’s scrimmage, McCall completed one pass to Schirripa’s 6-of-9 on the day.

As a team, the Golden Panthers serve up more than a few unknowns entering 2009. While the only loss on offense came in the backfield, the defense lost over half its personnel, including three on the front line. The good news? Three seniors will fill that void.

How Western can win: FIU will put up some numbers — it’s inevitable with Hilton on the field — but going point for point with one of the Sun Belt’s weaker defenses won’t be the Toppers’ toughest task this season.

Worst-case scenario, this game could be Western’s only FBS win in 2009’s battle for the bottom of the conference.

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