FIU: 3 Days and Counting

What are some of the concerns the UT Rockets (1-2) should have in their head-to-head match up in Miami with Florida International (0-2) on Saturday night. Just a few short evenings away from kick-off, Rocket Digest examines these problem areas as Toledo looks to add another one in the win column.

When the Toledo Rockets travel to Miami, Fla., in just three days to take on the Florida International Golden Panthers, there will be numerous obstacles between Toledo and a 2-2 record. dives head first into three of those potential land mines.

1. Weather
It's always interesting to see how a team from the Midwest responds to the hot, sticky weather of the deep South in these early season non-conference match ups. In the early weeks of the season the Rockets avoided such issues by traveling no further then West Lafayette, Ind. On Saturday, though, aside from FIU Golden Panthers, the Rockets must account for a second opponent as well.

According to the mid-week forecast, a Saturday high temperature of 88° awaits the Rockets -- and with isolated thunderstorms to boot. The skies are expected to clear up as the Rockets approach kick-off at 7:00 p.m., but, with humidity thick enough it'd take a steak knife to slice through it, we'll experience first hand if the Toledo summer conditioning program is all it was cracked up to be.

Against both Purdue and Toledo the Rockets offense demonstrated just how potent it can be. Going into Miami, however, it'll take a ball control offense to keep the defense fresh that will make all the difference. Will they be successful at doing that? We'll see.

2. T.Y. Hilton
With Desmond Marrow's continued absence the Rockets secondary has been very vulnerable to the pass. With that in mind, T.Y. Hilton becomes problem number two for the Rockets. Hilton, despite the slightly sub par start to the season, is without a doubt one of the most dangerous receivers the Rockets will face the rest of the year.

Hilton, a shifty 5-foot-10, 175-pound sophomore, caught FIU's first score against the Rockets last season. He finished with 1,013 yards and 7 scores as a freshman. He also added two touchdowns on the ground, threw one touchdown pass, and scored on both a kick-off and punt return.

It's not likely that the Rockets will shadow Hilton with a single back, so both Kenny Veal and Daxon Swanson will need to come up large for the Midnight Blue & Gold. FIU will use multiple wide receiver sets to keep Hilton in the slot. Linebacker on receiver match ups are what the Golden Panthers will be looking for.

3. Emotional Let Down
Fresh of an impressive win over Colorado on national television on September 11, a good showing against Ohio State could have helped put the Rockets back on the big stage. Instead the Rockets came out flat and the No. 12-ranked Buckeyes rolled the Rockets 38-0. Now UT has to make sure the Buckeyes don't beat them twice.

A fast start will provide the team with a much needed confidence boost if the Rockets are to improve to 2-2 on the season. Getting a quality road win before opening MAC play will position the Rockets well for a strong run through the conference schedule.

Coming Up
On Monday – Five Numbers to Note
On Tuesday – Four Names to Know
On Wednesday – Three Big Concerns
On Thursday – Two Key Match-Ups
On Friday – One Bold Prediction

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