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College football preview capsules: Florida Atlantic, Florida A&M, Florida International, Bethune-Cookman

FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL vs. La.-Lafayette, noon

The Golden Panthers (1-6, 1-3 Sun Belt) are coming off a 27-10 loss at Arkansas State. Basically, FIU's troubles come down to a defense that has allowed 489.8 yards per game (118th in Division I-A), much of it coming on the ground (239.2 per game, 117th). The Ragin' Cajuns (4-3, 2-1) are coming off a 51-29 loss to Florida Atlantic. They need a win to stay in the Sun Belt title race. Louisiana-Lafayette is 6-0 all time against FIU.

Bethune-Cookman at North Carolina A&T, 1:30

After a pair of wins, the Wildcats (2-5, 1-3 MEAC) lost 16-10 to Winston-Salem last week. A conference title might seem far-fetched, but B-CU can finish with a winning conference record. The Wildcats have one of I-AA's better rushing offenses (159.2 yards per game, 35th). But their scoring offense ranks 111th (12.7 points per game). The Aggies (4-3, 2-2) earned a 30-19 win at Howard last week, keeping them in the MEAC hunt.

Florida Atlantic vs. MidDLE TENNESSEE ST., 4

The Owls (2-4, 2-1 Sun Belt) have won back-to-back road games, the latest 51-29 at Louisiana-Lafayette. FAU's offense averages 448.3 yards (10th in I-A), many of those via the pass, but RB Alfred Morris is among the I-A leaders in rushing, averaging 117.5 yards. He's coming off his best performance of the season, 181 yards and two touchdowns. The Blue Raiders (4-3, 2-1) average 281 yards passing (18th in I-A). QB Dwight Dasher is eighth in I-A in total offense (310.5 yards per game). Defense has hurt FAU. It's 113th in total defense (446.5 yards per game) and scoring (35.5 points).

Florida A&M at Morgan State, 4

After a pair of losses, the Rattlers (5-2, 3-1 MEAC) beat Norfolk State 34-20 last week. QB Curtis Pulley accounted for more than 300 yards of offense and three touchdowns in that game. He's ranked 29th in I-AA, averaging 82.7 rushing yards, and No. 1 in the conference in total offense, averaging 294.5 yards. The Bears (5-2, 3-1) bring in I-AA's top pass defense, limiting opponents to 123.8 yards per game. They won five straight before last week's 35-22 loss at Delaware State. Both teams are tied for second in the MEAC, both needing a win to keep pace with first-place South Carolina State. Morgan State has 20 players from Florida on its roster.

Izzy Gould, Times staff writer

College football preview capsules: Florida Atlantic, Florida A&M, Florida International, Bethune-Cookman 10/30/09 [Last modified: Friday, October 30, 2009 9:27pm]
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