Davis de­nies his Pan­thers faked in­juries

Orlando Sentinel - - SPORTS MONDAY - By David Furones

MI­AMI — A con­tro­ver­sial part of FIU’s gi­gan­tic up­set of the Mi­ami Hur­ri­canes on Sat­ur­day night was how FIU play­ers, through­out the game, ap­peared to be fak­ing in­juries on the field at Mar­lins Park to stop of­fen­sive mo­men­tum for UM.

The var­i­ous oc­ca­sions in which a Pan­thers de­fender ques­tion­ably fell to the ground in be­tween plays against Mi­ami were met with vis­i­ble frus­tra­tion from the Hur­ri­canes side­line and coach Manny Diaz and boos from the UM fans that out­num­bered the FIU faith­ful in what was tech­ni­cally a home game for the Pan­thers.

Af­ter the game, FIU coach Butch Davis de­nied that the in­juries, which caused mul­ti­ple de­lays in Sat­ur­day’s ac­tion, were in­au­then­tic.

“I’d like for them to look at our med­i­cal re­ports,” Davis said. “I guar­an­tee you: I’ve never coached a foot­ball team that has had as many ham­string and groin in­juries this en­tire sea­son, and this is the truth, OK?

“Our med­i­cal peo­ple have tracked ev­ery kid on our foot­ball team that has missed a prac­tice. We’re over 700 through 11 games. We’ve got 100 kids on the team. One kid misses eight. One misses five. It doesn’t take long to get there, but we’ve got a bunch of kids that have had ham­string in­juries and stuff like that.”

The first in­stance hap­pened early in the sec­ond quar­ter as Mi­ami trailed, 10-0. UM faced fourt­hand-goal at the FIU 2-yard line and was set to at­tempt a short field goal, but the Pan­thers were called for il­le­gal sub­sti­tu­tion, so with the Hur­ri­canes now at the 1-yard line, Diaz opted to send his of­fense back onto the field and go for the touch­down.

In the midst of con­fu­sion on whether to sub­sti­tute, FIU de­fen­sive end Kevin Oliver, a West­ern High grad, in­ex­pli­ca­bly went to the ground. Of­fi­cials granted FIU an in­jury time­out, and on the en­su­ing play, UM quar­ter­back Jar­ren Wil­liams was stopped on a de­signed run to the out­side.

Later in the sec­ond quar­ter, Pan­thers safety Olin Cush­ion III sud­denly went to the ground when the Hur­ri­canes were get­ting set for an­other fourth-and-1, this time to ex­tend a drive in the FIU red zone. FIU would again get a stop af­ter the in­jury time­out as Wil­liams was rushed on a play-ac­tion roll­out to his left and, go­ing across his body, threw short to an open Michael Irvin II.

Both Oliver and Cush­ion re-en­tered the game. Cush­ion is listed on the of­fi­cial play-by-play as hav­ing ex­ited three sep­a­rate times due to in­jury.

Davis did not ap­pre­ci­ate Mi­ami fans boo­ing the Pan­thers’ in­juries, go­ing as far as say­ing FIU fans did not re­act the same way when UM run­ning back Dee­Jay Dal­las suf­fered a vis­i­bly dis­lo­cated el­bow in the third quar­ter and did not re­turn.

“It’s a shame when some­body boos when peo­ple get in­jured. We didn’t boo when their kid broke his el­bow,” Davis said.

FIU had at least two other in­stances of de­lays due to ques­tion­able in­juries. On the game’s of­fi­cial play-by-play list­ing, the Pan­thers had nine to­tal stop­pages of play, whether le­git­i­mate or il­le­git­i­mate, due to in­jury. Eight of them oc­curred while on de­fense.

MARK BROWN/GETTY

FIU coach Butch Davis has de­nied the Pan­thers were fak­ing in­juries to stop UM mo­men­tum in the Pan­thers’ 30-24 up­set vic­tory on Sat­ur­day night in Mi­ami.

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