Davis denies his Panthers faked injuries
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.
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.