Butch Davis has been around the game football for a long time so chances are high that his message to his defensive staff in the locker room will be a simple one: stop Layne Hatcher.
The Arkansas State quarterback was a third down conversion machine to help Arkansas State take a 20-13 halftime lead over Davis’ FIU squad as the first Saturday of the postseason winds to a close in the Camellia Bowl.
Hatcher was already up to 164 yards and two touchdowns passing, leading the team in rushing for good measure as well with 49 yards. Top target Omar Bayless was heavily involved with his signal-caller as one would expect, hauling in four passes for 78 yards and a score while leaving two other big gains on the table with a pair of drops that were quite disappointing even if the conditions were rainy and a little chilly.
Still, things didn’t get completely out of hand thanks to the Panthers offense doing enough to keep pace. QB James Morgan didn’t find the end zone through the air but did throw for 141 yards and helped FIU go 4/9 on third down.
Things did get a little chippy with a few skirmishes beyond the whistle as things wore on which could only add to the intrigue of the second half. The Camellia Bowl has staged some classics in the past and both of these sides are hoping to play their part in creating another one when the second half rolls around in Montgomery.