LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Florida International returned to the scene of its biggest win and was handed a reminder of how far the program has fallen in two years.
The winless Panthers were held to a school-record two first downs and 30 yards in a 72-0 loss at No. 7 Louisville on Saturday.
"We didn't give our defense a chance at all," first-year FIU coach Ron Turner said. "Offensively, that was the worst performance I've ever been associated with and it started right at the beginning."
FIU (0-4) also had a record-low 43 offensive plays. The previous yardage low was 65 against Western Kentucky in 2002, and the two first downs were four fewer than the Panthers gained at Alabama in 2006.
The margin might have been even worse if not for a clock issue in the second half. Gerald Austin, the coordinator of officials for Conference USA, acknowledged in a statement that the clock was allowed to run at times when it should have been stopped.
"Coach Turner made a comment to one of the officials that, given the amount of injuries and the limited numbers of players he had available, he wanted to run the ball in the second half," Austin said. "One official misinterpreted that comment.
"After reviewing the tape there were five times that the clock should have been stopped and it did not. Four times were on first down and one play where the runner went out of bounds, based on a quick review of the video."
Austin and Turner both said the coach never requested a running clock.
"I did notice it was going quicker," Turner said. "First of all, I don't have the authority to request it. I wish I had the authority. I'm not saying I wouldn't have, you know, but I did not request it."
FIU didn't record a first down until its fifth possession. When Louisville (4-0) punted for the second time with less than six minutes remaining in the second quarter, De'Andre Jasper dropped the fair catch and the Cardinals turned it into another touchdown for a 31-0 lead.
Louisville led 38-0 at the break, and Charles Gaines returned the second-half kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown. Randy Harvey's block on John Wallace's extra-point attempt in the third quarter was as close as FIU would come to stopping the Cardinals.