FIU's E.J. Hilliard Likely To Start At Quarterback Against Louisville

Robert Mayer-US PRESSWIRE

Though no official word has been given, a concussion sustained in last weekend's loss to Bethune-Cookman is likely to keep Florida International quarterback Jake Medlock from seeing the field, or at least starting, against Louisville on Saturday.

Should Medlock not be able to go, head coach Ron Turner will hand the keys to sophomore E.J. Hilliard, the guy most Panther fans have wanted to see all season.

If Hilliard's name sounds familiar, it's likely for one of two (or both) reasons.

First, Hilliard was Teddy Bridgewater's backup at Miami Northwestern High School. The two remain close friends and actually share the same nickname.

Hilliard and Bridgewater work out together when Bridgewater goes home to Miami during the offseason, and they share a nickname: "Gump," as in movie character Forrest Gump. In August, Bridgewater told the Louisville Courier-Journal that Hilliard was a fan of the movie: "All of his jokes were related to the movie "Forrest Gump," so everyone would call him 'Gump.' "

The quarterbacks embraced the nickname and started calling each other "Gump." They decided it would be an acronym for "Great Under Major Pressure."

Second, Hilliard saw a significant amount of playing time in last season's 28-21 loss to U of L. When Medlock left that game with a foot injury, Hilliard stepped into his place - and into a college game for the first time - and promptly completed 9-of-10 passes for 82 yards and a touchdown in the near upset.

The rest of Hilliard's freshman season didn't go as swimmingly, as he finished 65-of-94 for 645 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions. Despite losing the offseason QB competition to Medlock, he's appeared in all three FIU games so far, completing 10-of-13 passes for 75 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

Should something happen to Hilliard while playing in an injured Medlock's place, Turner might then have to turn to third string quarterback Travis Wright, the true freshman who starred with James Quick at Trinity for three years.

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