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Sixteen Candles

The infamy started in Murfreesboro, Tenn. last season when what looked like an FIU offense that was going to blow out a Middle Tennessee defense fell flat after the opening 17-play, 80-yard touchdown drive.

The infamy is of course, the 16-game losing streak the Golden Panthers are currently on -- the nation's longest. So is there a better place to end this misery than against the team and at the place where it started?

Sixt_3Birthdays are traditionally celebrated with candles, so why not celebrate the deathday of the losing streak with candles as well, sixteen candles.

Saturday's game will not be as easy as some people believe. Many of you have written in predicting an FIU win, but here are things the Golden Panthers must do to blow out the streak.

1) Obviously, score. Need more than the high 10-point game FIU posted against Maryland. The MT defense can be scored on as FAU, Louisville, LSU and Western Kentucky have shown. FIU needs to sustain drives (CONVERT 3rd downs) and be able to run the ball so that Wayne Younger gets time to throw. When given time last week, Younger started the game 12 for 13 passing.

2) FIU's D needs to contain MT QB Dwight Dasher, who is just as elusive as Younger. Mobile QBs have always been sore point for the FIU D (see Louisiana-Lafayette's Jerry Babb, Troy's Omar Haugabook, USF's Matt Grothe and last week KU's Todd Reesing). If Dasher is able to run, then FIU's secondary is in for a long day, because the passing game will open up.

3) If MT's regular QB Joe Craddock (back injury) returns for this game, it will be tough for FIU to snap the streak. I know Louisville is overrated, but Craddock had that offense going against the Cardinals. He is not only a good runner, but he's a much better passer than Dasher.

Was going to add that FIU needs to make an extra point (last year's game was 7-6), but let's get real. There was no excuse for the Golden Panthers to score only 6 points in last year's game, especially with the way the offense manhandled MT's D on the first drive. Offensive adjustments were never made to MT's D's adjustments after that first drive last year.

Can the Golden Panthers turn Johnny Red Floyd Stadium into a library and snap their losing streak that Library seems to get mentioned every other day on ESPN's College Football Live Show?

Sure, why not, since we're on the theme of candles, cakes and birthdays, FIU breaks the losing skid on the week of Catherine Zeta-Jones' birthday. Oh and by the way, Zetaj_3 FIU's head coach turned 37 on Monday.

Don't think it will be as ugly a game as last year's 7-overtime sleeping pill against North Texas, but it could be a struggle for points in this one.

GPP thinks: FIU 19, MT 16

PANTHER PAWSE

UltimateFIUFan: Plays have been run for Moses Hinton, but either he has not been open or Younger hasn't been able to get him the ball. Like you, I did not expect him to have only 1 catch for 49 yards through four games, but let's see what Sun Belt play brings.

YouGotGold: I would not be surprised if the FIU playbook has not been completely opened with Sun Belt play yet to start. But you have to admit, the plays in this offense are much more imaginative and less predictable than years past.

NYCFIUFan: Here are the basics about FAU's stadium: 30,000 capacity, cost $62 million, 20 skyboxes, opens in 2010 vs. Michigan State.

CJ: Lionell Singleton will be alternating with Greg Ellingson and others in punt and kick returns. Like MC said yesterday, the depth chart that is released each Wednesday is NOT official. I've learned from Cam_2 college and the NFL not to read too much into depth charts. Deception is a big part of football, just ask Bill Belichick.

FIUJM: Speaking with MC this week, Marquis Rolle is rounding into "football shape" after missing all of camp in August. Rolle was in on 20 plays last week, but no passes were thrown at him. MC says Rolle could play about half the game or maybe three quarters as of this week.

FIUBlue82: After August, the GPP dropped to No. 5 when the Herald combined the Dade and Broward high school blogs. We'll get back up this month.

FI-UM Fan: Yes, MC has said he will wear shirt and tie on the sidelines each game. He said it is to respect the position of head coach and to represent the university well.

fiugrad78: Hey, I got baseball fever as much you do. The playoffs start next week, it's October or Actober as the commercial with Dane Cook goes. I'm going to shoot for an FIU baseball blog when we have the first bye for football which is after the Troy Bosox_3 game next week.

FIUWatch: Welcome to the GPP.

Be blogging to y'all next time from Nashville, Hee-Haw!

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