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That Winning Feeling

The quarterback being carried off the field on the shoulders of his teammates. The head coach Mcgator_3 gettting a Gatorade shower from linebacker Scott Bryant and receiver Greg Ellingson. The defensive end acting like a "Monstruo" and the kick returner finishing his career with a sprint and winning an award for it.

Pmcall There was plenty of winning  at the Orange Bowl on Saturday night thanks to your Golden Panthers, who buried North Texas 38-19 and the 23-game skid. Great to finally be able to write a winning game story after 728 days. FIU sends OB out a winner

Looks like FIU may have found its quarterback for the next two years after Paul McCall's (below, left) performance on Saturday night. The sophomore looked like a senior All-American with the way he directed the offense going 11 of 19 for 228 yards and 3 TDs. (I know it's been repeated here before: McCall is a sophomore on the field and a senior in the classroom. He still has two years of eligibility on the football field).

Mccall I have not seen an FIU offense look as productive and as in sync since possibly the last few games of 2005. Not too shabby a debut by PM. Could he have played earlier this season? Saturday's game sure made a case for it. Here's what impressed me the most from PM against North Texas. Early on when the offense couldn't get in rhythm, PM did not panic. PM looked so poised out there sort of like he had been running this offense in a video game or since Pop Warner football. He took what the defense gave him. When protection broke down, PM scrambled and made smart plays such as throwing a ball away when there was no one open or tucking the ball and running. As for PM's running, he looked pretty nimble to me when he did take off. On that 9-yard run in the third quarter, PM made a move to fake out a NT linebacker to get the 9 yards. He sure did not look lead-footed. PM also went through his reads and did not stare down his receivers which had the Mean Green DBs off-balance.

Several Golden Panthers carried PM off the field afterwards and when PM entered the Orange Bowl locker room his teammates serenaded him with chants of "Brady, Brady, Brady" for New England QB Tom Brady. Since Tb PM wears No. 12 and had a Brady-like game on Saturday.

Going into spring practice in about 3 or 4 months, MC and offensive coordinator James Coley will have a great situation on their hands -- 2 QBs that can play. Although it's only been one game and a half, PM may be a more complete QB than Wayne Younger. But you cannot discount WY's athleticism. Heck, we may even see him at receiver next season (like Hines Ward), just a hunch. The great situation sort of plays out like the LSU QBs. This year LSU has a passer in Matt Flynn and a runner/passer in Ryan Perrilloux. Not to mention, you have to see how Colt Anderson progresses in year two and don't discount freshman Darold Hughes, who ran the scout team this season while redshirting. Hughes showed some talent and a strong arm. Regardless, FIU's QB situation is 100 percent better than it was before the opener at Penn State just 3 months ago. Some college teams don't even have one good QB. U interpret as u like.

How about defensive end Audric Adger (right) saving his best performance for his last college game in the Adger_2 Orange Bowl's last college game. AA tied Antwan "El Monstruo" Barnes' school record of 4 sacks in one game. Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. Afterwards, he gave some kid the Joe_2 wristband he wore during the game. Almost like Mean Joe Greene in that old Coke ad. AA also may have had the quote of the year when I asked him about his final college game and the OB's final college game, Adger said: "It was the last game and you got to let it hang loose. It was awesome to win the last game here. It's something other teams couldn't do so we're proud to close this building the right way." Wouldn't it have been funny if FIU would have scored 48 points??

Lionell Singleton finished his FIU career in a hurry with that 84-yard blaze of a kickoff return for a touchdown that put FIU up for good at 14-12. He also had an interception. This morning LS was awarded the Sun Belt Special Teams Player of the Week honor.

If you read this morning's Miami Herald, then you know MC and his coaches did not wait long to hit the recruiting trail. FIU coaches recruiting . From watching this season, some of FIU's needs are impact pass rushers (a la El Monstruo, Alexander Bostic, Keke Bouie). FIU also needs some beef on both O & D lines. Could also use an impact, workhorse running back, defensive backs and a kicker.

Let's see what February's signing day brings. Already mentioned spring practice is in 3 or 4 months. Here are the official countdowns as of today for: 2008 opener at Kansas (271 days) 2008 new stadium opener vs. USF (292 days). Ending the 23-game losing streak in the OB's final game: priceless.

PANTHER PAWSE

Cham Whoa! Everyone settle down. I've consulted with the FIU witches (here they are on the left with the Win a GPP Blog winning cake) and I've read everyone's comments regarding the Win a GPP Blog. Since I got a little lax enforcing the in-times for scores, we'll have two guest bloggers as the winners of Gpp our Win a GPP Blog. By count of our final leaderboard, FIUrulez and CrazyCane were the only two readers to finish with perfect 12-0 records by correctly predicting FIU to win last Saturday. CC may actually be an FIU fan after all who has a closet of blue and gold.

FIUrulez and CrazyCane write your blogs to my e-mail: ppelegrin@miamiherald.com and also include whatever photos/art you want me to put on your blog -- whether you send the art yourself or you want me to go find the photos/art that you want on your blog. When I have read your blogs to make sure they are clean, then I will post them in their entirety on the GPP.

For the FIU faithful, FIUrulez will have his or her blog up first and then CrazyCane. I will advise when CC's blog is up so that if you do not want to read it, then you don't have to.

Here is the final Win a GPP Blog leaderboard:

12-0: FIUrulez 236, CrazyCane 326.

11-1: FIUPantherFan 232, NY Josh 246, Fomenter 264.

10-2: FIU Fanatic 261, GPP 280, 24/7 303.    7-5: Messod 286.

On to the GPP reader mail....

Quijote & Baltimorepanther: We may have gotten a glimpse of Paul McCall's talent in the 2006 season opener at Middle Tennessee when Josh Padrick got knocked out for one play. PM entered. MT went with an all-out blitz on PM on the first play. PM scrambled through the rushers and on the run hit Chandler Williams for an 18-yard completion. Could he have come in sooner this season? Like I wrote above, if we use the last two games as an indication, then yes. WY had a better spring, but once PM got comfortable in the spread throughout the season you saw what he can do. I thought before the season that PM and WY would split quarterback duties the whole season until one emerged. But coaches thought WY was better suited to the new spread offense. Now we know both can equally run the spread with McCall being the better passer.

Andy D: Though this is not an FAU blog, we'll take your coincidences since the Dolphins got hammered Scar yesterday. How about that wise old Owl Howard? Tell your boys to try the beignets at Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans and say hello to the Scarlett Johansson look-a-like bartender at Luke's on Charles Street. Tell her it's your first rodeo in the Big Easy.

Puma: Judging from the first five games, the FIU hoops team does not have it together physically and mentally. The team is not aggressive driving to the hoop, many times settling for jumpers. There is no Ivan interior defense. Opponents have had a field day with easy baskets in the paint against FIU. And the Golden Panthers don't have that one horse they can count on when they need a basket like they had when forward Ivan Almonte was here a few years ago. IA is currently playing in Europe. At this rate, TT and baseball season cannot get here soon enough.

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