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FIU 35, Toledo 16....So What Do I Know?

Thank you: gpantera and Quijote you guys are correct. I should not quit my day job and go make a living in Las Vegas. And you know what? That's just fine with me.

BTW, Quijote, nice play-by-play blog you conducted on Saturday night. And it was great to see the huge Ty GPP turnout during Saturday's game. I was planning on going live on the GPP Saturday night, but I got called for other MH duty.

Glad I was wrong about the Golden Panthers this past Saturday, because covering a winning team is a lot easier than what you good people in FIU Nation and yours truly have experienced during most of the first 6 years of the program.

Before we get into Saturday's win over Toledo (Do those 8 words sound and look good on the GPP?) Here's a true story of what I was covering on Saturday night:

I was at Traz Powell Stadium in North Miami focused on The Miami Classic football game between Howard University and Savannah State, which featured 15 former Dade and Broward prep players. This used to be the Orange Blossom Classic that FIU played FAMU a few years ago, but is now renamed the Miami Classic and is expected to move next year to FIU Stadium, but with 2 different teams.

While at The Miami Classic part of me was thinking of what was going on in Toledo........since I had to write a follow-up story on FIU's win for Monday's paper. You can check it out click here.

I did not listen to the game on the radio, but several co-workers were texting and calling me with Bus_2 FIU/Toledo score updates. And then early Sunday morning I got to speak with MC about the game.

MC said when the Golden Panthers bus pulled up to FIU Arena at 5 a.m. on Sunday morning about 200 FIU fans were waiting for the team and screaming "FIU!, FIU!" and he said the players went nuts on the bus and were all proud of the support shown by the FIU early birds before dawn.

As for the grounding of the Rockets, the FIU D was huge again. The Golden Panthers allowed just 146 yards after the 1st quarter to this high-powered attack that put up 54 points on No. 25 Fresno State last week. Coordinator Phil Galiano's FIU D has been stout the past 2 weeks against 2 explosive offenses.

Jonas Murrell and Marshall McDuffie -- a couple of veterans from the 2005 FIU D that was No. 1 in the Mitchdom_2 nation in tackles for loss and No. 28 in total D -- played really well. As did Robert Mitchell (right), Michael Dominguez (right), Scott Bryant, Anthony Gaitor and Dez Johnson. It was encouraging to see the D not panic when it got down 13-0.

The FIU special teams set the D and O up with some strong hidden yardage. Jonathan Faucher's forced fumble and recovery gave the FIU O great field position. Punter Carlos Munera (below, left) nailed 4 punts inside the Toledo 15 and geez, he's only in his 4th college game and we're already running out of superlatives for freshman T.Y. Hilton. Or as MC said Sunday: "T.Y. is like a video game. He makes everyone look silly."

Munera Good to see the FIU O get it in gear. The O-line has improved considerably since the South Florida game and that in turn helped create holes for Julian Reams and A'mod Ned to rumble for 126 yards and 4 TDs. Also congrats to JR for eclipsing 1,000 career yards at FIU.

Now can all the Paul McCall (below, right) detractors on this blog please just sit back and watch what this QB can do with some time to throw. Like I wrote on the GPP last week, don't give up on PM, because we all saw what he can do in the final 2 games last season.

No, PM did not put up Marino-like numbers or Brady-like, in PM's case since that's his favorite QB, but Pm he did show some grit. He stood in the pocket, knowing a blitz was coming right at him and completed a pass to TE Eric Kirchenberg for 22 yards and got knocked pretty good. The hit took PM out for 1 play and Wayne Younger entered, but it was PM's show the rest of the way.

While Saturday's W was what the doctor ordered for FIU, there are still some things the Golden Panthers need to work on as they prepare for North Texas: 1) FIU is still too inexperienced to be getting off to slow starts and trying to recover each week. 2) While the O showed much improvement, they still have to prove they can drive the ball the length of the field. Would like to see FIU put together some 70 or 80-yard drives. 3) Still haven't seen the deep ball from the O. Maybe the Golden Panthers are just saving it for later? 4) Can't be overconfident going into North Texas. Forget about last year. I had written last Friday that overconfidence could have set in going into Toledo, but the FIU coaching staff addressed that last week just fine.


Suddenly, not only has the FIU season gotten more interesting. So has our WIN A GPP BLOG leaderboard (FIU/North Texas scores must be in by 6:59 p.m. GPP Time on Saturday):

4-0 (pts. differential)

FIUChris (75); Baltimorepanther (86), CJ (86); Ultimate FIU Fan (99).


Clawing Cancer (69); FIUVoice (77); FIUJM (80); FIU Love (82); outofthecage88 (83); inspubadj (85); Puma (86); FIU0406 (87), Fomenter (87), ridgepanther (87); FIUBlue82 (88), Gold (88); NYCFIUFan (92); The OC Panther (94), U24/7 (94); FIUPantherFan (95), TheChampionUnderdog (95); fiufan751 (97), FIU Fanatic (97); FIUrulez (99); Quijote (101); esteban688 (102); alt7787 (105); FIUBlueandGold (106); Gazi (107), TNGoldenPanther (107); MIA/NY Josh (119); CrazyCane (121).


Max (99); gpantera (111); FIUfantastic (127).


SouthPaw (137)

GPP: 3-1, 106

Miri: Pete, do you have the picture of the stadium in a bigger size? Thanks. :)Fiustad

GPP: You can click on the FIU Stadium photo in the last blog or here on the right to get a bigger size. If you want to mess around with it go to fiusports.com and click on the FIU Stadium link and that might provide a larger aerial photo of FIU Stadium.

The OC Panther: YO Pete! get the headline on the game story fixed.

GPP: Fixed.

Puma: Case in point Pete. While not exactly a signature victory (Toledo is ranked near the bottom of DI schools), look at what we get for coverage. A special to the Herald article by I assume the local Toledo correspondent. The guy gets it wrong by saying it’s our first victory against an FBS team. We can’t even get a Herald journalist to write the story? Why read the Herald’s wire stories when we can get that somewhere else on the web? If you’re going to remain relevant you need to focus on the LOCAL content

GPP: Puma, you are preaching to the choir. Your question/comment is exactly the situation I encounter on a daily basis. You and the rest of FIU Nation can try to make a difference by writing in to sports editor Jorge Rojas at jrojas@miamiherald.com and let him and the rest of the MH know how much Air interest and support there is for the Golden Panthers in South Florida -- not sure the MH understands that. Just the GPP alone got a ton of hits during and after Saturday's game. Let's see where the blog numbers have us on Monday. As soon as FIU won against Toledo, my campaign began to fly out to Denton, Texas to cover next week's game. Let's see what they tell me this week.

caFIUne & SouthPaw: Pete, I saw the participation report for the game on fiusports.com and it said Daunte Owens started at receiver. Is that true?

GPP: No, Owens did not start at receiver. Was told Greg Ellingson, T.Y. Hilton and Junior Mertile started.

Earth gpantera: Earth to Pete Pelegrin. Come in Pete, over. Since last we communicated, FIU won a football game. Do you have any thoughts or insights to share?

GPP: gpantera, roger that, good buddy. This is Pete Pelegrin to Earth. Hear you loud and clear. My bro and his wife had a baby boy today. Became an uncle and  a godfather. Sorry I'm late to the GPP party, but better late than never. While I may not Gfath_2 post something at an instant on the GPP on days off, I'm always around.

SouthPaw: I've been surprised to see Johnathan Nieves (below, left) seeing action in so many of our first four games. Can you tell us more about this freshman? Suprised that he's seeing the field ahead of more heralded guys like Curtis Bryant, Andre Pound, Kasey Smith, and Donnell Wilson.

GPP: JN is a walk-on freshman from Braddock High in West Miami, who had a Jn_2 really good camp and earned playing time. Like MC has said many times before, this FIU coaching staff is not afraid to play young players that practice well and earn time. JN has a 1/2 sack on the season and blocked a FG attempt at Iowa. CB is still nursing a broken hand. KS saw action against Kansas and AP and DW have still not seen the field and could be redshirted to get bigger.

The GPP Worldwide Readership picked up another reader in the Caribbean. In our last poll question, a reader from Saint John, Antigua and Barbuda said Wayne Younger should be starting at QB for FIU. Thirty-nine percent of you disagreed and said Paul McCall and 30 percent of you said play them both.Andb_2  

Break out the GPP scorecard: The GPP is read in 33 STATES: ALA, ARI, CA, COL, FLA, GA, IDAHO, IL, IND, IOWA, KAN, KY, LA, MASS, MD, MICH, MIN, MISS, MO, NEB, NC, NJ, NY, OH, ORE, PA, RI, SC, TEN, TEX, VA, VER, WIS.

14 COUNTRIES: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Brazil, Honduras, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua, Panama, Serbia, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom, U.S.A.

1 DISTRICT: Washington, D.C. and 1 TERRITORY: Puerto Rico.

So what does the 1st win of the season mean for FIU?


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FIU 42 North Texas 21

Man Law!

Posting this again:

How to get your free tickets:

* Lifetime members of the Alumni Association may request up to 6 complimentary tickets. (RSVP Required)
* Annual members of the Alumni Association may request up to 4 complimentary tickets. (RSVP Required)
* FIU graduates who are not members of the Alumni Association may request 2 complimentary tickets. (RSVP required)
* To reserve your complimentary tickets you must RSVP by phone 305-348-3334 or email alumni@fiu.edu (office hours: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., email must be received by Oct 10, noon). Please leave full name of person, email address, member ID# (if applicable), and number of tickets needed.
* All tickets must be picked up at the Panther Pit Tailgate starting at 5 p.m. on the north side of the stadium and ending at 6:30 p.m. No tickets will be mailed.

Posting this again:

How to get your free tickets:

* Lifetime members of the Alumni Association may request up to 6 complimentary tickets. (RSVP Required)
* Annual members of the Alumni Association may request up to 4 complimentary tickets. (RSVP Required)
* FIU graduates who are not members of the Alumni Association may request 2 complimentary tickets. (RSVP required)
* To reserve your complimentary tickets you must RSVP by phone 305-348-3334 or email alumni@fiu.edu (office hours: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., email must be received by Oct 10, noon). Please leave full name of person, email address, member ID# (if applicable), and number of tickets needed.
* All tickets must be picked up at the Panther Pit Tailgate starting at 5 p.m. on the north side of the stadium and ending at 6:30 p.m. No tickets will be mailed.

opps...sorry for double post.

Shame on the Herald for not sending their beat writer to the away games. Their priorities are obviously not in the right order. Over 30,000 students, over 100,000 alumni all living in South Florida. Yeah, Herald Editor: good idea to keep ignoring this monster. Keep sending the odd couple (Navarro and Miller-Degnan) to cover all the UM losses on the road and get all those tantalizing post game quotes from the legend, (only in his own mind), Randy "I never had a player I wouldn't throw under a bus after a loss" Shannon.
At least, we were able to listen to the FIU game on the radio. BTW, the Spanish language broadcast of the game is 100 times better than the English language attempt at a broadcast. Lucky for those of us who are bilingual. How's your Spanish, Pedro Pelegrin?

FIU 38
North Texas 35

I think it's closer than most people think. North Texas is going to come out ready to play after losing 77-20 to Rice. FIU will start slow again but pick it up against the poor NT defense.

I really suck at this prediction game but again, here goes nothing:

FIU 28
N. Texas 13

GREAT win team, keep up the awesome work!

OK - FIU gets a win (congratulations by the way) and now we are all just going to predict FIU wins the rest of the season, are you kidding me. Yes, FIU won this week, and that is great for the GPanthers, but lets not carried away. I read the play by play on the last blog and I saw things like "We want Alabama" and "Bring on the SEC" and "2008 Sunbelt Champs" Really? I know you were excited, but really?

As for the, there is enough room in this town for both programs - I will make you ALL a deal. If, FIU fans start to support the Canes, especially this weekend against FSU and throught out the rest of the season, I will start to support FIU the rest of the season. If this town truly is big enough for both programs, then we should be able to cheer for eachothers team, except when they play eachother (and who knows when that will happen.) So I am ke this challenge to you GPP nation, especially to you scUMsanitizer - are you in?

TheU24/7, I appreciate the olive branch but "NO" to supporting the Canes. Let’s make this new arrangement; let’s be civil toward each other's teams. No one from The GPP Nation states low-class statements about your team, ethnicity, etc. and vice-versa. How about that?

I did read those far-fetched comments from our GPP fans; you have to remember these few victories in this UGLY stretch of losses get many excited. However, those three or four comments were only a small minority of the 140+ comments posted. This blog is picking up speed and energy.

I repeat the call to all GPPers; "spread that energy to this entire town!” Get vocal to the media and all others who need to learn the news of FIU(WQAM, 790 The TICKET, local stations, Retail stores for merchandise, etc.).


I just went to the CBS 120 poll and we are no longer dead last, now we are 114 ahead of Toledo 115 and North Texas is last.
I am feeling another win this Saturday, I know polls don't mean anything, we were 120 and Toledo was 99, but the NT's stats show a team with poor defense and poor defense, so maybe we can win that game even if they are motivated and hungry.
Lets keep the streak going FIU

B'panther, here's a better one; this is the composite ranking of all the polls out there. Some are nuts and some not so much, but all of them together should be a pretty good indicator http://www.mratings.com/cf/compare.htm (FIU #97/120)

Again on the Toledo game, the score is not indicative of how the offense played in my opinion. We won the turn-over and special teams battle. I think we recovered two kick returns in the red-zone which turned a tight game into a laugher within a couple of minutes.

Great job by the specail teams but you can't rely on winning the t/o battle 4-0 every time out. We need an offense that can move the ball early in the game and put points on the board. The defense and specail teams are good enough to win the conference, the offense I'm still not sure about.

Confernce play starts on Saturday at UNT. Bring back a W and two game winning streak to Miami and I predict a crazed environment at the Cage for the following game v. Middle TN. The crowd for that game will make opening night look like a matinee on a Tuesday afternoon.

Go Panthers !!!

24/7 you kow i always cheer for both.. im not goin to come on here and spread the word according to Randy shannon.. (who needs to learn how to make second half adjustments) but you know me .. i support the school i was raised to love. and the school that i attend.. and love to root for. so w/ me you got that pack... good luck getting crazy to accept lol

Ha I'm the one who put bring on the SEC and Alabama, obviously I was being sarcastic.

Let's hope FIU doesn't come out dead against North Texas. Its up to the coaches to get our kids ready for N. Texas who will come out hungry...for an FIU spanking!!!

U 24/7, stop the nonsense...how can you possibly expect us to support YOUR petition. For whatever its worth, I grew up going to the OB, and remember the good times watching FSU's constantly floop with their wide rights. So based on nostalgia alone, I'd like to see the U come out victorious.

BTW - Lots of people are calling for Shannon's head and finally realizing what us GPPs have been saying all along...the man can't coach and has no emotion. Mario is the real deal.

U24/7, I don't wish any bad to the Canes...me personally, I just want to root for FIU!!! Good luck to them, but I'm focused in seeing FIU grow.

This is my prediction for next week. Defense is really playing great, let's keep it going. It will be tough game for FIU, but they got to stay focused.

FIU 27
North Texas 17


what do you think it will take for us to move into a conference like the big east? 3-4 consecutive conference titles, Good home attendence? anything else?

Pete, where was your heart on Saturday? Will it be in Texas this Saturday? If you get to go to go to Denton, can I put mine in a cooler so that you can transport it there for the game?

Let's go GPanthers!

Win on the road and the cage will be rocking when you return! I hope we can rack some wins this season. I'd love to be able to celebrate one at the new cage.


I don't think I can root for scUM even if they were playing the Osama Bin Ladens. Merely implying that in order for there to be two D1 programs in the same town to be jointly successful requires each others fan base has to support the other is absurd! What is this a town of 35,000 people or something? There are over 2M people living in Miami-Dade County alone, you have your fans and we'll have ours.

But I do sense a bit of general concern in your request, it's unsettling being a fan of the team the loses on Saturday isn't it? We've been living that for years, hopefully we're turning the corner here, not so much for your team over there.

Great information!!! That description of the team bus arriving at 5am, with 200 people waiting..and the bus erupting....just gave me goosebumps!!!!

I really wish we keep improving, little by little, learn to adapt, grow, and win on an even keel basis...so that the growth of the program is with a solid, strong, foundation and future...and not a one hit wonder....keep plugging along, FIU...We are proud of your success, as it is ours as well!!!

I am in total agreement with you Fanatic!

now i know this is goin to sound crazy and may take alot of work... but how interesting would it be if the sunbelt starts to improve rapidly.. (i know the belt is the weakest conference) but just think bout it.. you have Troy which really has anchored this conference.. been about the only constance. FAU and FIU are in the dead center for recruiting. so even if they cant land the 5Stars w/ the big 3/4 (USF is well on their way) i would take a S.fla 3 star over an idaho 4 star any day.. you have NT. in another hotbed.. so they could have luck there. and then you have ASU and MTSU that always are competative.. come few years down the road.. if all continues to progress that would make 5 outta the 9 teams (yes 9 s. alabama is moving up in 2010 i think) that could be solid. not saying power conference but def more competative.. you never know but again.. this is down the road a few years at least

co-sign FIU Fanatic!


If anthing, a C-USA invite would be nice...but we are still so far from achieving that upgrade. We first have to dominate the 'Belt for a few years, and increase attendance, have phase 2 complete, and increased national media coverage.

Baby steps!!

I like your argument CJ, plus i have gut feeling Western Kentucky is going to improve rapidly. They have a winning tradition at the 1-AA level and there whole athletic dept just know how to win.

I could not be happier I was wrong for these 2 reasons 1) We WON!!! and 2) Canes fans who thought we would be blown out (MIA/NY Josh and CrazyCane) are way behind now.

I am predicting another FIU WIN!!
FIU 28
NT 14


Pete, fans...

What are the viewing options for the North Texas game? Will a bar be showing it, or will we only be able to buy a stream?



TheU24/7, I'll support your campaign and be there at the FSU game. Miami had a tough loss and a rough start of the season...so we know exactly how you guys are feeling right now.

We need all the FIU support we can get.

The North Texas game will play on Comcast Sports Southeast - CCS channel 63 on Comcast cable - 7PM.

Thanx FIUer...don't have Comcast though. Any other options??

Looks like even Greg Cote is taking notice.

Q: With the win over Toledo in the fourth week of the season ( as opposed to the 12th like last years first win) what is your opinion of the work being down at FIU by Mario Cristobal? I know you are an FAU guy, so please try to be an unbiased reporter.

Answered 09/29/08 13:37:56 by Greg Cote
A: Rulez, well two great efforts in a row have me paying attention I'll say that. Nearly upsetting South Florida and earning a big upset at Toledo is a great validation for Mario Cristobal. They're a ways from being a Sun Belt contender, but there is progress. Which is enough for now.

quijote, i did mention in my coment that it would take a while.. never said "right away" but being the fact that FIU and FAU are in a hotbed for recruiting, as well as NT and Troy (alabama has some good football) i can see a rising conference in the next say 5 6 years.. def more spectable. is all im saying and the NT game again we will have to deal w/ rowdy fans.. lets not kid ourselves.. Texas people eat, sleep, and breath football.. so i dont think this will be a push over game.. i think their fans will keep em in it... FIU did only just have one win.. and im hopeing the streak continues.. what i will be lookin foward to will be a highly competative game

Great Win!

FIU 24
NT 16

I will be there for UM/FSU. I am a Golden Panther fan first. But have great childhood memories at the OB and worked in both athletic departments.

Congrats Pete on being a Godfather!!!

Thanks FIUer about info on FIU/NT game being on Comcast. I still remember two years ago that lost at NT. The one that we lost in like 6 OT. Hopefully this is our time.

CJ,you make a great point!!! Sun Belt is getting better. Just a matter of time before they are not considered the worst conference.



Here's some nice Conference ratings from Sagarin. The 5 year old Sun Belt is breathing down the necks of the MAC, Boise and Fresno St. lead WAC and C-USA:


1 SOUTHEASTERN (A) = 79.68 79.11 ( 1) 12
2 BIG TEN (A) = 77.72 77.34 ( 2) 11
3 BIG 12 (A) = 77.33 77.26 ( 3) 12
4 ATLANTIC COAST (A) = 76.33 75.75 ( 4) 12
5 PAC-10 (A) = 75.65 75.26 ( 5) 10
6 BIG EAST (A) = 72.40 71.81 ( 7) 8
7 MOUNTAIN WEST (A) = 71.67 72.00 ( 6) 9
8 CONFERENCE USA (A) = 66.15 65.89 ( 9) 12
9 WESTERN ATHLETIC (A) = 65.34 66.05 ( 8) 9
10 MID-AMERICAN (A) = 64.20 64.27 ( 10) 13
11 I-A INDEPENDENTS (A) = 64.11 63.40 ( 11) 4
12 SUN BELT (A) = 63.01 62.93 ( 12) 8
13 COLONIAL (AA)= 57.90 57.18 ( 13) 12

FIU 14
North Texas 13.


Sorry for being pushy. The excitement over the W had me chompin at the bit to hear from you. Thank you for reminding us you have a life outside the GPP.

Next week,

FIU 24
UNT 17

Too many people are focused on FIU moving to another conference. I say, the Sun Belt and every other non-BCS conference sue, yes sue, the NCAA for anti-trust and MAKE every conference BCS eligible. It is a anti-trust issue and a discrimination issue. Everyone has the same amount of scholarships why shouldn't every D1 (or whatever it is called now) have an equal opportunity?

i say lets worry about winning games consistantly before we start thinkin bout moving conf. or sueing the anti-trust lol

Hey U24/7, good luck against the Seminoles this weekend.

Can I suggest some new call letters, how about FIU-U-24/7?

Look forward to seeing you at the Cage in your FIU gear on October 11th!

hey! wats up t.y. aint heard or seen you in a while this is jamal remember we were like best bros in elementary i see you been doing ya thing at f.i.u keep it up hope to see ya next year when i transfer out there. peace! oh! and if you get this message t.y. or if somebody else recieves it could you let t.y get it or if t.y. gets you can hit me up on your free time at 786-333-0771

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