Plenty of you GPP readers might have a future in Las Vegas, judging from your predicted scores in Week 1 of the 2nd Annual Win A GPP Blog contest. The standings are posted at the end of this blog and Iowa scores are due before 12:00 p.m. GPP Time on Saturday.
As for last Saturday, in the season opener against No. 13 Kansas, we saw an improved, quicker, more physical FIU team, but a team that still needs work, especially on offense.
Being a glass-is-half-full blog, we'll start with the positive. The Golden Panthers defense had KU flustered in the first few drives. Whenever, FIU blitzed KU QB Todd Reesing had no answer. On some plays, he looked surprised that he had Golden Panthers in his face. But then KU got the short passing game going to negate the FIU rush.
Despite, not having much time to throw and no running game to speak of Paul McCall (below, right) looked in control. When he did get some time to throw late in the 2nd quarter and in the 3rd quarter, you saw that he was comfortable running the new O. Heck, PM even ran the ball well -- the question mark in his game. PM had two scrambles for 24 yards and eluded tacklers in the runs. If not for 3 sacks, PM is FIU's leading rusher on Saturday. But that's not what you want from your QB.
The other bits of FIU sunshine on Saturday were: Freshman T.Y. Hilton (left), who last signing day told MC that he would take back his first punt for a TD. Sure enough, T.Y. got 6 on his first college return. We had mentioned here throughout camp, that if T.Y. got an opening, nobody would catch him. KU saw the back of No. 4's jersey.
The kicking game came through Saturday. Dustin Rivest nailed a career-long 43-yd FG. Punter Carlos Munera showed a strong leg.
As for that missing water in our glass, FIU is not going to win too many games, if it's O starts with four 3-and-outs in its first 5 possessions. The O needs to do a better job of sustaining drives and give the defense a breather. KU lead the time of possession 37:49 to 22:11. FIU was only 2 of 14 on 3rd down conversions. Yes, FIU's conditioning is much better thanks to Rod Moore, but no matter how much you condition, you're not going to last playing on D for almost 40 minutes a game.
Several of you have been quick to point to the O-line and yes, they do need work, but it was the entire O that faltered vs. KU. The RBs didn't always hit the right holes. PM sometimes didn't make the right reads and other times when PM did find open receivers, the WRs dropped passes that would have been long gains and on one pass a TD early in the game to possibly take a 7-0 lead.
Maybe, it was just the typical hiccups associated with running a new O for the first time in a real game. Regardless, from being there and judging by the reactions of the largest crowd ever at a KU football game in the 119-year history of KU, it sure didn't feel like a 30-point game. The FIU D held the second highest scoring O in the nation last year to 10 points in the second half and those 10 were the result of turnovers that pinned the D deep in their territory.
Penn State hung 59 on FIU in last year's opener and Kansas hung 55 on FIU last year with 615 yards of offense. In Saturday's game, KU had less than 300 yards before the final drive of the game. Yes, some are going to just read the score and say same old FIU, but if you saw this game, then you saw some improvement. An improvement that for FIU's sake continues throughout this season.
Here are your Week 1 standings in our Win a GPP Blog
Your point differential is in parenthesis:
1-0: outofthecage88 (2); FIULOVE (3), FIUrulez (3), inspubadj (3); FIU Fanatic (4); esteban688 (5), fiufan751 (5), FIUPantherFan (5), ThaChampionUnderdog (5); nycfiufan (6); FIU 0406 (7), Hay (7), ridgepanther (7), U24/7 (7); FIUBlue82 (8), fomenter (8), Gazi (8), Puma (8), The OCPanther (8); BaltimorePanther (9), Clawing Cancer (9), Gold (9), mia/ny josh (9); FIUChris (12), panther viscosity (12), Quijote (12), TN Golden Panther (12); CJ (13), FIUJM (13); FIU Voice (14); lol62 (15), Pantera Dorada (15); alt7787 (16), Max (16); fiu ex dad (18), Ultimate FIU Fan (18); Crazycane (19); FIUBlueandGold (20); Devastator (23), greenlizard69 (23); sammy da bull (47).
0-1: 2006PA (31); gpantera (33), SouthPaw (33); FIUfantastic (37), ScUMsanitizer (37); E-Man (38).
GPP 1-0 (8).
**Congratulations to the FIU volleyball ladies, who knocked off No. 19 Clemson on Saturday and captured the Clemson Big Orange Bash Tournament by sweeping the Tigers, Syracuse and Charleston Southern. Two-time All-American Yarimar Rosa (right) was named tournament MVP.
On to the questions....
FIU 0406: I was watching ESPN today and I noted two things, they were still referring to us as Florida International and they were still showing the old logo. Also, this is something I mentioned some time ago, but its worth mentioning again. On the herald link for FIU:
it also shows our old logo. Pete, could you look into this.
GPP: ESPN and all the other national media outlets got a letter and media guides from FIU regarding the new reference to the school. It might take a big win against a BCS team for those people to take notice. Before writing this blog, I e-mailed the MH's on-line person about the old FIU logo on the MH's FIU page so let's see what happens this week.
FIUfantastic: Please fix the Photo Gallery from the Kansas game...it shows a picture of Paul McCall and says: Florida International quarterback Troy Dannehower throws the ball
GPP: E-mailed on-line about that too.
GPP: The "freakin' radio guys" read this blog, so tune in next Saturday for the Iowa game to see if they go by FIU and not Florida International when referring to the Golden Panthers.
SouthPaw: Can you update us on why Cedric Mack didn't play? Some of the names that I'm expecting to see make big contributions this year that I would have thought would have been on the two-deep are:
Cedrick Mack (biggest loss of the game for FIU), Mario Caraballo, Javon Hill, Travis Felder, Devin Parrish, Kambriel Willis, Reggie Jones. And others who I think should be seeing significant playing time this year that look like they didn't play are: Mannie Wellington, Matt Garris, Winston Fraser, Aaron Davis, Daunte Owens, Alfonso Bryant, Derrick Clark, Marcelus Manear, Jason Frierson. Some of the guys that started and saw extended action were not guys who have contributed a whole lot in the past (Tyler Clawson, Quentin Newman, Artis Warthen, Dan Chacreton). I was glad to see the coaches put McCall back in there after sitting him down for a series.
GPP: Both Mack and Willis were having certification issues they were taking care of last week. Jackson played and beat KU linemen a couple of times, but KU QB had already gotten the pass off. James Jones (67, right chasing Reesing) was impressive in his first game. Caraballo, Wellington, Garris and Fraser are all hurt. Hill hasn't practiced all summer and looks like he's done. Felder (academics). Parrish, R. Jones, A. Davis, Owens, A. Bryant, D. Clark, Manear and Frierson all did not play vs. KU.
Clawson, Newman, Warthen and Chacreton all had good camps and earned their playing time according to coaches.
As far as PM being removed. It was NOT because of his play. The plan was for WY to play 2 series in the second quarter, regardless of what the game situation was at the time. PM never got benched.
FIUChris: How serious is Ash's injury? He's one of our best playmakers in the defensive backfield.
GPP: X-rays were negative, but won't know more until practice on Tuesday.
****Picked up a few more readers around the world in our last blog. Thanks to the handy-dandy map tracker of GPP readers: Portland, Oregon and Managua, Nicaragua (love the gallo pinto) -- where someone down there thinks FIU will be 6-6 or better this season -- have joined the GPP expanding our worldwide readership:
Our GPP Worldwide Readership scorecard reads: 32 STATES the GPP is read in: ALA, ARI, CA, COL, FLA, GA, IDAHO, IL, IND, IOWA, KAN, KY, LA, MASS, MD, MICH, MIN, MO, NEB, NC, NJ, NY, OH, ORE, PA, RI, SC, TEN, TEX, VA, VER, WIS.
12 COUNTRIES: Australia, Brazil, Honduras, Hungary, Italy, Nicaragua, Panama, Serbia, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom, U.S.A.
1 DISTRICT: Washington, D.C. and 1 TERRITORY: Puerto Rico.
Thanks to all for participating in our last couple of polls where the majority of you liked the closeness of the seats to the new FIU Stadium field the best, and where most of you are thinking 5-7 or 4-8 for FIU this season. Here's the latest question....