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Better Times On SW 8 St....But Still Got Work To Do

Panth Your Golden Panthers are growing up right before your eyes and rather quickly, too. 3-3, 2-0 tied for 1st place in the Sun Belt and a huge test against the perennial class of the SBC at Troy this Saturday.

Impressive win against Middle Tennessee and the Sun Belt's top passer, Joe Craddock, on Saturday. FIU held Craddock, who averages 268 yards per game to just 25 yards and got JC an early trip to the showers for his ineffectiveness.

Another stellar performance from the FIU D swarming the MT backfield with tackles for loss, playing tight pass D -- Anthony Gaitor (right) 2 INTs & SBC Defensive Player of the Week -- and containing backup QB Gaitor_2 Dwight Dasher, who killed them last year.

This is a well-coached unit by D-coordinator Phil Galiano. Like AG said in the postgame interview, he was sitting on the 2nd INT that went for a TD, because they had seen that formation all week on film and when MT lined up in it, Galiano yelled it out and AG went pick 6.

What was clearly evident vs. MT, was the Florida speed FIU has and the Blue Raiders did not have. FIU was much faster on both sides of the ball. These young Golden Panthers now just need to add some size in the weight room and there will be a complete Division I football team playing on SW 8 Street.

Although the stats do not completely reflect it, Paul McCall (left) may have had his best game making decisions. PM knew exactly when to tuck the ball and run and when to throw it. PM also showed some Pm nimble feet ducking a couple of sacks and leading the team with 53 yards rushing. Nice aggresive running, especially with the somersault in PM's 9-yd TD run.

Good to see Junior Mertile (below, right) make an impact. While T.Y. Goodbye has definitely been the most productive freshman thus far, you may not know this, but shhhh! quietly JM leads the team with 14 receptions.

Greg Ellingson and Jeremy Dickens had some nice grabs Saturday and provided some timely downfield  Jr_2 blocks. For the 3rd straight game FIU showed it hasShh the ability to score plenty of points in Bill Legg's O. BTW, pretty sharp play-calling from the La Pierna. BL had MT off-balance. MT was looking for the short stuff all through the 3rd and early 4th quarter before PM hit T.Y. with that 63-yard TD. The FIU O-line did a fine job for the 4th consecutive game.

What has been a little troubling about the O has been the slow starts. As the Sun Belt sked toughens up, especially with the next 3 games against the other 3 teams tied with FIU for 1st, the Golden Panthers O needs to get into games faster and not wait until the second quarter. Also, can't have PM leading the team in rushing. FIU needs more of the RBs performance vs. Toledo.

The D has been lights out for most of the season, still, more sacks would not hurt. There have been several times when the opposing QB is sitting back there going through his reads. With bigger and better O-lines in Troy, ULL and Ark. State awaiting FIU, the pass rush has to finish and not just put pressure here and there. 

Fiuinaug Overall, the Golden Panthers were pretty much on point against the Blue Raiders. All 3 facets of the team produced and the result a 3rd straight win equaling the program record and equaling the best start in FIU history (2002 team, which featured FIU football pioneers like S John Haritan, left, started 3-3).

The FIU fans also helped out the Golden Panthers. Good to meet, Quijote and gpantera, who dropped by the front row of the open-air press box to talk FIU football. At the start of the game, it looked like it would be an average turnout in the student section, but when I looked over there midway through the 1st quarter, the area was just about full and good thing for those metal stands, because when they get stomped FIU Stadium gets loud.

Logo GOLDEN PANTHER PAWSE

Gppaw_2 Saturday's game vs. Troy is on ESPN regional, but you can also catch it at FIU Arena where the university is hosting a watch party at 7 p.m.

OR you can join me in Troy on the GPP with our LIVE blog from Movie Gallery Stadium in Troy, Alabama. I will be on-line around 6:45 p.m. Miami time on Saturday.

Gppaw_3 This just does not get old.....Congrats, once again to Yarimar Rosa for her 4th SBC Volleyball Player of the Week Award. It's the 9th in her career (a Sun Belt record) and YR is looking later this Yr_2 season to earn her 3rd All-American honor in 3 years at FIU.

Gppaw_4 Got a chance to finally see the Panther intro video (was busy during USF game to notice) that is played on the Jumbotron before the Golden Panthers take the field and must say that is one impressive intro piece with AC/DC's "Thunderstruck" playing in the background and the live-looking Panther jumping from building to building and stomping through the opponents helmet on the FIU Stadium field. Kudos to Ed Filomia, who put the video together.

Gppaw_5 Reminder the GPP Q & A's are now in the comments section.

WIN A GPP BLOG Leaderboard (through 6 games; scores for FIU/Troy must be in by 6:59 p.m. GPP Time on Saturday)

6-0 (points differential)

FIUChris (111); CJ (118); Baltimorepanther(125); Ultimate FIU Fan (134).

5-1

FIUVoice (105); Clawing Cancer (108); FIUJM (113); FIUBlue82 (116); NYCFIUFan (117); Puma (120); Gazi (121); FIU Love (122); esteban688 (124); FIU0406 (126), The OC Panther (126); Gold (127); FIUPantherFan (128), TheChampionUnderdog (128); FIUBlueandGold (135); TNGoldenPanther (136); alt7787 (141).

4-2

outofthecage88 (110); Fomenter (129); FIU Fanatic (143); gpantera (148); Max (150); FIUfantastic (163).

3-3

FIUrulez (143); fiufan751 (153); Quijote (156); U24/7 (161); SouthPaw (166); MIA/NY Josh (174); CrazyCane (209).

GPP 5-1 (143).

Gppaw_6 The GPP doesn't hand out mid-season awards, but will have a mid-season review + 1 game of the Golden Panthers next week during FIU's bye week. For now, this question will tie you over:

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