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Come Sunday....Blue Raiders Or Blue Panthers?

The only time FIU beat Middle Tennessee in the 3 games played between the two teams was in a 35-31 Mt Fiuhelmet offensive shootout to close the 2005 season. Former FIU DB Kent Henderson batted down a last-play Hail Mary in the end zone to preserve the Golden Panthers win at old FIU Stadium. That's former FIU DB Cory Fleming (left) picking off a pass in the 2005 game vs. Flem MT.

The teams play the 4th game of the series Saturday night and it should not be a points-fest like the only time FIU/MT played in Miami.

We should have a better idea of how much your Golden Panthers have improved by Sunday after they tussle with the Blue Raiders -- which BTW, you can follow the game on a LIVE GPP blog on Saturday beginning at 6:45 p.m. If you're at FIU Stadium, post a comment with your Blackberries or whatever berry you use. Or just yell at me in the first row of the open-air press box by the east end zone.

Yes, FIU has gotten better this season compared to last, no doubt. But let's put all the cards out on the table: Toledo and North Texas are not world-beaters, but the 2 wins give FIU much-needed confidence heading into Saturday.Tytd_3

The back-to-back wins against Toledo and North Texas were what the doctor ordered, especially after a 1-11 season last year. It also showed the Golden Panthers what they are capable of when all 3 facets of the team are clicking.

The wins also give FIU some momentum going against MT, which a win Sat. would give FIU a share of the Sun Belt lead after 2 games (yes, I know it's just 2 games, but you good people would have had me committed had I written "give FIU a share of the Sun Belt lead" just a year ago).

An FIU win this Sat. leads to a showdown at Troy for first place next week and equals the best start in program history at 3-3 -- the 2002 FIU inaugural team started 3-3.

A win would also equal a program-best 3-game winning streak -- done once before to close the 2005 Ab_2 season. A 2005 team El Monstruo was an instrumental part of. And what would a trip down FIU Memory Lane be without a mention of EM (left, blocking an MT punt in 2005).

But FIU cannot put the cart in front of the horse. FIU has to deal with a dangerous Middle Tennessee team that has won the last 2 games against FIU and allowed just 6 points in each of those games (7-6 and 47-6 wins).

There are several things about the Blue Raiders that could possibly leave FIU blue.

After having seen MT in a couple of games this season, I think the MT D may be the best D FIU has faced since Iowa. The Blue Raiders caused problems for Maryland, Kentucky and Florida Atlantic, however Troy and Arkansas State -- 2 of the other top SBC teams -- were able to score 31. So it's not like FIU is going against the 85' Super Bowl Shufflin' Bears, but still it will be the biggest challenge for the FIU O since Iowa.

Nned What makes the MT D so tough is its big D-Line and strong secondary led by safety Jeremy Kellem. The FIU O-Line has to give PM time and some space for the FIU RBs, like A'mod Ned (left, as a freshman in 2005 scoring a TD vs. MT)

On offense, MT has QB Joe Craddock back, who missed last year's game vs. FIU with an injury. MT backup QB Dwight Dasher carved up FIU last season and JC can do the same.

The Blue Raiders have a pretty good passing game, which can help out their running game -- which is not a strength. FIU needs to get pressure on JC to disrupt the pass, like Jonas Murrell (right, as a freshman in 2005 sacking MT QB Clint Marks).Jonas

Got a feeling this one is going to be a defensive slugfest between two physical defenses. We may see the kickers decide it in a somewhat low-scoring game.

GPP thinks: FIU 22, Middle Tennessee 20

Logo GOLDEN PANTHER PAWSE

**FIU/MT scores for the WIN A GPP BLOG are due by 6:59 p.m. GPP Time on Saturday.

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FIUJM: Pete, just heard you on 790 The Ticket!!! Are you on that show often? Please let us know in advance when you're on the radio, so that GPP can hear what you have to say.
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The Dos Amigos have me on from time to time. Next time they ask me to be on, I'll post it here in advance.

alt7787: Pete I was whining about lack of herald coverage the other day so I have to say thank you for today's nice tid bit. It was nice to finally see a front page spread about FIU.
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You don't have to thank me....As far as the T.Y. Hilton story "Say Goodbye to the Fast Guy" being the main front page story & spread that decision came from the higher-ups.

Hey, alt7787, about your 26-24 FIU overtime final score...so FIU is going to get a safety in OT to win it??....Very interesting. Would make for a great lead to the game story.

I was thinking the same thing, Pete, about alt's prediction...interesting...btw, also heard you over at 790 tonight...nice to listen to the radio and have credible personalities talking up, and just discussing FIU Football..and sports in general....Thank you...

Alright, I know I've been a pessimist lately (and I still have no faith in McCall), but here's my prediction.

24-10.

Yes, that's right. A fairly solid win for the good guys.

I think the game goes similarly to the last two. Defense and special teams make it extremely easy on McCall. I think the fact that we don't have to worry about the run will allow us to bring more pressure on the quarterback, and our defensive backfield will get at least 2 picks, one of them giving Paul a short field to work with. I think we also see a long return from TY, either a TD or down the 30 or something, giving Paul another easy drive.

After that, it gets kind of boring, as neither team is able to do too much. We probably get out gained again overall, but Paul doesn't make too many mistakes, and we win pretty easily.

Isn't Alt's score also possible if it comes down to going for 2 in OT (what is it, triple OT?)...MTSU doesn't convert and FIU does. Still think it's a crazy prediction though.

Middle Tennessee 24, FIU 13

I've been picking against FIU for the majority of the season, and although what I've recently seen is somewhat convincing, I believe we are going to face our toughest challenge this Saturday. MTSU may be the best team this year in our conference. FAU is a joke, and Troy hasn't been terribly impressive either. Indeed, a real challenge to give us a real indication of where we are. I don't think we are THERE just yet, but instead of getting blown out 47-3 like last year against MTSU, we will still lose, but it will be an improved performance, summarizing our improved gameplay this season.

MTSU 24
FIU 14

Obviously, I hope I'm wrong. For the first time in our history, we have some real momentum on our side. Newspapers are talking about us (thanks pete), radio stations and tv stations are mentioning us, and we're even favored to win! If we lose this game, it can instantly kill everything. The true fans who roam this board and the other domain will continue supporting regardless, but we all know we need to constantly pack the house to build this program.

HUGE Kudos to FIU for promoting the game with the free tickets. I already have three close friends joining me, one a hardcore CANES fan. If we can all get a friend or four to join us, we can really give our guys the much needed home field advantage they'll need to win.

ROAR BABY!!!!!

FIU 24, MTSU 17

This is a must win game to keep the momentum going. We can't lose in our house.

ok my mind has told me that MTSU will get the win but my Gut Tells Me FIU. so heres what im thinking.. late fourth Qtr. FIU is down 17-21.. we get a great defensive play gives us the opportunity to win.. and to O comes threw riding the D and the Crowd Momentum.. id say.. 24-21 win for FIU. MTSU beat a Maryland Team that i think probably fell asleep seeing how they been playing.. and an FAU team that seems to find new ways to lose this year. hope my gut is right

Pete:

I think I posted my score, however after further consideration...here we go:

FIU 27 - MTSU 17

Alright...

MTSU 17 FIU 13

MTSU 27
FIU 21

FIU 14 MTSU 10 GO FIU!!!!!!!

if it is close I like FIU. but if it gets out of hand early, MTSU defense will be tough. this may be to date FIU's most important game in school history

We need to score early and get the crowd into the game. If we can do that we might be riding a wave of emotion the whole night.

Looking forward to tomorrow night. Just bought my tickets; all that's left are corner and season tickets.

Go Panthers !!!

MTSU 24
FIU 17

Regarding the UM-FSU game last week, I had a great time with the UM fans in that monsoon. Keep your head up Canes fans, you are going to have a very, very good team in a few years. #31 and #81 are great players. Hopefully next time we play I won't have to follow the beer bottles floating down the street to my car.

fomenter i was at that game.. i LOVE rain games.. that game was crazy! however, i hope that FIU gets a nice clear night for tom. game

PAINT THE PICTURE..................

PAINT THE PICTURE...............


VIS TM FIU
17 0:00 27


If that slogan is good enough to motivate Coach Cristobal and the rest of the staff and team, then embrace it, visualize it and PAINT THE PICTURE..................

Make signs with the slogan, make shirts, chant it at the game like a Yankee Stadium chant. The team will go freaking NUTS if they hear it!!!!! Let's get pumped up and BEAT THE PANTS OFF MTSU!!!!!!!!!!!!

PAINT THE PICTURE...................

Can anyone confirm the estimated turnout for the MTSU game ? A friend called me and said the response from the FIU student body was real good all week...Might be 15 - 20K, which is more than we had for USF !!

im so excited.... I'm taking about 12 friends only 5 of which went to FIU, the other went to UCF, FSU, UF, etc.

its important you bring as many as possible.

WE ARE.
THE PRIDE.

lets get it done panthers!

MTSU 28
FIU 24

I am hoping this is not the case but i have a bad feeling we may lose the game late.

See everyone at the game...my first trip to the cage.

Why would this Fomenter person post a pep talk note to Canes fans on this blog? Do we give a crap you think # whoever is going to be good in a few years...tell me, what reaction do people on this blog have when Canes fans post here? GO TO THE scUM BLOG WITH THAT. I wasted 4 seconds of my life reading it and now 1 minute typing this. Where can I bill you?

Pete,

Can you ask if there is a way to archive games on panther pass. If not the all games aired the previous week's game for those interested in watching it again.

Well here i go again. I have happily been wrong latey. Im falling down to board.

FIU 24
MTSU 21

Oh yeah.. im very happy to hear that alot of you guys are bringing guest ad using up all the tickets at your disposal! Everybody in my group is coming with a guest that makes like 5 on my part.

and on the article on the redshirting, i don't think Cedrick Mack will need to since he isn't technically on the team. Unlike the USF game he is going to sit with us in the stands rather than on the sideline. So i guess that means that he isn't exactly on the team right now.

I'll ask him tommorow.

Guess I'll be buying Panther Pass to watch this one... hopefully it'll be a better experience than last season. :(

Anyway... this game is a really, really hard call. MT might be the SBC team in the NO Bowl at season's end... but I'm not counting out FAU or Troy yet. It wouldn't shock me if the SBC winner has 2 conference losses... it's happened before... and predicting what happens in the SBC is always a crap-shoot at best. I know both Troy and FAU are not doing well, but there's a lot of games left. No one's out of it.

There's plenty of reasons to say FIU wins... the win streak, home field, motivation from that awful beat-down last season, and the GP's are clearly a better team now than they were in 2007. But MT's a better team now than last season, too. Like Pete, I've seen some of their games... their D is very, very stout, and other than rushing, their O is good.

FIU should be able to shut down the run, and with MT's O becoming one-dimensional, the pass rush and secondary should be able to tee off on Craddock. Thank God Dasher's not starting. Craddock might kill FIU - he's good - but he's easier for the GP's to stop, I think, than Dasher would be. I think we hold MT to under 20. We have to score at least 21 to win this... and I think we will.

21-17, FIU.

With that said... the let-down game is coming at some point. This is still a young team, and young ones are always prone to overconfidence no matter how good the coaches are. I don't think it's coming Saturday, but it'll come at some point this season. My guess is, it'll be Ark State or Troy. We always struggle against those two.

And, by the way, people... you can win an OT game by 2 with a two-point conversion. You don't need a safety in the end zone. And, considering that the O starts in opposing territory in OT, that'd be one hell of a feat, dont'cha think?

FIU X: Isn't Alt's score also possible if it comes down to going for 2 in OT (what is it, triple OT?)...MTSU doesn't convert and FIU does. Still think it's a crazy prediction though.
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That is correct, but would not like triple OT.....need to make deadline for Sunday paper.

blkpanther: Pete, Can you ask if there is a way to archive games on panther pass. If not the all games aired the previous week's game for those interested in watching it again.
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Been told FIU is trying to get a system to archive games on Panther Pass, but right now you can't see the North Texas game.

However, ESPN360 was offering replays of the FIU/NT game earlier this week. Not sure if they still have it, because it's not listed on their site as of Friday.

esteban688: on the article on the redshirting, i don't think Cedrick Mack will need to since he isn't technically on the team.
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esteban, that's correct. that's what I answered SouthPaw on the previous blog.

Since CM is not officially a Golden Panther yet, he can't redshirt if he's not on the team.

He would still be a junior next season once he starts practice with FIU.

MTSU 17
FIU 21

Is Cedrick able to work out with the team's strength and conditioning coaches? I'd hate for him to just sit around getting bigger but not stronger during his year on vacation.

yeah thats my biggest worry for him. I offered to take him the trenches. LOL!! He told me "You wouldn't want to do that" I don't see why. He's only got 200 pounds on me. HAHA.

But on a serious note he needs to stay in shape. Even if it envolves throwing little guys like me. I'll take one for the team!!

ok im thinking FIU has a lot of good confidence right now but Mario isnt going to let them get crazy and play sloppy.

I saw the MTSU vs FAU game and i wasnt that impressed. they are solid, few mistakes and the QB was steady but so are we plus we have a few game breakers so im going to say FIU24 MTSU17

GO FIU!! GO FC Barcelona Panthers ;)

oh yeah.. a good crowd should be worth an extra 10 points

MTSU 21 FIU 20
Can FIU win without the opposing offense turning over so much? That's my worry. I hope they prove me wrong. I love it when the prove me wrong!

FIU 24 - MTSU 13

Pete, thanks for the article on redshirting possibilities. I think the decisions made on that front are critical. Here's my take: unless a guy is immediately penciled in as a starter, we need to redshirt our guys this season (Pellicer, J. West, D. Parrish, C. Cook, and of course C. Mack). This will pay big dividends in the future, and our program is all about the future. We don't want flash-in-the-pan good one-off years followed by years of rebuilding. A good redshirt program will build a strong foundation for sustained success--just look at what its done for Wake Forest. Another year in the weight room and another year of mental maturity is worth far more than a few nice plays they may make as freshmen.

It is good if they are hurt and wont be able to play 100%, and miss half of the season or more, but our success on recruiting will come from letting the freshmen know that if they are ready they can start and play right away, look at TY, he is our poster boy so far this season and we are all excited with his play making abilities, the coaching commitment to let the freshmen start and be a big part of the program will be our best recruiting tool until we become an established program and that might take another 5 year or more. Also CM is not a redshirt, he is just not in the team this year, hopefully he will be patient and stick around to play next year, I can't wait to see our team next year with more experience and new blood ready to make an impact in our team. But first lets enjoy this season that is already better than the previous two and let the future take care of itself.
GO Panthers beat the blue riders silly today.

Ok everyone I didnt check my numbers before hand. I meant that FIU would win 27-24 in OT. I wanted to stress the OT win. I never intended to bring up talks about safties or missed 2 pt conversions. However, the scenarios that many people have posted on here would make for a lot of drama and a very exciting finish.

HOLY TOLEDO

TOLEDO BEAT MICHIGAN AT THE BIG HOUSE

GO FIU

Holy Toledo is right wow! thats got to be real good for our RPI!!!

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