The tone of that game was set from the opening FIU drive. Yes, I know the Golden Panthers were stopped on 4th down at the NT 10, but we saw that FIU was more than capable of moving the ball downfield 70 yards on the Mean Green. From there it was all downhill for the FIU O.
Something we had not seen from FIU most of this season was the deep passing game, but Paul McCall and the WRs showed that FIU can hit the home run. The 65-yard TD to T.Y. Hilton was precise as PM dropped the ball just in front of Good-Bye who caught it in stride and never looked back.
The TD pass in the corner of the end zone to Greg Ellingson was a nifty one too. And once FIU showed it could hit the deep pass, the running lanes opened.
Speaking of running, Daunte Owens had a nice debut averaging 5 yards a carry and gaining 25 total. The O-line kept PM clean with the exception of one sack.
The D-line benefited from the return of Reggie Jones (1 sack), who made like Reggie Bush on his INT return hurdling an NT player. Quentin Newman and Jonathan Betancourt had nice games. The Golden Panthers put more pressure on the QB in this game than in any of the first 4 and they'll need more of that against MT.
The FIU D again was suffocating against NT. You could tell from watching the game how much faster FIU was compared to NT. El Oso was his usual stellar self and Matt Garris, now healthy, had a solid game.
The secondary did not allow anything deep, but like someone mentioned on the live blog sometimes they went for the kill shot instead of wrapping up and it cost them yardage. In this game it didn't matter, but in what should be a dogfight with the Blue Raiders this Saturday those extra 10-15 yards given up could be back breakers, especially when it appears they have the opposing O stopped.
Special teams -- which you can read a story about in Tuesday's MH that's why this Monday blog is a little late -- have been outstanding all season and that continued vs. NT. O' Darris D' Haiti and Blue25 teamed up on the punt block/TD return.
The only thing FIU did not accomplish was the shutout -- which had not happened since FIU shut out Butler 42-0 in the inaugural season. MC went nuts and got an unsportsmanlike penalty when NT kicked a FG to ruin the shutout. Afterward, MC said he will do up-downs in Tuesday's practice as punishment for getting flagged.
More shakeups in the WIN A GPP BLOG leaderboard after another FIU win (reminder: FIU/Middle Tennessee scores have to be in by 6:59 p.m. GPP Time on Saturday):
5-0 (pts. differential)
FIU Chris (93); Baltimorepanther (106); CJ (111); Ultimate FIU Fan (125).
Clawing Cancer (94), FIUVoice (94); outofthecage88 (96); FIU Love (100); FIUJM (102); FIUBlue82 (105), Gold (105); TheChampionUnderdog (106); NYCFIUFan (110); Puma (111); Fomenter (112), FIU0406 (112); FIUPantherFan (113); Gazi (114); The OC Panther (115); esteban688 (117); FIU Fanatic (121); FIUBlueandGold (127); TNGoldenPanther (129); alt7787 (134).
Max (128); fiufan751 (132), FIUrulez (132); U24/7 (133); gpantera (136), Quijote (136); FIUfantastic (158), MIA/NY Josh (158); CrazyCane (166).
GPP 4-1, 133. **
GPP 4-1, 133.
**If your screen name is not listed above, then I did not receive a score from you.
Plenty of positives from Saturday's win against the Mean Green, but which one stood out for you: