The FIU football program has only been around for 6 years going on 7 at the end of this season, but Saturday's come from behind 22-21 win over Arkansas State is the greatest win in the history of the program for several reasons:
FIU overcame adversity. Until the final TD, FIU was not able to score a TD the first 8 times it was deep in Red Wolves territory on Saturday. Thanks to Dustin Rivest's leg FIU got 15 points. FIU was not able to respond when challenged against Troy and Louisiana in the past 2 games. The Golden Panthers delivered the knockout punch against ASU.
Like it has for most of the season, the FIU D was clutch coming up with 3 straight stops on ASU possessions in the 4th quarter after ASU built a 21-12 lead and then Franklin Brown intercepting Corey Leonard at the FIU 35. ASU kicker Josh Arauco is deadly and a few more yards and we might talking about a 24-22 loss.
The win salvaged any chance FIU has at reaching its first bowl game. The Golden Panthers will likely not win the Sun Belt, because they are 2 games back of UL and do not have the tiebreaker since they lost to the Cajuns. FIU has to run the table and finish 7-5 to get into a bowl. Nothing against the SBC, but a 6-6 record for a SBC team will not get it into a bowl game. FIU is also 1 game back of Troy and does not hold the tiebreaker there since it lost to the Trojans.
The final reason Saturday's win was the greatest in FIU history was the way the Golden Panthers pulled it out. On a botched trick play that will go down in FIU football lore. As of Sunday afternoon, FIU was trying to get the play on ESPN as one of Sportscenter's top 10 plays of the week.
If you have not seen the play do yourself a favor and go to fiusports.com and click on the game recap where there is a video of The Play....
T.Y. Hilton and Paul McCall fumbled the exchange on an end around. Goodbye went to scoop the ball about 5 yards backward while PM threw a block. Goodbye then goes left with the ball when he told me he was supposed to go right. The entire ASU defense hones in on Goodbye while Junior Mertile (left) is wide open 30 yards downfield. The closest ASU defender was about 25 yards from Mertile. Goodbye lobbed the ball downfield, Mertile waited forever for it to come down, saying to himself "This is the money ball. This is the money ball." and snared it for the winning touchdown with 2:04 left in the game.
You've heard in NFL lore of Franco Harris's "The Immaculate Reception", Dwight Clark's "The Catch" (right) and the Tennessee Titans' "The Music City Miracle", well now it's your turn to name the T.Y./Junior TD play.
Here are a couple of suggestions to get you started: "The Hilton Heave", "The Goodbye Money Ball".
We'll keep this suggestion box open for naming the play for about 4 or 5 days and then we'll vote on the top selections. After giving T.Y. his "Goodbye" nickname, can TheChampionUnderdog name the play too or do you have a better name for the play? Post it on here.
Will have the latest WIN A GPP BLOG leaderboard on here Monday.
Thanks to Sam Lewis for the FIU game photos.