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Hilton Heave at FIU....Just Heaving at Arkansas State

At FIU, it is simply known as the "Hilton Heave" -- a trick play touchdown pass by receiver T.Y. Hilton toAsuty Junior Mertile with 38 seconds left in the 2008 game where FIU defeated Arkansas State 22-21.

Over in Jonesboro, Arkansas, they just want to "Heave" whenever you mention that play. Will there be a "Hilton Heave" Part Deux on Saturday? We'll see.

But for now here are some thoughts on the Red Wolves from the Jonesboro Sun's Arkansas State beat writer Matt Roberson. Also, in the answer to question No. 4 is a link to a "Hilton Heave" story that Matt wrote and what the ASU players are thinking one year later.

Asurw 1)  Is the 1-4 start a disappointment for ASU or did they expect a rough start to 2009? I had the Red Wolves pegged as one of the contenders for the Sun Belt title in the preseason.

Matt: The 1-4 start is a definite disappointment at Arkansas State. Generally, the team and fans believed they'd be 3-2 or 2-3 at this point. Losing to Troy was a disappointment but not a complete disaster. However, the loss to Louisiana-Monroe last week exposed some weaknesses and problems that hadn't been noticeable before. No one around here expected to lose to the Warhawks. ASU committed 16 penalties against ULM as opposed to 20 the first four games. The Red Wolves also turned the ball over three times compared to seven the previous four games. Focus, concentration, intensity, you name it, they were all missing and UL-Monroe made them pay.

2) With the way FIU has played on defense, I'm sure the Red Wolves are licking their chops. What would you say is the strength of the Red Wolves offense? Is it more than just Corey Leonard, Reggie Arnold andWolf Brandon Thompkins?

Matt: The strength of
Arkansas State's offense, without a doubt, is quarterback Corey Leonard. Reggie Arnold is a solid running back and Brandon Thompkins has been very consistent this season, but without Corey Leonard playing well, the Red Wolves are simply spinning their wheels and going nowhere. Leonard has shown so much ability, potential and versatility his first three years that it's been a bit strange to see him struggle at times this season. He hasn't run the ball with confidence and his passing game seems to be off a little bit. Opponents who can control or stop Corey Leonard, generally, can stop Arkansas State. It does help to stop Arnold, too, but Leonard runs the show.

3) Besides Alex Carrington (left), who else should the FIU offense worry about on the ASU D and what does the ASU D do best and what is their weakness?

Matt: Arkansas State has a solid defensive line, including Carrington and tackle Bryan Hall. Hall is powerful and has great speed for a guy his size. The unit is very deep and rotates eight or nine just to Carr keep everyone fresh.

Another guy to watch out for on defense is linebacker Demario Davis (right). A sophomore, Davis has shown the best instincts of any ASU player at the position. He's the guy who intercepted Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi and returned it 75 yards for a touchdown, then flipped into the end zone. Davis has 51 tackles in five games, so he's proven he can read offenses, and has the speed and ability to make the plays.

ASU's biggest weakness is clearly its secondary. The Red Wolves have given up 243 yards a gameDavis through the air and have made just three interceptions. Speed and decision-making seems to be issues here. Nebraska, Iowa and Troy have all torched Arkansas State with the passing game.

4) The ending to last season's game between ASU and FIU has been dubbed the "Hilton Heave" down here in
Miami. What is the feeling up there about the play and is FIU a game ASU has had circled on its schedule since it came out?

Matt: If you want something in depth on this, read my story today online: click here for Matt's story on the Hilton Heave. You'll get a good idea what they think about that play.  But if you want the quick version, that loss still stings for
Arkansas State. They feel like they should have won the game and not just because of that play in particular. Many of the Red Wolves felt like they let too many opportunities go by without scoring prior to Hilton's big touchdown pass. The consensus here is that while the play was lucky or a fluke, T.Y. Hilton is a thoroughbred, and players like him tend to make great plays. I don't think anyone around here really knew who T.Y. was last year but they all know who he is now. Needless to say, ASU would like to get a little revenge for that loss because it cost them a 7-5 season and a bowl game.

5) Your prediction and score for the game on Saturday?

Matt: Hope I don't offend any of your fine readers down there in South Florida but I really don't think this is a very close game. I may be wrong but Florida International appears extremely weak on defense based on what I've read. Arkansas State is also very good at home and I'm pretty confident ASU wants a little payback for last year's Hilton Heave loss. The key is ASU's quarterback and secondary. If Leonard has a good game running and throwing the football and Arkansas State's secondary just plays average, I don't see this one being much different than the Troy-FIU game last week ... which I know was a 15-point game until the final play. I figure ASU will show some life this Saturday. Arkansas State 38, Florida International 27.

Thanks to Matt for his answers.

Aaapaw You'll get my thoughts on Saturday's game along with Jackie's weather forecast at some point Friday afternoon here on the GPP when I land in Memphis, Tennessee. Will be staying in Memphis -- which is about 1 hour from Jonesboro -- and then driving to and from the game on Saturday.

The GPP LIVE BLOG for FIU/Arkansas State will begin around 6:30 p.m. on Saturday. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. and you can watch the game on Arkansas State's website and/or follow along right on here. Since it is a 7 p.m. kickoff, I will most likely have to start writing for Sunday's paper around the end of the third quarter, but as always I will leave the blog open.


Aaapaw Good to see and speak with some of our GPP readers on Thursday night at the Alumni Panther Basketball Preview with Isiah Thomas.

Good talking to gpantera, FIUPIKE, quijote, Max, Miri, JulesFIU07, Roman and Joel.

And yes, quijote, I will have LIVE BLOGS during FIU basketball games this season.


FIUJM: Would I be wrong in assuming that Sports Grill won't be showing many more games and won't be official place to watch FIU games?

PP: Sports Grill is still the official home for FIU Watch Parties, but the Panthers have to be on TV for thatTv to happen. I would not expect SG to pipe in an internet feed for Saturday's game, but FIU has 2 and possibly 3 games left that will air on TV. For sure, FIU at Middle Tennessee is on CSS (Sun Belt Network) at 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 7. The Sun Belt Conference told me that the Blue Raiders bought the rights to the game and ARE NOT blacking it out in Miami.

Florida Atlantic vs. FIU is also on CSS (Sun Belt Network) at 7 p.m. on Dec. 5. The FIU vs. Florida game is likely on TV, but not for sure yet, to be picked up by possibly Channel 39 down here in Miami since Ch. 39 shows most Gators games that are not on national TV.

PantherPride: Pete, any idea of the freshmen that will be redshirted, if any?

PP: We won't know for sure until the end of the season, because of all the injuries FIU is sustaining each week. But as of today, the following freshmen could get a redshirt because they have yet to play: Chris Redshirts Schirripa, Terrance Taylor, Cain Elliott, Jack Griffin, Dereck Wimberly, Austin Tottle, Jairus Williams and Andrew Mattox.

CarolinaGoldenPanther: Pete, Can you/the Herald talk to typepad and see if they can put in a change to allow users to ignore certain posters?

PP: CGP, the GPP's claw has gotten sharper of late (see: former 14 screen names person). Like I said in a previous post, once the comments on this blog become one person attacking another, then they will be clawed out. Check out the comments from the previous post and you will see how much cleaner that has gotten.

People are welcomed to post here their opinions, but when they start getting on each other or if it gets vulgar then they will be clawed out.

Jimmy: Pete, Just read the article posted on the herald website which indicated that more than 2/3 of the FIU roster were freshmen and sophomores. I had two questions regarding that figure:

How many scholarship seniors do we have on the team? I ask because if we have very few won't that effect how many recruits we can bring in? How many scholarship Juniors do we have on the roster?

PP: By my count there are 20 scholarship seniors on the team and there are 16 scholarship juniors. The numbers won't necessarily affect the number of recruits, because sometimes players transfer or sometimes players have scholies taken away, such as a few of the former coaching staff's previous players when they screwed up off the field.

Yes, not all of MC's original recruiting class is still on the team, because some did not make it because ofDraft grades or did not qualify to enter FIU. This happens to each of the 120 Division I teams. Recruiting is a lot like the NFL Draft without the agents. In recruiting, like the draft -- not every player is always going to pan out.

Gooch7: 1) Will they allow the kids on the field (with costumes) after the game? 2) Can you post some info regarding Season Tix for the basketball season. If you are a Life time Alum memeber do you get some kind of discount?

PP: Will try and find out answers to both your questions while I got some down time in Memphis on Friday. Until then for your first question you can contact: FIU assistant AD for marketing Heather Wight at 305-348-8390 or hwight@fiu.edu. For the answer to your second question: contact FIU asst. AD for ticket operations Jeremy Lamb at 305-348-2903 or jlamb@fiu.edu



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