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The Price Is Dwight

Price It's real simple for FIU to win Saturday's game against Middle Tennessee. If the Panthers want to beat the Blue Raiders, the price is Dwight.

FIU faces Middle Tennessee, which might be the second best team in the Sun Belt after Troy. The Blue Raiders are pretty stacked in all three facets of the game, but they go as their top-notch quarterback Dwight Dasher goes.

Earlier this week, I wrote that Dasher is like a mini-Vince Young (Texas Longhorn days, not Tenn. Titans). FIU has to account for both Dasher's feet and arm.

However, don't take my word for it. Read up on what MT's beat writer Adam Sparks (right) has to say about the team he covers and what he expects in Saturday's game in our 5 questions with the Panthers opponentSparks this week:

1) I've seen Dwight Dasher (below, left) play FIU the last 2 years and he has been a handful for the FIU D. Is stopping Dasher, the best chance for FIU to win Saturday or who else does the Panthers defense have to worry about?

AS: Dasher obviously needs to have a sub-par day for FIU to win. Aside from being MTSU’s leading rusher and passer, he also leads the nation in offensive touches (or at least he did a couple weeks ago, when I last checked). RB D.D. Kyles is coming off a career game running the ball, but he benefits most when defenses give too much attention to Dasher’s running ability. Dasher’s favorite target in the passing game is a toss-up. It seems to change every game.

Dash 2) What is the best way for the FIU offense to go about attacking the MT defense? Is there a weak link on the Raiders D?
AS: Not sure if there is a distinct weak link, but offenses that can run the ball with power sometimes wear down MTSU’s front line (see

Troy, Mississippi State). Not sure if FIU has that kind of muscle up front. MTSU’s defensive philosophy is to stuff the run early and then attack. It’s an aggressive style with a lot of blitzing, a lot of movement and a lot of rotating personnel (this is the most depth MTSU has had in years).

3) Seems like Middle Tennessee has some pretty good special teams. Has it usually been that way or is it just this season that the special teams have stood out?

AS: The return game has been pretty good the last few years. It’s O.K. this year. Kicker Alan Gendreau is having an outstanding year (12-13 this season and 20 of last 22, dating back to last season). MTSU has blocked five kicks (three last week vs. FAU). As coach Rick Stockstill says, MTSU is a “punt block team.” Their defensive philosophy of attacking bleeds over into the kick/punt block teams. And Stockstill doesn’t care about punt return yards. He only wants the punt caught safely.

4) FIU is a two-touchdown underdog.  How do the Panthers go about pulling the upset?

AS: Very simple. Win the turnover margin. MTSU has the best turnover margin in the Sun Belt, and all its losses hinge on losing the turnover margin. Last year FIU beat MTSU because of a couple of costly interceptions. Do it again and FIU can win. Secondly, QB Paul McCall needs to make good decisions with the football, and not just interceptions. Know when to throw it away when MTSU’s pass rush comes quickly. And know when to exploit an MTSU blitz for a big gainer to one of those tall WRs.

5) Your game prediction and score?

AS: Like I said, turnover margin could swing this game for FIU, but that would be uncharacteristic for MTSU. The Blue Raiders have depth, while FIU is thin and injury-plagued. I think Hilton or somebody else will hit MTSU for a couple of big plays, but MTSU will wear down FIU from about the second or third quarter on. Maybe close early, but MTSU pulls away. MTSU 38, FIU 17




Aaapaw Will have your GPP preview and prediction of FIU/MT when I land in Nashville on Friday. The GPP LIVE BLOG of FIU/MT begins at 4:15 p.m. on Saturday. Kickoff is at 4:30 p.m.


Also will have a LIVE BLOG for you from the Dean Dome on Monday night as your Panthers hoopsters tip-off the season against defending national champion North Carolina. We'll get live blogging on that one at 6:45 p.m. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. on ESPNU.





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We have enough talent to win any game in the SunBelt without question and being a 2 TD underdog doesn't really reflect the fact that if we click on all cylinders, they can't touch our home-grown, s.fl football players.

Go Panthers!

Is the game going to be on tv or online?

FIU 20

and If I cannot make it to a computer next week to say otherwise,

UNT 17
FIU 24

I swear, every week it seems like we're going up against Dan Marino.

MTSU- 37
FIU- 24

Prove me wrong, Panthers!!!

Gotta go with MTSU on this one... 31-14. This was one of the games I was afraid of coming in to this season.

I just remembered.... last game against ULL, I heard this chant that sort of resembles an extended version of FF-II-UU.

Does anyone know what I am talking about and what the words are? It's probably the best chant I've heard and I think we need to get the word out.

is it the fight song ... go F go I go U go F I U ... panthers fight panther fight ...

Unfortunately i think it will be MTSU 35 FIU 17


FIU 33

Hope our our speed at linebacker can somewhat keep Dasher's running in check and maybe frustrate him into some bad throws.

We'd need that and a perfect game from McCall and Owens.

Here's to hope

U can watch the game on the MT website http://www.b2livetv.com/partner_members.asp?id=24 and its on ESPN 360....

If we pull off the upset this would be by FAR the biggest win of the season. Best part is that MT would finish their season early with this lose. Even with such a dissapointing season can you imagine finishing 3rd or 4th in the conference. Once again its all about the 2nd half!

I f I get one wish for this game it would be for Coach Cristobal to be aggressive with his play calling.
1) Go Deep 5 or 6 times in the game.
2) Go for it on 4th and short
3) Blitz the heck out of Dwight
4) Bring some trick plays (ex: Colt Anderson pass, or TY pass, or fake field goals, or fake punts, etc...)

Go FIU!!


FIU 17

on point #4:
They've been lame and uncreative all year... that's not going to change now... So much for wildpanther, panther speedway.... Three starters who can throw just as good as Paul. Wayne Times (Jacory Harris replacement for 6 games)was QB for Northwestern. Our new TE was a HS and NCAA QB, and TY can just do it all.
All that potential to exploit and we...run right for 2 yds, run middle for 1 yd loss... and Paul running for his life on 3rd and 9.

ok pete im goin out of town so let me get my choice in .... i think as much as our team improved and found a way to win last week against a decent ULL squad... the fact that we are on the road.. in Tenn. agaisnt a good MT team.. i think it will be a bit to much for us closer than the experts pick but im goin tohave to go w/ dasher on this one... ill say .. 31-24

I have a strong feeling that I shouldn't pick against MTSU in this one, but I need to try to make a run at Fomenter's current 8-0 record.

FIU 35


FIU 100

Here my prediction
MTU 35
FIU 23

FIU Rage.... the chant seems more longer than that.

Anyone have ALL the words and would like to share them here.

FIU two touchdown underdogs to MTSU? Wow, we've fallen a long way. You have to earn respect--

FIU 34

Oh, and I almost forgot:

Virginia 38
UM 0

I think not having the added motivation of playing in the last ever game at the Orange Bowl keeps the score much closer than it was the last time Virginia visited UM. But if UM gets dominated the way they did last week against another middle of the pack ACC team, it could get even uglier. You can't count on turnovers bailing you out every week, 'Canes'fans'.

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