The season finale is just about here for your Panthers with the Don Shula Bowl on Saturday from FIU Stadium against Florida Atlantic or as they are affectionately known -- the Boca Raton Hooters.
Shula Bowl VIII week kicks off on Monday night with the Coaches Dinner from the Panther Club at FIU Stadium. Will be heading out there later to check up with MC and Howard and have a blog post about it on Tuesday.
As you know, the Hooters have held the Shula Bowl Trophy (right, FIU's helmet is on the back of the trophy, which Howard refers to as the "dunce side" because it faces the wall at FAU) for 6 of the 7 years the game has existed. However, the only FIU win in the series came at FIU Stadium -- the last time the game was played there in 2005 where FIU tied an NCAA record with 4 interceptions returned for TDs.
In 2007, FIU was the home team for the Shula Bowl in the Orange Bowl, but lost that one.
Before we get to all the Shula Bowl stuff, wanted to pass along to you some highlights of the Scout Bowl that your Panthers reserves played in last Thursday on Thanksgiving morning.
Your Panthers were off from practice the past 3 days and had a chance to heal up from injuries before returning to the practice field on Monday.
The last day of practice last week had the scout team offense playing against the scout team defense. The scout D won the bowl 17-0.
Now, since FIU is low on depth, there were some players that are expected to see significant playing time next season participate in the Scout Bowl. So don't be surprised when you read some of the following names.
To start the Scout Bowl, FIU's two No. 1 draft picks for next season: quarterback Wesley Carroll and running back Jeremiah Harden did not play, even though the regular offensive players were chanting to the coaching staff to put WC and JH in the game. But no, FIU needs those two healthy when it opens the season in 2010 against an undetermined Sun Belt team at home or on the road. (Won't know the 2010 conference sked until the SBC office releases it in the early 2010 summer).
Freshman Chris Schirripa started at QB for the scout team O. On the first series, Andre Pound and Josh Forney batted down passes.
Freshman receiver Jairus Williams (left, thanks Roy Viera photo), who had some dropsies in camp back in August, made a nice catch over the middle and paid the price on a hit by freshman safety Terrance Taylor. JW to his credit did hang on to the ball. At 6-5, JW can be a big contributor next season.
On the next series, to no surprise Pooh Bear (right) burst through the o-line and made a tackle for loss.
The first score of the game came when linebacker Chris Edwards forced a fumble on Schirripa and junior defensive back Jose Cheseborough, a transfer from Edward Waters, scooped it up and returned it 81 yards for a TD.
Freshman Carlos Gonzalez then took over at QB and was intercepted by freshman defensive back Antwoine Bell.
Freshman Junior Delpe was next up at QB and he connected with tight end Joey Harris for 21 yards. Or as him teammates were yelling out "Joey the Bear" Harris.
The O would not move any further than Harris's reception. Junior transfer linebacker Antoine Graham (South Dade High/Kansas JUCO) got a sack and defensive lineman Kasey Smith had a tackle for loss to end the drive.
Freshman safety Cain Elliott made a nice open field tackle of Schirripa on a scramble.
The Cheeseman was at again. Cheseborough scored his 2nd and the Scout Bowl's 2nd TD when he recovered another fumble and ran it back 42 yards for a TD to make it 14-0.
The last highlight of the day came when Graham, Smith and Pooh Bear combined for a sack to end it.
Congratulations to the FIU volleyball team (right, thanks Sam Lewis photo) for, as expected, reaching the NCAA Tournament. The FIU ladies take on UM in Thursday's 1st round from Gainesville and then would play the winner of Florida/College of Charleston on Friday. Won't be able to cover those matches, because of football duties, but when the lady Panthers take on defending national champion Penn State in the Sweet 16 on Dec. 11 then I should be there in Gainesville and hell, even have a LIVE BLOG for you.
Will have a LIVE BLOG of Shula Bowl VIII on Saturday from FIU Stadium at 6:45 p.m., but will have to leave you in the fourth quarter, because of a very unfriendly kickoff/deadline time of 7 p.m. -- plus it is a TV game (CSS/Sun Belt Network) so that will make the game even longer.
Q&AClawing Cancer: 1) Is FIU planning on/doing anything special for Rich's retirement? I don't know about you guys, but I've seen long-time SID's at other schools get things named after them (usually press boxes and such). Any chance we see something similar for Rich? I think he deserves it, frankly. I'm not talking about a stadium or court, folks, for the record... personally, I'd name the press box at the football stadium after him. God knows, he's spent enough time in them.
2) I've heard that Akron and FIU have scheduled a home-and-home series in football. From what I understand, FIU goes to Akron in 2011 and the return trip for the Zips is TBD. Do you know anything about this, good sir?
PP: Should be something doing at the Shula Bowl either before the game or at halftime. Nothing concrete on naming of press box, but like I wrote in the second to last post, once it is complete, FIU should name the press box on the north side of the stadium and every other press area at FIU after Rich. The Miami Herald will have a story on Rich later this week.
FIU and Akron had a series scheduled under former AD Rick Mello, but that is off the books now. FIU's future non-conference schedules look like this: 2010 - Rutgers, Texas A&M, Pitt, Maryland; 2011 - UCF, Louisville, Duke and OPEN DATE; 2012 - Duke, Louisville, UCF and OPEN DATE; 2013 - Texas A&M, UCF, Louisville and OPEN DATE; 2014 - UCF, Louisville, Pitt and OPEN DATE.
blkpanther: Pete any news on Milk or any other additions to the 2010 class?
PP: Nothing as of this post. I think FIU is keeping one spot open for later on. Maybe, C.J. Leslie?
Ultimate FIU Fan: Pete, Panther Pass has become very ordinary! Not covering MAJORITY of the men's hoops road games. What gives?!
PP: You can get the majority of men's hoops road games through the opponent's webcast. Like tonight's game at Bowling Green is available on video through BG's website for like $4.95.