NASHVILLE -- Sometimes there are misconceptions about what a team has to do to win a football game. For your Panthers on Saturday there are no misconceptions -- unlike for some new Nashville friends.
In order for FIU to defeat Middle Tennessee on Saturday afternoon. You read it on here in Thursday's post: stop quarterback Dwight Dasher.
Met some new friends here in Nashville on Friday, who are planning on spending New Year's Eve in Miami, but were worrried they would get shot. Told the ladies to stop watching CSI: Miami and Miami Vice re-runs. Been in Miami for the New Year's the past 30 years and have not taken a bullet in that time.
And you sure as hell don't need to be a part of CSI: Miami to figure out how FIU wins on Saturday.
It's a simple formula for FIU winning on Saturday: stop Dasher and establish some sort of running game to keep Dasher as much as possible off the field and the Panthers go home winners.
In fact, as predicted in the preseason....now that Dudley LaPorte won't catch the game-winning touchdown in the St. Petersburg Bowl and defeat South Florida, because he is out for the season with a broken foot.....I will go out on another limb and say that if FIU defeats Middle Tennessee on Saturday, then the Panthers will finish this season with the same exact record as last season: 5-7....A win over the Blue Raiders will spur FIU to finish the season with wins over North Texas and Florida..............................................Atlantic.
No, not the Gators -- if that happens I have already said I'm walking from Gainesville back to Miami. But that's another story and another Saturday.
Especially, key in this game will be the FIU linebackers, who will likely be expected to keep an eye on Dasher. Need another monster game from Aaron Davis, (left, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo), Tyler Clawson (below, right, thanks AJH photo) and Scott Bryant.
However, I'm not so sure the FIU D can hold up against Dasher through 4 quarters. The Panthers do not have the depth and all of the speed necessary to dominate Dasher.
But FIU doesn't have to dominate Dasher, if the Panthers can limit him and establish some sort of running game where FIU chews up the clock, then I like FIU's chances.
So therefore, I must pick Middle Tennessee to win Saturday and it won't be close. Sorry, FIU fans, but I don't see a close game on Saturday. Until FIU finds a way to stop mobile QBs (just about every Sun Belt team has one), the Panthers will struggle.
GPP says: Middle Tennessee 41, FIU 23
You can catch the FIU/Middle Tennessee game at 2 locations for watch parties: The Sports Grill on Bird Road and SW 117 Ave & Finnegan's on the River in downtown Miami.