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A few belated thoughts on Marshall 20, FIU 10...

The Mario Cristobal business took up my time Wednesday when I planned to finish and file this. That, I'm sorry about.

I usually do the postgame blog during the wind down of game night, often filing in the wee hours. It’s one thing to do that, get three to four hours sleep, then drive 15 minutes to The Cushman School or to an airport, 20 minutes to Still Joe Robbie Stadium To Me to help cover a Dolphins game, or drag my daughter 20 minutes in a wagon to Flamingo Park or handle the back end of a sleepover. I can caffeine power through that. It’s another to do that before driving four hours while phoning and texting to find out what’s up with the head football coach. Same reason I started the postgame blog, but didn’t finish and file before a 90-minute, predawn drive on unfamiliar roads to the Memphis Airport following the Arkansas State loss. It’s not smart or safe.

For those who have a problem with that, sorry. Actually, I’m not sorry, you’ll just have to get over it.

FIU looked rusty physically, stale otherwise. Five pre-snap penalties, more missed makeable throws, blocks, reads than usual. Ironically, in answering a question of mine about bowl game rust last week, Mario Cristobal said you have to come out with something new even if it’s just for show or a talented team studying you for three weeks eats you up.

I could be wrong, but it seemed the biggest new wrinkles with FIU offensively were in personnel. Redshirt sophomore Jairus Williams got targeted on the first series. Redshirt junior wide receiver Mike Jean-Louis made his first catch of the season. Running back Robert Boswell was out there in the fourth quarter in five-wide sets. Some defensive guys got unusual playing time.

“Lot of injuries,” Cristobal said after the game. “We had a fractured shoulder, a couple of other guys dinged up, a couple of possible concussions. You never want to run the risk when a guy gets dinged up and you’re not certain about how he’s responding.”

Unfortunately for FIU, the game’s most valuable substitute turned out to be Marshall left tackle Jordan Jeffries. Starting left tackle Ryan Tillman hopped toward the sideline after the game’s first play. Jeffries played the rest of the way and, in the fourth quarter, it was Jeffries who fell on Marshall running back Travon Van’s fumble one play after the blocked punt gave Marshall the ball at the FIU 23. Without that play, there’s no Tyler Warner field goal and no touchdown pass to Aaron Dobson with 30 seconds left.

Defensively, FIU looked as if it showed more pre-snap movement. Marshall was only six of 17 on third down and their 59-yard total offense advantage is right there on their final possession, the 60-yard final drive to that second Dobson touchdown. Both defenses hung in well. Marshall tackled well, a big key to the game. The Herd felt in the games they gave up points by the peck, they had too many blown tackles. They were strong practitioners of that lost art Tuesday.

Marshall’s offense just came up with the two biggest plays and Marshall’s kicking game won that matchup.

Heck, Sam Miller even had good coverage on the first Dobson touchdown. That play points up FIU’s size liability at cornerback, however. Several times this season, Miller or Jose Cheeseborough or Richard Leonard has been on the spot, but been too overmatched in size to prevent the catch, even by interference. Not everybody can have a big beast like Ronnie Lott at cornerback (people forget he came into the NFL as a corner and actually was even better there his first few NFL seasons than he was as an all-time great safety), but a few more inches of height or length on Miller might’ve prevented that 31-yard touchdown right before the half. Rakeem Cato made a near perfect throw, as he did on a couple of big plays, including the heave with a leaping James Jones in his face that Jermaine Kelson caught with one hand for a 25-yard gain in the first quarter.

The punting numbers look equal at a glance: 40.1 for Marshall’s Kase Whitehead, 40.0 for FIU’s Josh Brisk; three inside the 20 for each; longs of 46 for Whitehead, 48 for Brisk.

Whitehead’s punts seemed to describe The Arch in St. Louis. Brisk’s described a parabola. FIU couldn’t get off one return. Marshall’s Andre Booker returned four punts for 57 yards. In a defensive battle, that’s valuable land. As FIU lined up for the punt that would be blocked, I thought, “They need a good punt to change the field. The way this is going, Marshall’s going to be in position on this possession or next to win with a first down and field goal.”

One offensive wrinkle that might’ve helped FIU – an under center quarterback sneak. Look at the third quarter turn of events.

Hilton scooped a pass over the middle before going down somewhere around the first down line. Officials marked it, measured it and found FIU a midget’s forearm short of a first down. Fourth and a wrist.

FIU calls timeout to challenge the spot. I’ve seen spots changed in the replay era. Far, far, FAR more often, I’ve seen the spot remain via replay confirming the spot; inconclusive evidence (the most common one for something that as judgmental as a spot); or officials just being stubborn about supporting the judgment of one of their own. Sure enough, the spot didn’t change.

FIU punted. At your own 43, 10-10 with 6:41 left in the third quarter, when you’ve gotten stuffed on third and short earlier and aren’t the best short yardage team, punting is the safe move in a field position game. Safe doesn’t always get it done, however. FIU basically used up a timeout, always a valuable commodity in a tight game, to send a message that it’s not confident its offensive line can gain a loaf of bread against Marshall.

Marshall, meanwhile, faced with fourth and 5 on FIU’s 35 with 38 seconds left and a 13-10 lead just needed a first down to end the game. Instead of settling for the decision, they went for the knockout and got the 35-yard touchdown pass from Cato to Dobson.

Smart move? Debatable. I saw Denver do the same thing against Pittsburgh during the Steelers’ Steel Curtain era in the 1977 AFC Divisional Playoff game, the game that made a star out of Denver linebacker and now longtime ESPN studio analyst Tom Jackson. Similar pattern, too, run by a receiver with a similar last name (Jack Dolbin). A safe move? Oh, no. Any number of things could’ve gone wrong for Marshall on that play. Cato could’ve been sacked for a loss that would’ve given FIU the ball at the FIU 40 or better, a couple of nice passes from Jack Griffin field goal range. He could’ve been sacked for a loss and fumbled (See, “Central Florida,” “Jeff Godfrey,” “Tevin Blanchard,” “Isame Faciane”). The pass could’ve been blocked by a lineman and intercepted.

Instead, it was the Joe Frazier left hook that dropped Ali in the 15th round of their first fight. It clinched the decision for Marshall.

FIU ends the season 8-5, having led in every game and with 39 of 44 on their offensive and defensive two-deep returning. Most college programs would take that setup.


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You shouldn't apologize for the delayed post. Some FIU fans are unrealistic and unappreciative of your work but I think that you are doing the best job since Pete Peligrin left.

You are appreciated.

"Actually, I’m not sorry, you’ll just have to get over it."

Indeed, and those that are bitching (UM fans in disguise) need to get over themselves.

Thanks for the post game blog David.


I agree with the other two posters, no need to apologize. You're getting us great information on a regular basis, for that, I thank you.

Great job David, thanks for the report. No need to apologize.

Great Work David! I hope you have a happy holiday season and look forward to your continued coverage of FIU in the upcoming year.

Pittsburgh chose some coordinator over Cristobal - FIU should pay him anyway, otherwise this is just going to keep happening.

FIU needs to pay more but for a real coach. Mario is mediocre at best.

Real Coach? FIU can barely afford Cristobal, who can they hire? Cristobal is doing a good job.


I am still trying to figure out who "Another Panther"s team is. He's either a UM fan or an FAU fan. I'm leaning towards FAU based on some of his comments from a previous post. Either way it doesn’t matter since he will probably post a comment under a different name seeing as these blogs are a forum for cowards and “drive-by” bloggers.

The U? The same U thats getting ready for Mark Emmert and the NCAA giving them sanctions, and if these alligations are proven that they were being acted since 2001 (when they were coming out of previous sanction? That U? Mark Emmert will hammer miami because he is an SEC apoligist.

Florida State will continue being thee best team in Florida.

Florida State????
...talk about a fail!

Happy Mario is sticking around, very proud of the effort in Tues game but the lay over effected both teams (which is what I hate about bowl games) but effected us more. Great season but in 2012 we have to find a replacement for TY and if we can we should be on a role yet again. Go CATS!!!


blacksheep who has done better than Florida State in the state the last 2 years?

I agree that FSU is the best team in the State today and for the up-coming season. And if the blacsheep doesn't see this, well then he is one blind U fan. I still get a kick out of all the U fans on this blog coming to criticize and instigate. Personally, I have nothing against the U and will catch so e of the um games next year. But don't understand the need to denigrate FIU. FIU is a great story and will only get better over the next decade. Sorry but U got to accept that. One last thing FSU is better than the U but that doesnt mean U can't beat them. Sorry about the truth as it probably hurts.

Surprised no one mentioned the unspectacular play of Carroll at QB in the Marshall game.Anyway......Mario is about as good a coach as possible now for FIU.After all...he is still building a program.THAT takes a while.I don t believe I ever heard him say he was satisfied at where he currently is at.Soooo.....hopefully...he just keeps getting better recruits and continues in laying a very strong foundation but always looking for ELITE players too.T.Y s don t come along very often...especially to a smaller division school.I ll hope for the best.

cristabol and ponce are doomed to loose every bowl game they ever play in from here on out,if they ever even make it to one ! there only as good as ellingson and hilton and now they are both gone!! next year 4-8

smh, I mean really, how satisfied can someone actually be about finishing 4th in a conference full of the biggest pansies in D1 football, begging their way into a bowl game, then losing to Marshall?
...I mean, just laughable, simply laughable!

And as far as FSU goes, up until THIS YEAR FSU has been neck to neck with UM (record wise) since 2006. Just because they were able to post a 9-4 record THIS YEAR with a bowl win over South Carolina does not mean they are a powerhouse!
Putting stock in FSU right now may very well leave you belly-up!

Since the merger the ACC has been a two team conference, FSU and Va Tech. Miami fans take a real look at the two teams, leave the bias on the canes blog and be serious. Atleast win the division once before putting Miami at the same level as FSU. If you went to Vegas and put money on the Canes winning their division, you'd be dead broke. Heck I would take that friendly bet.

Miami had their chance to win the Coastal now its too late. UVA is beginning to rise, Larry Fedora is taking over at UNC, no way Miami finishes better than 4th in the Coastal. Duke is Duke, and Ga Tech will continue to be over hyped by the media until they get rid of Paul Johnson and that amature style he uses. I'll leave you on that to ponder.

But if you feel very confident on your Canes for next season, would you like to make a friendly wager?

On your point on FIU, 8-4 is 8-4 in the record books. FIU is a program that is in their adolescent stage. The Marshall game was a homecoming game to 1/3 of Marshall's roster, so I doubt that the results was shocking. It's like Nevada beating UCLA, it shouldn't be shocking because a major base of Nevada's kids are from souther Cali.

The last time FSU won the ACC was 2005 (with a very mediocre 8-5 record), the same year UM finished 9-3 after being ranked #3 and were poise to play for another National Title until losing to Georgia Tech in their next to last game! In fact, UM had a better ACC conference record than FSU that season (and finished ranked higher than them) but forfeited their opportunity to represent the Coastal Division because of the loss to Georgia Tech.
Since then FSU has played in only one ACC Championship (2010) and have been about as futile as UM in ACC play. What were they ranked at the beginning of this season?...5th or something?...and finished 25th in the final rankings!
FSU has been pretty mediocre in ACC play since the Big East additions!

As far as 8-4 being 8-4 I can't disagree, but you can't tell me going 8-4 against every girl on the block is the same as going 8-4 against the toughest guys on the block...so FIwho's 8-4 is irrelevant in terms of football prowess
...I mean, how relevant can any campaign be when you have a loss to Duke at home on the resume?...not to mention other such garbage as: Louisiana La-ughing Stock, Ark-and-saw St., Western KY Jelly, and Marshelle...PULEASE!!! : )

any news from the Uncle Luke rumor mill about Godfrey's transfer. The academic semester is fast approaching; UCF declared him ineligible for none NCAA violations so it could be an academic thing?

I'm not asking 'cause I want JG here; with JM and EJ (should he honor commitmet) we're good for now. Just Curious?

This is the last one I'll entertain...
On FSU being more consistant than Miami, it's fact. You keep mentioning Miami lost to Ga Tech, and you said the key word "lost". Miami lost to Ga Tech who is Ga Tech other than a option offense that is overrated. Seriously the option offense couldn't have been stopped? That is basically saying that Miami was undiscipline on the line, because if you have physical and descipline ends anybody can beat Ga Tech.
Now on Louisiana, you need to learn your football geography. Louisiana is a hotbed of high school talent. There is no reason why any Louisiana school shouldn't be bowl eligible. And to go even further, Louisiana schools can easily go recruit Texas (especially east Texas where all the top high football schools are).
On Ark State, you are aware they have football tradition, they might live in the shadows of the Razorbacks, but they hold their own on the football field. I believe within the last 10 years alone they have been bowl eligible 6 times. As far as Marshall I told you already told you 1/3 of their roster is from Florida and it was a homecoming game for them.

You talk about playing with the big boys? The ACC big boys? how bout beating a cat? I mean the Kansas State game showed that Miami is not big boy football, same goes for the Cookman game. What was the big markee game Miami won? USF? 6-3? Thats your best win?

Noone is talking about FIU being a football powerhouse, but FIU is beginning to earn respect on the football field. Leave the politics aside and be honest to yourself. There is no way you can have the same expectations for both FIU and Miami, it's like telling a 20 y.o. to have the same expectations of a 50 y.o. A 50 y.o. has a family and has more life experience than a 20 y.o. Both have different agenda's.


Jakhari Gore the former #6 RB in FL with over 1700 ydsas a snior out of Columbus has been granted release by LSU. Is there any chance of FIU in his future.

If so, ho how does that affect DaQuan Harnett the transfer from WVU or 1100 yrd runner Rhodes...?

Georgia Tech since 2005:
2005 - 7-5
2006 - 9-5 ACC Coastal Division Champs
2007 - 7-6
2008 - 8-4
2009 - 10-3 ACC Champions
2010 - 6-7
2011 - 8-4

Florida State since 2005:
2005 - 8-5 ACC Champions
2006 - 7-6
2007 - 7-6
2008 - 9-4
2009 - 7-6
2010 - 10-4 ACC Atlantic Champs
2011 - 8-4
I guess that option offense is good enough to at least match your Mediocre Seminoles!
And I know you're not seriously attempting to make the point that ANYBODY in the Sun Belt Conference has football prowess!
-Louisiana La-ughing Stock has had 2 (count them) TWO winning seasons over the last 16 years.
-Ark-and-saw State has had 1 winning season over the last 22 years!
If THAT'S "holding your own", there's no more wonder why you think FSU is top shelf! LOL!

BTW, Dufus, Kansas State finished top 10 this year! smh...typical Calle Ocho fan...IG-NANT! : )

I would like to say this is the best blog that I have ever come across. Very informative. Please write more so we can get more details.

University of Miami will not have a football program by the time I am done.


Miami since 2005
2005 - 9-3 G Tech: L FSU: L
2006 - 7-6 G Tech: L FSU: L
2007 - 5-7 G Tech: L FSU: W
2008 - 7-6 G Tech: L FSU: L
2009 - 9-4 G Tech: W FSU: W *
2010 - 7-6 G Tech: W FSU: L
2011 - 6-6 G Tech: W FSU: L
Record vs G Tech 3-3; Record vs FSU 2-4

Thats what your proud of? Who have you beaten? Only 1 big out of conference win which came in 2009 when Miami hosted OU. Face it Miami is eroding.

Are you insane?

An FIU fan talking about UM "eroding"????

UM could erode for another 100 years and not lose to teams like Louisiana-Layfeyette.

Get your head out of your ass and stop with your ignorant pointless argument until FIU finishes its glorious inevitable rise to being a Big East doormat.

How myopic can you be??

Boy it sure does hurt you scUM fans to know there are people right here in Miami who HATE, not just dislike but HATE, that scUMmy program across town. Really gets under your skin, we can tell.

But no worries, after the NCAA levels you in the next couple months, you'll be so busy battling others who now hate scUM that you won't even remember why you're drawn to this blog on an hourly basis...guess now you'll have to pretend you didn't just read this post and hold a response for another few hours to disprove my point of course...carry on.

Can't argue facts, so you go to personal attacks. Very clever sir, you got me.

I guess I'm done here.

I thought jahkori gore was going to Missouri?

Woah! Talk about horrible math skills, I will correct myself... Miami is actually 3-4 vs Ga Tech, and 2-5 vs the Noles.
Oh and just to clarify, I'm not trying to "hate" on Miami I'm just stating facts.

Here's some more facts for ya!

The U: 5 National Championships in 9 championship game appearances!

FSU: 2 National Championships!
That's what I'm "proud" of!

BTW, that option offense that you made this genius reference to:
"Miami lost to Ga Tech who is Ga Tech other than a option offense that is overrated. Seriously the option offense couldn't have been stopped? That is basically saying that Miami was undiscipline on the line, because if you have physical and descipline ends anybody can beat Ga Tech."
Yeah that offense right there, has beaten FSU in their last 2 meetings:
G. Tech 31
FSU 28

G. Tech 49
FSU 44

What happened?...I thought you said "if you have physical and descipline ends ANYBODY can beat Ga Tech."
And if FSU was such a powerhouse, what are they doing losing 2 straight to an "over hyped by the media until they get rid of Paul Johnson and that amature style he uses" Georgia Tech?...LOL!...what a joke!

I think you're the most "Ig-nant" Calle Ocho fan on this site!

Here's a tip: GET A CLUE, Dumas!

...on the flip-side, The U has beaten Georgia Tech in their last 3 meetings:
The U 33
G. Tech 17

The U 35
G. Tech 10

The U 24
G. Tech 7
And that's after Georgia Tech hired Paul J and deployed the option attack, because when The U lost to them in 2005 to kill it's Title hopes Georgia Tech did not run the option!
Now go "ponder" THAT, Dumb Dumb...or should I say Stupido! (considering you're the typical Ig-nant Calle Ocho fan) : )

Georgia Tech?...option or not I bet FIwho would be crushed by them!...as well as EVERYONE else in the ACC...just ask Duke the Doormat!

Look I love the 'Canes and grew up rooting for them and I went to FIU form 2007-2010. So I have mixed allegiances on this one. To try to argue that Miami is as good as ever and on par with FSU is laughable at the moment. I hate the Seminole, but their light years ahead of UM at the moment. UM's big recruiting class from 2007 failed spectacularly. Aldarius got kicked off, Forston never played well and then wasn't healthy, Jacory had more turnovers than TD's, etc.

UM's got a very good crop of young kids, but the scholarship deductions are going to hurt. But you're still talking about a team that lost to KSU, BC and Maryland. Oh and Virginia. If i had told you that 5 years ago you would have laughed in my face. Would FIU do better in the ACC than Miami? Probably not, but FIU's been a program for 10 years, UM for about 80 or so. Can you honestly expect the same out of the two programs? If you answer yes I would urge you to start a company tomorrow and get it to compete with General Electric and Proctor and Gamble on day one. Stupid right?

FIU has done well, frankly, the fact that this season ended somewhat disappointing with an 8-5 record is a testament to our coach. We're going to be hurting next year lacking our best player in school history and a QB who was smart if somewhat inconsistent. But you have to be stupid to not give props where they are merited. This is a team that beat UCF and Louisville and handled its business pretty well. 5 years ago you would have laughed in my face if I told you FIU was where it is now. One program is trying to rebuild and the other is moving ahead.

All schools go through rebuilding phases, no need for a moronic amount of animosity which is pointless from either side. FIU isn't going to win the championship next year and UM ain't either.

"FIU isn't going to win the championship next year and UM ain't either."
And neither is Florida State!...or Florida for that matter!
FSU is only slightly better than Miami!
and FIwho with their so called (joke) "rise" is laughable under ANY circumstance or condition, and as soon as it's 'ig-nant' little calle ocho fans realize that fact I'll cease to engage in animosity with it's moronic pointless fans!

And just as a note of common knowledge:
The Big 3 (UM, FSU, UF) will likely win twice as many Championships as they each have now before FIwho will win one, if ever! : )

Pointless arguements. Miami is a bunch of soft wusses, can't win in the trenches got bullied by a no talent K-State team. FIU is a no where close to FSU or UF and arguing for anybody who tries to say that Miami and FIU are at the same level is a waste of time. FSU slightly better than Miami? What a joke, FSU had one of the youngest teams in the country and they outplayed an extremely veteran Miami team. For anybody who thinks Miami is a top 25 team they should step back from the Canes pajamas and the Jimmy Johnson bedsheets, and realize that FSU is on their way back to dominating football. It's big boy football and BOTH FIU AND MIAMI CAN'T PLAY BIG BOY FOOTBALL! Miami can't win big games, can't win bowl games and your Miami? Only big win of the season is a 5-7 USF team.
It's not debatable if you cannot see it your delusional, cause its obvious to grown ups. Miami and FIU both are Jokes. Lord.

...um..Miami did beat Ohio State (matter of factly)...and a 7-6 North Carolina...and a 8-4 Georgia Tech! smh at the 'Ig-nance'! : )
Why is it that all Calle Ocho fans are void of football knowledge?...oh yeah, I forgot, most of them are a bunch of Mariel Boat-lift soccer fans who probably don't know all the rules of the game, let alone who are quality college football teams!
...case and point, Boat-lifters, Kansas State is a top 10 team at #8 playing in the Cotton Bowl against #6 Arkansas, and are far better than that FSU (joke) up in Tallahassee who started the season #5 only to finish unranked and playing a Notre Dame (who LOST to South Florida) in the Citrus Bowl!

FSU is still just as mediocre as Miami, or as they have been since 2003, as their losses to Wake Forest and Virginia (at home) demonstrate!
Heck, they only beat UM by 4 points AT HOME!
Miami went 6-6 with a program in transition and was in position to win every game!
FIwho would have gone 2-10 (possibly 1-11) against Miami's schedule, as Duke demonstrated.
2-10 possibly 1-11 against FSU's schedule, and 1-11 possibly 0-12 against UF schedule...heck FIwho would likely have gone 3-9 against USF's schedule!
While on the other hand, ALL of these teams would likely go undefeated against the Girl Scout Troops that make up FIwho's pathetic High School'est schedule!

FIwho IS, HAVE BEEN, and likely ALWAYS WILL BE A JOKE in this state!
And they're the only JOKE in this state!
...get it?...got it?...gone!

What a joke of an argument, backtracking to a Ohio State team that missed their 4 main players plus their head coach and their star QB. Yeah that was a fair match. You brag about UNC the team that fired their head coach a month before the season yeah their the big boys in the ACC. Georgia Tech? The same Georgia Tech that was outworked by a blue coller Virginia and Va Tech teams? What's the count 2 straight losses to UVA and FSU.

Miami fan how does it feel when Notre Dame put up 33 last year on those experience Canes, Canes scored 14 points in garbage time. What a joke I'm reading the comment's from this kid and I'm laughing hysterically. And that argument of FSU started the season #5 and finished unranked, yeah and their more than half of their starters are injured. How would the Canes do with 4 freshmen starting in the O-line, putting 2 freshmen runningbacks, freshmen wideout? And thats just on the offensive side of the ball. You like produce? How you like them apples.

This guy is a joke, all he says is Cubans this Cubans that can't even make a valid point. The Miami fan base is made up of Mariel Boat-lift clowns that were kicked out of Cuba. Heck I'm not even Cuban and this child is assuming I'm Cuban. I bet this child is Cuban.

Blacsheep stay in your little Cane message boards, talk to your Canes friends and think about how good of a season Miami will have in 2012 vs Kansas State at Manhattan, vs Notre Dame in Chicago and hosting USF again. Oh and don't go easy on Bethume Cookman, wouldn't want to see the mighty Canes struggle again vs a FCS team.

That's all you got? I was talking about FSU and you keep talking about FIU. Yeah this over. Happy new year blacsheep.

A Canes fan comparing his "mighty" Canes to FIU, blacsheep what low standards you have.

Well, thanks for sharing your thoughts with us,this is an interesting story.

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