In another Throw It All Against The Wall promotional move, the athletic department is making this week's game with Marshall the "FIU Football and Thanksgiving Grab and Panther Payday/Salute to First Responders."
Phew. Need a breath and a drink of water after that title.
It's another giveaway night for students, similar to the one that packed every break in the fourth quarter of the East Carolina game, down to the stuff being dangled to lure students in from the tailgate: four scholarships; vouchers for textbooks or Panther Dining; $50 Cadillac Ranch gift cards; vouchers for a 50-inch flat screen TV, iPad, iPod shuffle and an iTunes gift card.
And, students who don't win, well, you've been raised in the "We're all winners!" era. So, after the game, the raffle ticket can be turned in for an envelope with McDonald's coupons and FIU Gift Cards. Obviously, they want the student crowd to hang around for the entirety of the game (and television telecast).
Oh, and they want the kids to bring some friends. Students get two guest tickets for free.
Because you can't go wrong these days giving it up for the military, cops or firemen -- unless you misuse "Born in the USA" as all too many still do, including the Dolphins every home game -- first responders showing up with a work ID or in uniform get free admission.
I asked Turner today is it frustrating to get the performances of the last two weeks after seeming to take a step forward against East Carolina, the best team in Conference USA not named Marshall. That launched him on a sudden soliloquy.
"The frustrating part is not so much how we're playing it's just that...our guys are giving everything they've got. I looked at the film on the plane coming back from UTEP and I looked again on Sunday morning. I was looking more for effort than technique, assignments, that kind of stuff...
"I didn't see a lack of effort. I didn't see guys not trying. I didn't see guys not competing. If you see that, then you have no chance. I saw guys battling their asses off. I saw guys competing. We traveled with 25 defensive players. I'm not making excuses, I'm telling you fact. We're allowed to take 70 guys (as an entire team). We haven't taken 70 guys on a trip this year because we don't have 70 guys who are ready to play. So we traveled with 25 defensive players. That's barely over two deep. We traveled with six defensive linemen for four positions."
Those would be Greg Hickman, playing on a very bad ankle since the third game; Isame Faciane; Leonard Washington; Darrian Dyson; Denzell Perine; and Michael Wakefield.
"Those guys are playing way too many plays. Way too many plays. This team came out and ran the ball 55 times. That was smart of them. They knew we had six defensive linemen. We tried to roll them as best we could. We had to move (Hickman) inside to outside back to inside, move guys around. Those guys are warriors and they're giving us everything they've got. (Middle linebacker Markeith Russell) is giving us everything he's got. And playing way too many plays. We just don't have the depth. We don't have the bodies.
"If it was lack of effort, then I'd say we've got major, major problems. As long as we continue to give effort, it is what it is. We're going to continue to go out to play as hard as we can play and I can live with that.
"It's not easy when you're having the scores we're having, having the record we have and to keep coming out here every day and competing and playing and they're doing it."
Turner complimented seniors like Faciane and Hickman for not shutting it down with potential NFL careers ahead of them. In talking to Hickman for a story later this week, he admitted had he not been a senior, he would've sat for a few games to give the ankle time to heal. But, he figures he doesn't have much time left at FIU so he should play every snap possible.