Too bad that the enmity toward the apathy toward the football team and the enmity toward the athletic department results in scenes like Saturday's Senior Night ceremonies. See my Twitter feed for the photos. Certainly, it gave the football team a sense of how athletes in other sports who work just as hard feel on their Senior Nights, attended by relatively few. Still, seemed kind of sad.
Anyway, good thing Marshall traveled well or the attendance would've been even more embarrassing. Unlike the East Carolina game, the students never really did come in from the tailgates for the giveaway goodies. I'll be interested to see what audited numbers FIU has turned in to the NCAA. Word out of the athletic department is they didn't meet their goals last year, but should this year. That means some company ponied up the bucks to bring FIU up to snuff.
As for the game, Marshall looked like it remembered it saw the video from FIU's win against Southern Mississippi. The Golden Eagles scorched FIU often working against linebacker coverage off play action. Herd quarterback Rakeem Cato and tight end Gator Hoskins beat any two quarterbacks and four tight ends put together on Southern Mississippi's roster. The five runs by Kevin Grooms on the drive to Marshall's first touchdown established a run threat that The Herd exploited throughout the game.
Now, FIU's offense...Turner said after the game they didn't go as conservative as it seemed in the first half. There were some run/pass options, he said, that the defense dictated should be a run. OK, but I saw sets and motion that gave away some early down play calls as a run. It just seemed the play calling confined sophomore E.J. Hilliard to throwing in obvious passing situations. The defense knows it'll be a pass, and Hilliard still doesn't always make decisions quickly enough. To quote The Violent Femmes, add it up. You get seven sacks.
There were plays to be made in the passing game, especially on first or second down. Hilliard missed some throws. Redshirt sophomore T.J. Lowder dropped a couple including one second quarter slant on which he could've run to Kendall for what could've been a score that would've put FIU back in front. But that's happened enough with Lowder to where you have to say that's just who he is right now.
Also, I keep forgetting to ask about these pointless end of first half line plunges that do absolutely nothing other than give Lamarq Caldwell fewer yards than hits.
Big ups to defensive end Denzell Perine for his one-man three-and-out on the first possession of the second half. Perine dropped Marshall running back Essray Taliaferro twice for no gain, then swatted away the third down pass.
Before I get to the postgame blog off Senior Night, let me pull your coat about FIU at the Mizzou Invite.
The team finished fifth in the 11-team field, behind Arkansas, Utah, Missouri and UCal-Davis and ahead of West Virginia, Southern Illinois, Northern Colorado, Nebraska, Saint Louis and Colorado State. That's a good placing, especially finishing only 10 points behind fourth place Cal-Davis.
I don't know if junior Johanna Gustafsdottir minds when I put "JoGus" in a blog headline. I just know it takes up less space than her last name, which I've learned to spell as she's becoming the best swimmer in FIU history, if she isn't already. She's certainly the best backstroker. Gustafsdottir took her second event at the Mizzou Invite, the 200 backstroke, Saturday night in 1:55.74. Senior Sonia Perez Arau, FIU's second best scorer this meet, finished third in 1:57.35 to give her an individual Mr. Owl Tootsie Pop Meet -- a one, a two, a three.
Perez Arau and Gustafsdottir started and anchored, respectively, the fifth place 400 freestyle relay team, which cranked off a 3:22.99, behind only the record 3:21.67 at February's Sun Belt Conference Championships by Gustafsdottir, Klara Andersson, Dani Albright and Marina Ribi. Andersson swam the third leg and Jennifer Alfani saw the second.
In the platform diving, senior Sabrina Beaupre got a fifth. When I talked to her several months ago, Beaupre said she was excited about the switch to Conference USA because C-USA had platform diving.