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2008 FIU Golden Panthers Season

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Feb 8, 2009


2008 FIU Golden Panthers Season, Game Recaps, Scores and Reviews

2008 FIU Golden Panthers

Nov. 29
Florida Atlantic 57 … FIU 50 OT
A wild fourth quarter finished with Rusty Smith hitting Cortez Gent for a nine-yard touchdown in overtime to give FAU the lead, and FIU couldn’t do anything with its possession with a fourth down sack ending the game. Smith threw five touchdown passes on the day, with three to Gent, and threw two in the final 2:08 just to force overtime with an eight-yard pass to Gent followed up by an 11-yarder to Jamari Grant with just 18 seconds to play. Paul McCall threw for 400 yards and four touchdowns for FIU, but he also threw one interception, which Corey Small returned 25 yards for a score in the fourth. T.Y Hilton had a huge day for the Golden Panthers catching touchdown passes from 34 and 60 yards while running in a six-yard touchdown in the second. The two teams combined fro 1,037 yards of total offense.
Player of the game: Florida Atlantic QB Rusty Smith completed 25-of-40 passes for 389 yards and five touchdowns with an interception
Stat Leaders: FIU - Passing: Paul McCall, 27-48, 400 yds, 4 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Darriet Perry, 16-115, 2 TD. Receiving: Greg Ellingson, 7-138, 1 TD
Florida Atlantic - Passing: Rusty Smith, 25-40, 389 yds, 5 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Charles Pierre, 14-63, 1 TD. Receiving: Cortez Gent, 7-108, 3 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... FIU might have lost to FAU, and the 4-7 record and four losses in the last five games might not be great, but the light has turned on for the Mario Cristobal era. Now, the team has offensive playmakers to work around. Paul McCall is the quarterback to build around for next year, while T.Y. Hilton and Greg Ellingson are exciting young targets for McCall to work with. The key now is to blast a bad Western Kentucky team in the finale. A loss would be a major setback after so many great strides were made.

- 2008 FIU Preview
- 2007 FIU Season

2008 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2-10
2008 Record:
4-7

Aug. 30 at Kansas L 40-10
Sept. 6 at Iowa L 42-0
Sept. 13 OPEN DATE
Sept. 20 South Florida L 17-9
Sept. 27 at Toledo W 35-16
Oct. 4 at North Texas W 42-10
Oct. 11 Middle Tenn. W 31-21
Oct. 18 at Troy L 33-23
Oct. 25 OPEN DATE
Nov. 1 at UL Lafayette L 49-20
Nov. 8 Arkansas State W 22-21
Nov. 15 OPEN DATE
Nov. 22 at FAU L 57-50 OT
Nov. 29 UL Monroe L 31-27
Dec. 6 Western Kentucky

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
1-11
2007 Record: 1-
11

Sept. 1 at Penn State L 59-0
Sept. 8 Maryland L 26-10
Sept. 15 at Miami L 23-9
Sept. 22 at Kansas L 55-3
Sept. 29 at Middle Tenn L 47-6
Oct. 6 Troy L 34-16
Oct. 20 at UL Monroe L 28-14
Oct. 27 at Arkansas L 58-10
Nov. 3 at Arkansas St L 27-24
Nov. 17 UL Lafayette L 38-28
Nov. 24
Florida Atlantic L 55-23
Dec. 1 North Texas W 38-19

Nov. 22
UL Monroe 31 ... FIU 27
Kinsmon Lancaster threw two touchdown passes and ran for a 16-yard score on the way to a 28-10 ULM lead, and the defense was able to hang on late. FIU mounted a comeback with a two-yard Julian Reams touchdown run and a 23-yard Dustin Rivest field goal in the fourth quarter, but the Warhawks came through with three sacks on the final FIU drive to snuff out the final threat. FIU outgained ULM 363 yards to 329.
Player of the game: ULM LB Cardia Jackson made 13 tackles and a sack
Stat Leaders: FIU - Passing: Paul McCall, 18-31, 239 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Julian Reams, 21-122, 1 TD. Receiving: T.Y. Hilton, 8-93, 1 TD
ULM - Passing: Kinsmon Lancaster, 14-25, 156 yds, 2 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Frank Goodin 23-93, 1 TD. Receiving: Kenneth Zacharie, 5-59, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... FIU did a great job of coming back against ULM to make it close in the second half, with Paul McCall connecting on two touchdown passes, including a 55-yarder to T.Y. Hilton, but it wasn’t enough. The pass protection died on the final drive, and 10 penalties turned out to be a problem. The team is still playing far better than last year, and at the beginning of the season, but it still needs more seasoning to win a game like this. There’s one more chance to make a statement this year; a win over Florida Atlantic would be big to spoil the Owls’ year.

Nov. 8
FIU 22 … Arkansas State 21
WR T.Y. Hilton dropped the ball on a trick play, picked it up, and delivered a strike to Junior Mertile for a 38-yard touchdown with just over two minutes to play with the extra point giving FIU the win. Arkansas State mobbed to midfield in the final moments, but Corey Leonard was picked off by Franklin Brown to seal the win for the Golden Panthers. Leonard had connected with Vernon Catlin for an 18-yard touchdown in the third quarter and he ran for a one-yard score, but FIU PK Dustin Rivest kept it close with five field goals from 43, 32, 43, 35, and 37 yards away. The two teams combined for 18 penalties.
Player of the game: Florida International WR T.Y. Hilton caught six passes for 199 yards and completed one pass for 38 yards and a score.
Stat Leaders: Arkansas State - Passing: Corey Leonard, 13-26, 149 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Reggie Arnold, 22-113. Receiving: David Johnson, 3-45
FIU - Passing: Paul McCall, 15-33, 321 yds
Rushing: Julian Reams, 13-25. Receiving: T.Y. Hilton, 6-199
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... FIU threw for a ton of yards against Arkansas State, Paul McCall had a good game, but there were all field goals instead of touchdowns until the final throw from T.Y. Hilton off a trick play. After losing the last two games, the Golden Panthers showed they could play with one of the better teams in the Sun Belt, and now it’s time to dream of a winning season. The defense is playing just well enough, and McCall is playing strong enough, to beat Florida Atlantic, UL Monroe, and Western Kentucky.  

Nov. 1
UL Lafayette 49 … FIU 20
FIU jumped out to a 14-7 first quarter lead as T.Y. Hilton returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown and Julian Reams ran for a one-yard score, and then it was all ULL with a 42-point run highlighted by three short touchdown runs from Tyrell Fenroy and a 22-yard fumble return for a score from Gerren Blount. The two teams combined for 20 penalties.
Player of the game: UL Lafayette RB Tyrell Fenroy ran 22 times for 81 yards and three touchdowns, and he caught three passes for 16 yards.
Stat Leaders: FIU - Passing: Paul McCall, 9-21, 85 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Julian Reams, 11-70, 1 TD. Receiving: T.Y. Hilton, 4-96
UL Lafayette - Passing: Michael Desormeaux, 13-19, 216 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Tyrell Fenroy, 22-81, 3 TD. Receiving: Louis Lee, 3-46
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... FIU is playing well, at least better than it had over the last few years, but it’s not equipped to keep up in shootouts. Once the ULL game got out of hand, the Golden Panthers just didn’t have the ability to mount any sort of a fight in the second half. The biggest overall issue was the penalties, committing 13 for 112 yards. That, along with three turnovers, contributed to the blowout. Next up is Arkansas State before an off week, and with easy games against UL Monroe and Western Kentucky down the road, a winning season is still possible.

Oct. 18
Troy 33 … Florida International 23
Troy got out to a quick 13-0 lead on a 15-yard Cornelius Williams catch and an 86-yard touchdown play from Jerrel Jernigan. Levi Brown, playing for Jamie Hampton, finished with 253 yards, while Jernigan did a little of everything as the team’s leading rusher and receiver; he also threw a two-yard touchdown pass to Justin Bray. FIU stayed close on two Paul McCall touchdown passes and a one-yard Daunte Owens scoring run, but never grabbed the lead. The two teams combined for 21 penalties for 144 yards.
Player of the game: Troy RB Jerrel Jernigan ran 10 times for 88 yards and caught five passes for 131 yards and a touchdown and threw a touchdown pass.
Stat Leaders: FIU - Passing: Paul McCall, 22-33, 266 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Daunte Owens, 14-69, 1 TD. Receiving: T.Y. Hilton, 6-116
Troy - Passing: Levi Brown, 18-28, 253 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Jerrel Jernigan, 10-88. Receiving: Jerrel Jernigan, 5-131, 1 TD

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... FIU could never get over the hump against Troy. 10 penalties and three turnovers proved to be too costly. The offense was able to move the ball a bit with Paul McCall having another good game, and T.Y. Hinton giving the Trojans problems. While this was a disappointing loss that likely ended Sun Belt title hopes, it’s a major plus that the team was even considering winning a game against a team as good as Troy. No one could’ve seen this coming a few weeks ago.

Oct. 11
FIU 31 … Middle Tennessee 21
FIU came up with a school-record third straight win Paul McCall ran for a nine-yard touchdown and threw a 63-yard touchdown pass to T.Y. Hilton on the way to the easy win. The defense got into the act with three interceptions including a pick six from 27 yards out from Anthony Gaitor to all but put the game away. Middle Tennessee got two three-yard touchdown runs from Phillip Tanner.
Player of the game: FIU DB Anthony Gaitor picked off two passes and took one for a score
Stat Leaders: Middle Tennessee - Passing: Dwight Dasher, 7-15, 47 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Phillip Tanner, 18-97, 2 TD. Receiving: Patrick Honeycutt, 5-20
FIU - Passing: Paul McCall, 13-29, 223 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Paul McCall, 9-53, 1 TD. Receiving: Junior Mertile, 4-41
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Break up the Golden Panthers. With three straight wins and a good game from the secondary against Middle Tennessee, all of a sudden a run for the Sun Belt title doesn’t seem so far-fetched. The offense is still too spotty and Paul McCall has to be far more accurate throwing it, but the team is playing night-and-day better than it did just a few short weeks ago. The defense has been excellent holding Middle Tennessee to 243 yards.

Oct. 4
FIU 42 … North Texas 10
FIU jumped out to a 28-0 first half lead and was up 35-0 on an eight-yard Eric Kirchenberg touchdown catch. Paul McCall threw four touchdown passes including two to T.Y. Hilton from 65 and 73 yards out, and A’Mod Ned ran for a 26-yard touchdown. The special teams got in the act as Alonzo Phillips returned a blocked punt 11 yards for a score in the first quarter. North Texas finally got on the board with a 28-yard field goal in the third, but it didn’t get into the end zone until the final minute on a one-yard Micah Mosley run.
Player of the game: FIU RB Paul McCall completed 11-of-19 passes for 234 yards and four touchdowns
Stat Leaders: North Texas - Passing: Giovanni Vizza, 34-46, 274 yds, 3 INT
Rushing:
Lance Dunbar, 9-48. Receiving: Casey Fitzgerald, 10-120
FIU
- Passing: Paul McCall, 11-19, 234 yds, 4 TD
Rushing:
A’mod Ned, 12-56, 1 TD. Receiving: T.Y. Hilton, 3-145, 2 TD

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Two in a row?! All of a sudden, the FIU offense has started to work helped by the play of Paul McCall. He’s making good decisions, is accurate, and is coming up with the big play. The win over North Texas wasn’t just a decent road win, it was an easy blowout. Now comes the real test to see how real this all is. Middle Tennessee is a good team with a decent defense, but if FIU plays like it did against UNT, and if there’s the right offensive balance, 2-0 in Sun Belt play is possible.

Sept. 27
FIU 35 … Toledo 16
Toledo appeared to be on its way to an easy with a 13-0 first quarter lead highlighted by a 31-yard Stephen Williams touchdown, but FIU got the running game going with Julian Reams running for three short scores and got a 37-yard T.Y. Hilton touchdown catch to outscore the Rockets 35-3 over the final three quarters. The Toledo running game was stuffed, gaining just 94 yards.
Player of the game: FIU RB Julian Reams ran 19 times for 75 yards and three touchdowns  
Stat Leaders: FIU - Passing: Paul McCall, 6-13, 98 yds, 1 TD
Rushing:
Julian Reams, 19-75, 3 TD. Receiving: T.Y. Hilton, 2-39, 1 TD
Toledo
- Passing: Aaron Opelt, 26-45, 177 yds, 1 INT
Rushing:
Morgan Williams, 25-98. Receiving: Nick Moore, 9-65
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... FIU’s win over Toledo could be hailed as the biggest in the program’s history. The passing game didn’t work, the running game only gained 141 yards, and the Golden Panthers were outgained 302 yards to 239, but the defense was dominant after a rough first quarter. Now it’s on to a winnable game at North Texas for the chance at a two-game winning streak and the beginnings of the turnaround. This is the type of win that could be the springboard for the Mario Cristobal era.

Sept. 20
South Florida 17 … Florida International 9
South Florida got out to a 17-0 lead and then held on as FIU came up with a tackle of RB Mike Ford in the end zone for a safety and then got its first offensive touchdown of the year on a one-yard Julian Reams run with less than a minute to play. USF recovered the onside kick and survived. The Bulls started off the scoring with two short Ford runs and a 20-yard Maikon Bonani field goal, but the offense struggled to close. The bigger scare came when Bull LB Brouce Mompremier suffered a neck injury and was airlifted to a hospital, but he regained feeling in his hands and feet and is expected to be fine.  
Player of the game:
South Florida DE George Selvie made five tackles, a sack and two tackles for loss.
Stat Leaders: USF
- Passing: Matt Grothe, 14-22, 136 yds
Rushing: Jamar Taylor, 12-56. Receiving: A.J. Love, 3-56
FIU
- Passing: Wayne Younger, 3-8, 71 yds
Rushing: Julian Reams, 12-30, 1 TD. Receiving: Greg Ellison, 3-21
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Yippee, the team got an offensive touchdown. The Golden Panthers had their moments late against South Florida, and although the offense only gained 189 yards, ten penalties, no running game, and spotty pass protection kept FIU from pulling off the shocker. Finding anything to rely on offensively continues to be an issue. It has been two years and there’s nothing that’s working, and now comes a date against a Toledo team that can put points on the board in a hurry.

Sept. 6
Iowa 42 ... FIU 0
Iowa cranked out 35 first half points highlighted by a 59-yard touchdown catch from Derrell Johnson-Koulianos on one of three scoring passes thrown by Ricky Stanzi. Colin Sandeman caught touchdown passes from eight and 23 yards out for the final two Hawkeye scores. FIU managed just 218 yards of total offense and was outgained 241 yards to 56 on the ground.
Player of the game:
Iowa DE Karl Klug made nine tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble
Stat Leaders: FIU - Passing: Wayne Younger, 11-20, 107 yds
Rushing: Julian Reams, 5-24. Receiving: Marquis Rolle, 5-39
Iowa - Passing: Ricky Stanzi, 8-10, 162 yds, 3 TD
Rushing: Shonne Green, 13-130, 1 TD. Receiving: Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, 3-90, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The Iowa loss was ugly, as expected, but the continuing problem is the lack of improvement offensively. Wayne Younger completed some passes, but he didn't get the offense moving and there wasn't any running game to help the cause. The O line struggled, giving up six sacks and getting little push for the running game. With a week off before dealing with South Florida, the Golden Panthers have to find some way to crank out longer drives to give the defense a break.

Aug. 30
Kansas 40 ... FIU 10
Kansas scored the first 24 points of the game highlighted by a 75-yard punt return for a score from Daymond Patterson and an eight-yard Dezmon Briscoe touchdown grab. FIU finally got on the board with a  74-yard T.Y. Hilton punt return for a score, but KU was never threatened. Briscoe finished with three scoring grabs, and Alonso Rojas hit field goals from 47 and 37 yards out. KU held on to the ball for 37:49.
Player of the game: Kansas WR Dezmon Briscoe caught nine passes for 55 yards and three touchdowns and ran once for five yards.
Stat Leaders: FIU - Passing: Paul McCall, 10-28, 73 yds, 2 INT
Rushing: A'mod Ned, 12-42. Receiving: Jeremy Dickens, 2-21
Kansas - Passing: Todd Reesing, 37-52, 256 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Angus Quigley, 6-47. Receiving: Kerry Meier, 9-62
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
The early schedule is brutal, but the offense has to come up with something it can do right. Unlike last year when nothing worked, FIU needs to come up with a way to convert a third down on a regular basis. It couldn't do much against Kansas, and it'll struggle against Iowa and South Florida, and with the problems on defense, time of possession will be important. FIU only had the ball for 22:11 against KU.

2008 Recruiting Class

Star of the Class

James Jones 6-1 230 DE Lakeland, Fla. Lake Gibson HS
FSWA 5A First Team All-State pick and the Lakeland Ledger Polk County Defensive Player of the Year as a senior...recorded 7.5 sacks in nine games as a senior, despite being double-teamed most of the season...had 98 tackles, 12 sacks and two fumble recoveries as a junior...registered 67 tackles and six sacks as a sophomore...recruited by South Florida


Potential Instant Impact Players

Cedric Mack 6-4 320 OT Miami, Fla. El Camino Junior College (Calif.)
Massive offensive tackle who was a JC Gridwire Honorable Mention All-American...2007 and 2006 All-Mission Conference First Team...started 24 games in his two years at El Camino...Rivals.com 3-start prospect...attended Miami Palmetto High School...recruited by Southern Miss, Washington State, Arizona, Kansas State, Kentucky, Oregon State and South Florida.

Marcelus Manear 5-11 180 S Fort Washington, Md. Milford Prep (N.Y.)

Played the 2007 season at Milford Prep Academy for head coach Bill Chaplick in New Berlin, N.Y...recorded 55 tackles, eight sacks and two interceptions to help the team to an 11-1 record and the 2007 Prep School National Championship...three-time player of the week...an Honorable Mention All-State selection his junior year as a receiver...rated a Scout.com three-star recruit... recruited by Iowa, Iowa State, Toledo and Buffalo

Rest of the Class

Stephen Bailey

6-6

265

OL

American Heritage (Delray Beach)

Franklin Brown

6-2

190

S

Booker T. Washington

Chris Charles

5-10

170

DB

Coral Springs Charter

Derrick Clark

6-1

185

DB

Apopka

Troy Dannehower

6-1

220

QB

Seabreeze

Aaron Davis

6-0

240

LB

Bartow

Winston Fraser

6-2

225

LB

Booker T. Washington

Chuck Grace

5-10

185

S

Hillsborough

A.J. Grant

6-0

220

LB

Sandalwood

Joey Harris

6-3

230

TE

Chiefland

T.Y. Hilton

5-10

175

WR

Miami Springs

Johnathan Jackson

6-3

235

DE

Booker T. Washington

James Jones

6-1

230

DE

Lake Gibson

Cedric Mack

6-4

320

OL

Miami Palmetto/El Camino JC

Marcelus Manear

5-11

180

S

Milford Prep (N.Y.)

Junior Mertile

6-0

180

WR

North Miami

Darriet Perry

5-9

195

RB

Lowndes

Andre Pound

6-3

280

OL

Sebastian River

Jercorey Quarterman

6-2

185

S

Parkway Academy

Kasey Smith

6-3

245

DT

Seabreeze

Emmanuel Souarin

5-11

180

DB

Norland

Kenneth White

6-3

250

OT

Norland

Kambriel Willis

6-0

215

DE

Booker T. Washington

Donnell Wilson

6-0

265

DT

Golden Gate

Naples

2008 Recap

Recap:
In his first season at Florida International, rookie head coach Mario Cristobal found out that the challenge at hand was every bit as daunting as he anticipated.  The Panthers sported the nation’s lowest scoring offense and one of its worst defenses, losing by an average score of 39-15 last fall.  The silver lining in Miami, however, is that FIU played its best football in November, even beating North Texas in the finale to halt a 23-game losing streak.

Offensive Player of the Year:
QB Wayne Younger

Defensive Player of the Year: CB Lionell Singleton

Biggest Surprise: The Panthers’ upset of North Texas on Dec. 1 was their first victory since the end of the 2005 season, cause for an exhale and quite a celebration from the players.  In his first start behind center, Paul McCall picked apart the Mean Green D for 228 yards and three scores in a 38-19 rout.    

Biggest Disappointment: Had the Panthers’ kick coverage team been a little tighter, the losing streak might have ended a month earlier.  Florida International tied Arkansas State with 48 seconds left, but allowed a 60-yard return on the ensuing kick, putting the Indians within range for Josh Arauco to kick the game-winner with two ticks on the clock.

Looking Ahead: Obviously, the Panthers have a long way to go before being competitive in the Sun Belt Conference.  It’ll help having a couple of young quarterbacks to build around, as Younger and McCall have both shown a knack for making plays in this league.

 

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