Game 295: UTEP @ FIU

The goal is a bowl.

Coach Butch Davis has injected this expectation into the program. A member of the FIU Marching Band pleaded with the team from the stands, “GET ME TO A BOWL!” Coach Davis has lead the team to two bowl games in his two years, and the Panthers have the fever.

UTEP didn’t pose much of a challenge dwelling in the cellar of the conference, and they didn’t draw a packed stadium either. But, the hearty Panther fans that filled a seat almost made the place feel like a local weekend hangout – a welcome atmosphere. On a national level, FIU isn’t going to turn heads yet. After all, the program was conceived in 1999 and born in 2002. It takes time to build a brand. Tonight was a step toward making that happen.

The Miners took an early lead, but Florida International took control for the remainder of the contest. Fight songs and fog machines filled the air with each score. Roary the mascot and the FIU cheerleaders kept the Panther energy pulsating as their team continued to secure a solid lead. 

The 32-17 victory moved FIU closer to a third straight bowl game. We spent most of the day with a fervent flock of FIU faithful who would travel anywhere to see their team play. Bowl games mean something special in college football, and FIU is the newest member to the party.

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