FIU football turns 15 years old when the 2016 season kicks off against Indiana on September 1. In their short history the Panthers have had some memorable moments -- most of them in wins but some in losses as well. To commemorate the 15 years of FIU football, from now until FIU opens camp in early August I'll count down the Top 15 moments in FIU football history.
Having covered FIU football since its first game in August 2002 when I worked for the local newspaper, the following countdown is what I believe are the Top 15 moments. Of course, you may disagree so feel free to let me know what you think in the comments section. Let's get to No. 15:
RASHOD RUNS FOR 262
Standing 5-9 and generously listed at 191 pounds, FIU running back Rashod Smith wasn't exactly the most imposing ballcarrier, but once Smith hit a hole not too many could catch him. The Jacksonville Dolphins learned that on Halloween night in 2002 during FIU's inaugural season.
At old FIU Stadium, Smith torched Jacksonville for 262 rushing yards and two touchdowns in a 39-6 FIU win. The 262-yard rushing performance is still an FIU single-game rushing record. In fact, Smith owns two of the three 200+yard rushing games in FIU history. Smith ran for 230 yards against New Mexico State in 2004, which is the second highest total in program history. Ben West has the other 200+yard rushing game for FIU. West ran for 214 yards against Florida A&M in 2005. Smith fell one yard shy of having three 200+yard rushing games when he ran for 199 yards against Stephen F. Austin in 2004.
Playing in a torrential downpour that Halloween night, the Panthers fell behind early 6-3 before scoring 36 unanswered points. Smith had touchdown runs of 9 and 89 yards in the game. The lasting image in that game for me was Smith's 89-yard touchdown run. It was raining so hard that the artificial surface at old FIU Stadium had water bubbles emerging all over the field. During his 89-yard TD run Smith was popping the water bubbles on the artificial turf as he ran past the Dolphins defense. The game aired live that night on Sun Sports TV and that run made for great television.
Smith is still FIU's career rushing leader with 2,195 yards, although that record could fall this season because current FIU junior running back Alex Gardner (1,342 yards) is 853 yards away from tying Smith.
Next on the Top 15 countdown: FIU takes down a Heisman Trophy candidate