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 as we get closer to the season opener, 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. The No. 1 FIU football moment in the 15-year history of the program should come as no surprise. . . .
Motor City Miracle
FIU got off to a slow start against Toledo in its first-ever bowl game at the 2010 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in Detroit. The Panthers trailed 24-7 with less than 10 minutes to play in the third quarter.
At that point was when FIU linebacker Toronto "Little Canada" Smith and receiver T.Y. Hilton got into a discussion on the sideline challenging each other to play "FIU Football" because the Panthers had not been doing so for the first 35 minutes of the game.
Hilton told Smith, "Watch me return the next kick for a touchdown." Sure enough, the Rockets kicked it to Hilton and he went 89 yards for a touchdown to cut the Toledo lead to 24-14.
FIU scored 24 unanswered points in the second half to take a 31-24 lead. However, with 1:14 left in the game the Rockets regained the lead 32-31 setting up "The Motor City Miracle".
On the ensuing possession FIU got to its 41 needing to convert a 4th and 17. What followed was the greatest play in FIU football history: FIU quarterback Wesley Carroll threw a nine-yard pass to Jacob Younger, who made a terrific fingertip catch (photo below). Younger flipped the ball to Hilton, who was running in front of him, and Hilton proceeded to tip-toe the sideline for exactly eight yards to get the first down and keep FIU alive. Three plays later, Jack Griffin drilled a 34-yard field goal as the Panthers stormed on to Ford Field after their 34-32 victory and bowl championship.
FIU FOOTBALL'S TOP 15 MOMENTS
10. Hilton Heave
2. Hilton Weave