CLICK HERE to read the story on FIU's last national championship team.
CLICK HERE to read the story on FIU's last national championship team.
In case you don't follow the NFL or T.Y. Hilton's exploits since he graduated from FIU, here is how T.Y. Goodbye is doing -- he is leading the NFL in receiving.
Hilton currently has 866 receiving yards which leads the NFL, 14 yards more than his childhood friend Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers. CLICK HERE for the complete NFL receiving stats.
Hilton's next game is against the New York Giants on Monday Night Football on ESPN. Leading up to that game, ESPN.com is doing an in-depth feature story on Hilton and his rise to the top of the NFL in receiving. The ESPN reporter, Ashley Fox, who is writing the story spoke to several people that have known Hilton during his time at Miami Springs High and at FIU.
1984 FIU SOCCER NATIONAL CHAMPS TO BE HONORED
At halftime of Saturday's FIU/Rice football game, the 1984 FIU men's soccer team which won the NCAA Division II national championship will be honored on the 30th anniversary of their achievement.
The FIU Sunblazers, that was FIU's nickname back then, defeated Seattle Pacific 1-0. The Sunblazers were 14-4-3 that year coached by Karl Kremser.
Here is the 1984 FIU soccer team photo.
FIU soccer goalie Robin Spiegel attended this morning's FIU football practice to try out for the kicking job. Spiegel is from Wipperfurth, Germany and has never played American football before. Still, Spiegel displayed a very strong leg making field goals from 50 and 56 yards out as well as field goals from shorter distances.
Under the watchful eye of FIU coach Ron Turner, Spiegel also kicked off and got several kickoffs into the end zone and some inside the 5. On his extra points, and short to mid-range field goal attempts (starting at 32 yards out), Spiegel was launching the kicks into the stands above the patio deck in the west end zone.
However, like anyone that has never kicked field goals before, Spiegel does have to work on his technique. He badly missed some kicks, hooking line drives to the left and other times his kicks were straight low line drives that could easily have been blocked. If you recall, FIU's first kicker Adam Moss was a converted soccer player, who kicked plenty of line drive field goals his first season in 2002 before adjusting to a more traditional field goal kicking style his last three years. Moss was so good in his final three seasons at FIU that he earned the nickname, "Automatic" Adam.
Spiegel also has a sort of Fred Flintstone bowling stutter steps right before he kicks, which affects the timing of the field goal snap and hold, but according to Turner it's something that can be worked on. The end result is that Spiegel has something you can't teach and that's a booming leg.
Usually after practice, the Panthers hurry in to get Gatorade, grab a seat in the ice tubs or shower to go to class, but after this morning's practice Spiegel drew a crowd to watch him kick (photo above), especially after his first couple of kicks hit the seats above the patio deck. One FIU player told me about Spiegel's kicking, "it was almost like hearing the sound of the ball off the bat of a baseball player you stop to watch take batting practice." That's what this Panther said the sound of the ball coming off Spiegel's foot sounds like. Another FIU player yelled to Spiegel, "Congratulations, you have the job!"
Turner liked he what he saw from Spiegel, who will need time to work on his technique. The next step is figuring out if and when Spiegel could help the football team based on his soccer schedule. Stay tuned for that.
FIU receiver Rockey Vann earned the No. 5 Conference USA Top Play of the Week for his 40-yard sideline catch in Saturday's game against UAB. CLICK HERE to see the play. Great photo below by Richard Lewis.
FIU takes on UAB for the first time in football on Saturday night at FIU Stadium (7:30 p.m.). So you know what a first time opponent means, another installment of “The Other Game”. You can listen to the game on the FIU Sports Radio Network beginning at 7:25 p.m. I’ll have the call of the game along with guest analyst former FIU quarterback Paul McCall. CLICK HERE to access the FIU football radio broadcast.
FIU kept its 88-game undefeated streak in The Other Game alive last week with a 6-3-1 win over Southern Miss. Will the UAB Blazers be the first team to defeat the Panthers in The Other Game? Let’s welcome our contestants and find out. . . .
FIU vs. UAB – The Other Game
-- FIU’s original nickname was the Sunblazers. UAB are the Blazers, named after a dragon. In a Blazers game of rock, paper, scissors, the sun beats a dragon. FIU 1, UAB 0.
-- FIU’s main rivalry with Florida Atlantic is a battle for the Don Shula Trophy, a wood trophy with half of each team’s helmet on each side and the annual game’s score and MVPs engraved on gold plates. It’s a pretty neat trophy but nothing like “The Bones” trophy (photo below) handed out in UAB’s rivalry with Memphis. The Battle for the Bones (sometimes known as "The Bar-B-Q Bowl") winner gets a traveling 100-pound bronze rack of ribs trophy, known as “The Bones” trophy. FIU 1, UAB 1.
-- UAB started its basketball program in 1978 and has had 31 winning seasons in 34 seasons including memorable wins over Virginia, Kentucky, Louisville, Alabama, Florida, Villanova, Indiana, and Memphis. UAB has also been ranked as high as No. 9 in AP Poll and has made three Sweet 16s and one Elite 8 appearance. FIU’s biggest basketball win was beating Michigan. FIU has advanced to the NCAA Tournament once. UAB 2, FIU 1.
-- UAB’s only bowl game was at the Hawaii Bowl where it lost to Hawaii. Although FIU has not been to Hawaii, the Panthers have been to two bowl games, winning their first postseason appearance in dramatic fashion in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in Detroit. FIU 2, UAB 2.
-- TV sheriffs: UAB linebacker Roscoe Byrd has a similar name to Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane (above left) from the "Dukes of Hazzard". FIU has several players named Taylor like Sheriff Andy Taylor (above right) from the Andy Griffith Show. Andy Taylor got the bad guy more often than Roscoe did. FIU 3, UAB 2.
-- Former mascots: The most beloved UAB mascot was Beauregard T. Rooster which was almost taken to court and sued by the San Diego Chicken. The San Diego Chicken, which is the San Diego Padres mascot, said Beauregard resembled the San Diego Chicken too much so the Chicken threatened legal action if UAB did not make a change to its mascot. Son of a Blazer was FIU’s original mascot and had no potential legal issues and was a lot more interesting than a rooster. FIU 4, UAB 2.
-- Led by alumni super-fan Andrew Robillard, who has not missed a UAB men's home soccer match in 22 seasons, the whole student section sings "God Bless America" in unity. The Hillsborough Times has reported this tradition as one of its "12 College Sports Traditions You Don't Want to Miss." FIU’s soccer tradition would be the “Ole, Ole, Ole” chant. Score one for America. FIU 4, UAB 3.
-- UAB men’s soccer reached the Elite 8 in 1999. FIU men’s soccer has won a national championship and been the Division I runner-up. Score one for FIU. FIU 5, UAB 3.
-- UAB has a rifle program, which is an NCAA sport. FIU does not. FIU 5, UAB 4.
-- UAB’s spirit group website link takes you HERE. Below are the FIU Golden Dazzlers. FIU 6, UAB 4.
Due to tweaking a hamstring, the vertical jump was the lone event Cyprien (No. 7 above) participated in at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
Sports Illustrated ranks Cyprien as the No. 4 safety in the 2013 NFL Draft after the just completed Combine. CLICK HERE.
Defensive end Tourek Williams participated in four events with the defensive linemen on Monday, where he largely finished among the top 20 at the position, which includes both tackles and ends.
Here's what Tourek (No. 97 above) did:
-- 4.92 in the 40-yard dash tied for 19th overall and was the 15th fastest time recorded for defensive linemen.
-- 25 bench press repetitions of 225 pounds tied for 22nd, while the 25 repetitions represented the ninth-most recorded.
-- 33.0 in the vertical jump tied for the 11th best overall, while the figure was actually the seventh-highest jump.
-- 112.0 in the broad jump tied for the 19th overall, and was actually the 11th longest jump recorded.
FIU SOCCER VS. FORT LAUDERDALE STRIKERS
The FIU men's soccer team will play an exhibition match against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers at 7:30 p.m. next Thursday, March 7 at the FIU Soccer Field.
Forward Quentin Albrecht, midfielder Daniel Gonzalez, defenders Anthony Hobbs and Jo Dawkins, and goalkeeper Robin Spiegel have been recognized by Conference USA, earning all-conference honors for the 2012 season. Albrecht was selected to the second team, Dawkins, Hobbs and Gonzalez to the third team and Spiegel and Gonzalez to the all-freshman team. CLICK HERE for more.
College Football Performance Awards honored FIU again when Richard Leonard was named the CFPA National Punt Returner of the Week after his 49-yard punt return for a touchdown against Akron last Saturday.
Kicker Jack Griffin earned CFPA honorable mention as a specialist for his fine work as a kicker and punter in the Akron game. Griffin kicked field goals to tie the score at the end of regulation and win the game in overtime.
Griffin (above right) averaged 40.6 yards on 10 punts against the Zips. On his six kickoffs, only one was returned.
In the season opener, running back Kedrick Rhodes was honored by CFPA for his 245 total yards against Duke.
SOCCER RECEIVES VOTES; SPIEGEL IS C-USA PLAYER OF THE WEEK
The undefeated FIU men's soccer team (5-0-0) is receiving votes in the TopDrawerSoccer.com poll after a weekend sweep of Wisconsin and UIC. The 5-0-0 start is the best for FIU soccer since 1987.
FIU freshman goalkeeper Robin Spiegel was named Conference USA Defensive Player of the Week. Spiegel helped FIU to wins over Wisconsin and UIC. He saved six shots to two goals allowed, improving his season goals against average to 0.61.
The 5-0-0 start keeps the Panthers atop the Conference USA standings, with Marshall (4-0-1) the only other unbeaten team in the conference. FIU leads C-USA in points (37) and assists (17) and is second in shots (72), goals (10) and GAA (.59).
FIU FORWARD QUENTIN ALBRECHT
Before arriving in Miami last year from Frankfurt, Germany, FIU forward Quentin Albrecht had been to the U.S. once, four years ago for two weeks in Boston. So it's safe to say Albrecht encountered somewhat of a culture shock -- an affectionate one. Not that it derailed Albrecht, who led the Panthers in goals last season and is at it again this year scoring four of the five goals for undefeated FIU (3-0) which takes on Wisconsin on Friday in Madison. Albrecht has been cooking on the soccer pitch for FIU and in the kitchen as well where he can whip up an Italian favorite. The Johnny Bravo/Jimmy Neutron look-a-like also has Mark Zuckerberg-like plans for his post-soccer career. . . .Like to go Out of the Cage with Quentin Albrecht.
PP: The difference between Miami and Germany?
QA: The main difference is the heat. I ran for like two weeks just to get used to the heat here in Miami. There are a lot more nationalities here just on my team. In Germany, there were at the most like two other nationalities. I like that about Miami. It’s good to get to know all the cultures. I like going to South Beach. Downtown Miami is interesting, but it’s not the prettiest place in Miami. I like Miami. One of the reasons I came here is because Miami is not in the middle of nowhere and I come from a big city in Germany.
PP: What was the biggest culture shock for you in Miami?
QA: People are quick to say I love you a lot.
PP: In Miami? Are you sure? You sure it wasn’t Miami of Ohio?
QA: They get to love you here in Miami really fast. All the people here say, “Nice to meet you. I love you.” People in Miami are really friendly compared to Germany. They are friendly in Germany, but not personal-friendly.
PP: Why do you think soccer has not caught on in the United States?
QA: That’s an interesting question. In Germany, it’s the biggest thing ever. It’s like football here in America. Every little kid in Germany wants to be a professional soccer player. Soccer is getting better in America and people are more interested in it. They know all over the world it’s a big deal. The U.S. National team is getting better and there is a lot of potential for soccer in the U.S. because this is a huge country.
PP: What was it like for you with the U.S. National team practicing here?
QA: It was good. The coach, Jurgen Klinsmann, talked to us for like 30 minutes. He was very motivating. He talked about how a professional should live and the mentality it takes to play soccer. You have to be mentally strong and it applies to me since I’m a forward. You might think of the missed chances during a game, but if you think of the positive stuff you might get better. Think of how you are going to score the next goal and not how you would miss it.
QA: The first thing I did was Google him. I didn’t know a lot. I knew the last name because of Bruce Arena, his father. Kenny was an MLS player and he was a pretty good player. He’s a young guy whom I really like because he can relate to us, how we feel on the field and what problems we might have besides soccer. When Kenny got here he had individual conversations with each player, which is really good. I like to talk a lot to the coaches.
PP: Before you Googled Kenny, what was the most famous arena you knew? Madison Square Garden?
QA: Allianz Arena (photo above) in Germany where they play soccer.
PP: What’s the best tasting German food?
QA: Wiener Schnitzel, which is breaded veal.
PP: What’s your favorite American food?
QA: I like a nice hamburger from Five Guys.
PP: You need to go to Fuddruckers up the street from Five Guys on SW 107 Ave. Five Guys is like McDonalds compared to Fuddruckers. You have different burgers to choose from at Fuddruckers like Buffalo, Turkey, Elk or Wild Boar.
QA: I like a good burger with mushrooms on top. Not so much the exotic meats.
PP: I heard you are the best cook on the soccer team. What is the best dish that you cook?
QA: Spaghetti bolognese. I use different meats, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, garlic. You need time to cook it properly, about three hours. I learned from my cousin in Germany. We have a lot of Italian restaurants in Germany and I eat a lot of pasta and pizza.
PP: You’re an international business major. What are your plans after you graduate?
QA: I would like to work on an app that has to do with social networking that includes something else. It’s top secret.
PP: You’ve gotten from different people around here that you look like two different cartoon characters: Jimmy Neutron and Johnny Bravo. I going to go with Jimmy Neutron since you have this top secret app you are working on. Which one do you think you look like more?
QA: I don’t know who Johnny Bravo (below right) is so I’ll go with Jimmy Neutron (below left). We have Jimmy Neutron in Germany, but not Johnny Bravo.
With the exception of South Alabama, FIU has the same opponents on the schedule in 2012 therefore "The Other Game" will have just two to three editions this football season on The Prowl. The Duke Blue Devils are one of FIU's regular season opponents this season that also played the Panthers in 2011. However, this version of "The Other Game" is an exception since it is the 2012 season opener. FIU defeated Duke, 7-3 in "The Other Game" last season. Let's see how the Panthers fare this season . . .
FIU vs. DUKE -- The Other Game 2012
-- FIU started as the Sunblazers and later became the Panthers. Duke began as the Trinity Eleven, then became the Blue and White, then changed to the Methodists and eventually the university's student newspaper launched a campaign for a new mascot. The campaign was unsuccessful leading the student newspaper to choose the Blue Devils. FIU got its nickname right a lot quicker than Duke. FIU 1, Duke 0.
-- FIU has hosted and competed in the Don Shula Bowl. Due to possible west coast attacks by the Japanese after Pearl Harbor, Duke hosted and competed in the 1942 Rose Bowl in Durham, North Carolina. It is the only time the Rose Bowl has been played outside of California. The edge to history here. FIU 1, Duke 1.
-- Duke's first NCAA title in any sport came in Division I men's soccer in 1986. FIU also won its first NCAA title in men's soccer (Division II) in 1982 and again in 1984. FIU 2, Duke 1.
-- Movie characters: International Man of Mystery vs. The Duke. Only the first Austin Powers movie was worth watching. John Wayne had many movies worth watching again and again. FIU 2, Duke 2.
-- Battle of Singers: Duke has defensive back Hud Mellencamp (son of John Cougar Mellencamp, no kidding) and defensive end Allen Jackson (first name spelled differently than country singer Alan Jackson). FIU has offensive lineman Prince Matt and linebacker Luis Rosado (Rosado translated in Spanish is "pink"). I'm partial to country music with Jackson and Mellencamp's music over Prince or Pink's music. FIU 3, Duke 3.
-- Duke once had a football coach named Bill Murray. FIU's Green Library supposedly has a ghost haunting the top floor of the building late at night. Bill (right) ain't afraid of no ghost. Duke 4, FIU 3.
-- In 2008, Duke pulled out of a 4-game deal with Louisville, but not before the contract went to court. In court, the judge ruled in favor of Duke, saying "Louisville had to find a suitable replacement and that any Division I team would be the equivalent of Duke or better". Ouch. The judge probably based his ruling on Duke going 13-90 from 1999-2007. FIU will play all four games against Louisville in its current four-year deal that runs through the 2014 season. Duke 4, FIU 4.
-- The last time Duke played in a bowl game was 18 years ago in the 1994 Outback Bowl. The last time FIU played in a bowl game was 8 months ago in the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl. FIU 5, Duke 4.
-- Miami cop movies: Duke has defensive end Michael Mann, who has the same name as the "Miami Vice" producer. FIU has freshman receiver Adrian Jenkins, who could be Will Smith's little brother. Smith starred in "Bad Boys" filmed in Miami. "Bad Boys" was better than "Miami Vice". FIU 6, Duke 4.
Former FIU and current Indianapolis Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton scored his first NFL touchdown Saturday afternoon against the Washington Redskins, who made the mistake of trying to cover T.Y. one-on-one. T.Y.'s score was a 31-yard touchdown pass from Andrew Luck. Thanks to FIUJM for the video.
A good crowd showed up for the 2012 Panther Preview on Friday despite the short notice. The fans got a treat when the entire 2012 FIU football team appeared for the event. In years past, about 15 to 20 players would be at the event, but not this year. Here's a photo of safety Johnathan Cyprien, who spoke to the crowd.
MEN'S SOCCER WINS OPENER
The FIU men's soccer team won its opener against Bryant, 2-0 on Friday night at the FIU Soccer Field. It was also the first win for new Panthers coach Kenny Arena.
For more on the game, CLICK HERE.
The FIU volleyball team dropped its first two matches of the season against Florida and Florida Gulf Coast. You can read details on both matches at FIUSports.com.