Who: FAU Owls vs FIU Panthers
When: Thursday, October 2, 7:00 PM EST
Where: Miami, FL
Television: Fox Sports Network
Series: 9-3 FAU
Florida International University and Florida Atlantic University are only separated by one county and 56.2 miles. The two schools in such a short proximity have definitely produced some memorable match-ups and I discussed a few of the best ones here. If you're looking for a few key points for both teams, I also touched on those here.
This rivalry transcends normalcy for your typical college football trophy game. So for Shula Bowl XIII, I decided to switch things up a bit and interview, well, myself. I figured, who else at Underdog Dynasty has seen enough of these teams to speak about them for our readers? Well, things got a little dicey after a few Lagunitas. So with that said, check out what "Esteban" and myself had to say about South Florida's biggest rivalry.
Esteban: Oye bird-brain. Long time, no talk. I'm glad to see you haven't returned any of my mensajes since last season. A lot of things have happened since November and oh, did I mention we've already doubled up on our wins from last year?
Steven: Wow, that's great. From one win to two. I'm sure Pete Garcia is already giving himself another raise because of that one. I will give you credit for beating UAB, though. They actually look like a real football team this year and so do you guys.
Esteban: Gracias, mi socio. Things are definitely looking up this year. We can catch up on everything else later, but let's get to the game. Now, I know FAU likes to score. 110 points in the last three games is nice, but bro, FIU's defense has been tearing it up like Liv on Sundays. Michael Wakefield has already forced two fumbles this year and Demarkus Perkins and Anthony Wint have combined for 62 tackles. These guys bring the noise and oh, did I mention that they forced 6 turnovers against UAB?
Steven: Wow, that's not bad. I wonder how those stats look if you take out the two games against FCS opponents?
Esteban: Mira, the fans don't make the schedule. Three forced fumbles against Wagner is still three forced fumbles. Anyways, these guys have already faced two solid offenses in Pittsburgh and Louisville. How does FAU stack up to those offenses and is Jaquez Johnson really all that good?
Steven: Quez? Yeah, he's that good. Between William Dukes, Jenson Stoshak and Lucky Whitehead, Richard Leonard and the FIU secondary should have their work cut out for them on Thursday night. Johnson has already thrown for 773 yards, 7 touchdowns and no interceptions in three and a half games and his performance this year has been the complete opposite of last season's run-based focus. Offensive coordinator Brian Wright will have the Owls moving between a slow-tempo attack to a hurry-up no-huddle scheme on every drive. I see that FIU has finally decided to stick with one QB. So tell me more about this Alex McGough kid.
Esteban: Alex McGough aka "el niñito" is a true freshman phenom that has finally started to settle in to his new starting role. Between him y el otro bebe, Alex Gardner, FIU has a bright future under the Miami lights. They lead an offense, along with Jonnu Smith and Glenn Coleman, that is finally starting to establish an identity. The one thing they know how to do is take advantage of all of these turnovers. 60 points off turnovers and we just finished September! Coño, that gets me excited!
Steven: Alright, alright, alright. We get it. FIU tries to get the ball back on every play. Cool. Just a reminder, FAU has still won 9 Shula Bowls. I don't know how easy number 10 will come, but what are your predictions for the game?
Esteban: Well, the history of this game tends to repeat itself. The biggest playmakers make the biggest plays and their team leaves with the trophy. Because of that, I think FIU has the most dynamic guy on the field in Richard Leonard. I see him taking a kick back over the Turnpike for a quick 6 and the Panthers win, 24-17.
Steven: Interesting. I believe your playmaker argument as well, but I have to say that Lucky Whitehead is actually the most explosive player between the two teams. The Owls will jet sweep all night long and Lucky scores the final touchdown of the night. Florida Atlantic escapes my least favorite part of Miami with a 27-10 victory.
Esteban Gonzalez is a fictional character that went to Miami-Dade College for two years, before graduating from FIU with a bachelor's degree in Exercise Science. He currently resides in Brickell and you can find him roaming the Wynwood Walls on the weekends. Esteban enjoys FIU football, Sarussi's subs, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and that one episode of "Louie" where he goes to South Beach.