Head football coach Butch Davis has done a fantastic job at FIU.
The FIU Golden Panthers have won eight games this season.
Alex McGough has improved at the quarterback position.
McGough passed for 296 yards and three touchdowns and added 108 rushing yards and another score, and FIU beat UMass 63-45 to tie a program record for most wins in a season.
McGough was 20-of-25 passing and rushed it 11 times.
“Every game that this team plays is kind of like building your own history and your knowledge of how to play games,” Davis stated.
The Golden Panthers made a statement historically. Setting a program record with 674 total yards, surpassing 668 at Troy in 2010. The Golden Panthers gained 379 yards on the ground — with six touchdowns — for the third most rushing yards. FIU scored on all seven trips to the red zone to set a program mark for points, topping a 55-point game in 2003.
Also, Bryce Singleton caught six passes for 111 yards and set a freshman record with three TDs.
“He was a terrific athlete when we recruited him he was a Quarterback, a wide receiver and played point guard on the basketball team,” Davis stated. “He is an all-around athlete.”
Now the Golden Panthers are going bowling.
Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl. Arguably the best-named bowl of the year will feature two coaches in their first season at a new school. The Temple Owls needed to win three of its last four to reach a bowl in Geoff Collins’ first season while Davis returned to the sideline and led FIU to a successful campaign. With a win over Temple, FIU can reach nine wins for the first time.
Bad Boy Mowers, headquartered in Batesville, Arkansas, builds some of the most robust and most reliable mowers in the business, according to the bowl website. Gasparilla is about the pirate Jose Gaspar, who robbed merchants in West Florida in the late 18th and early 19th century. Like some modern day pro athletes, Gaspar gave himself a nickname, “Gasparilla”. Since 1904, the city of Tampa has hosted the Gasparilla Pirate Festival where a bunch of people dressed as pirates party, have a parade and a music festival. This year the event is in late January and costs $45-$60 if you are interested.
FIU and Temple will be meeting for the first time. However, there is a rooted connection. Collins was FIU’s defensive coordinator in the 2010 season. Collins led the Golden Panthers reign as the No. 1 defense in the Sun Belt Conference. FIU won the conference championship and later the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl title after defeating Toledo 34-32 on a last-second field goal in Detroit.
The Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl is scheduled on Thursday, Dec. 21 (8 p.m. EST/7 pm. CST). It will be the third bowl trip in Golden Panthers history and the first since 2011 when it also played in the St. Petersburg Bowl (then known as the Beef O’ Brady’s Bowl). The Owls will play its seventh bowl game but has never played in a St. Petersburg bowl game. The Owls first bowl game was at the first-ever Sugar Bowl in 1935; they lost to Tulane.