FIU beat Toledo in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl last night 34-32 in a crazy game.
For a game that wasn't built up to be exciting or a good quality game it turned out to be both.
Toledo built a 24-7 in the 3rd quarter. However FIU's most explosive and talented player TY Hilton returned a kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown. Terrance Owens Toledo's QB threw 3 second half interceptions and suddenly FIU was leading Toledo 28-24. After making another stop on defense FIU blocked a Toledo punt setting up a field goal. Toledo needed a touchdown or the game was over and Owens led the Rockets right down the field and scored a touchdown on a 13 yard scramble. Toledo than went for the win opting to go for a two point conversion with the game on the line. Owens hit the Rockets Eric Page (who had a very quiet night) on jerk route.
With a 1:14 left on the clock Toledo squib kicked in order to keep the ball away from Hilton fortunaltley for FIU the ball landed on WR Greg Ellingson's hands who returned the ball around the 46 yard line. After a sack on 3rd down FIU was faced with a 4th and 17 and the game appeared to be over, except FIU ran the hook and lateral. QB Wes Carroll hit Jacob Younger on a quick curl route who lateraled the ball to TY Hilton(of course) who somehow managed to get a first down. After hitting Greg Ellingson on a 20 yard pass FIU was well within field goal range and with 5 seconds left and FIU's first ever bowl win on the line Jack Griffin drilled a 34 yard field goal for the win.
FIU was outplayed earlier in the game hence falling behind 24-7. Infact without Darriet Perry's huge run in the first half theres a very good possibility FIU walks into the locker room at half time with a big ol goose egg on the score board.
Take away the Toledo turnovers and this game is not even close (granted turnovers are apart of the game). If Toledo takes better care of the football especially Owens who as mentioned earlier threw THREE second half picks not to mention Toledo fumbled while driving in the first half, if Toledo took better care of the ball i find it hard to believe that FIU would have been able to win that game.
Still this game proves that FIU is forreal. They finish the season with a 7-6 record. They have beaten quality opponets in Troy, and now Toledo and played both Rutgers and Texas A&M very tough losing both those games by a total of 12 points. FIU is going to start to be relevant in D1 football and this victory is the start and proof.
Maybe the Sun Belt isn't the worst conference in Division I football? The Sun Belt is now 2-0 against the MAC in bowl games not to mention Troy destroyed Ohio university.
Greg Ellingson is clutch. His kick return and catch prove my point. Ellingson scooped up the kick and took off without hesitation and put FIU near midfield. Then Ellingson was able to come down with tough pass from Carroll setting up FIU's game winning field goal.
Look out for Adonis Thomas next year...
FIU will repeat as Sun Belt Champions next season.