ST. PETERSBURG, FL - DECEMBER 20: Running back Travon Van #7 of the Marshall Thundering rushes across midfield in the second quarter against the Florida International University Panthers December 20, 2011 in the Beef 'O' Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

Beef O' Brady's Bowl 2011: FIU Golden Panthers Fall To Marshall To Finish Season 8-5

A blocked punt and surprise fourth down call led to ten fourth quarter Marshall points as Florida International fell 20-10 in the St. Petersburg Bowl.

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Florida International Vs. Marshall, 2011 St. Petersburg Bowl: Recap And Score

The Marshall Thundering Herd scored ten fourth quarter points on Tuesday night to edge past the Golden Panthers of Florida International 20-10. The big star of the game was Marshall freshman quarterback and Miami native Rakeem Cato, who was able to throw for two touchdowns in his return to his hometown. Here is Cato's reaction, via The Boston Globe.

‘‘I told Coach, ‘I’m feeling like Tom Brady right now.’ ... I just told him to put it on my back and we’re going to bring it home,’’ the young quarterback said. ‘‘That’s what he did.’’

Marshall coach Doc Holliday gave a lot of credit to his special teams unit and their ability to make the game-changing play on the blocked punt.

‘‘It got ugly at times, but you know what, it was two good defenses,’’ Holliday said. ‘‘FIU has an excellent defense. I think our guys are pretty good, too, so it just came down to who could make a play at the end. If you block a punt, you’ve got a great chance of winning. That’s what we did.’’

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Beef O'Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl: Florida International Falls To Marshall At Tropicana Field

In what could be coach Mario Cristobal's final game at Florida International, the Golden Panthers gave up ten fourth quarter points to fall 20-10 in the Beef O'Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl.

After a go-ahead Marshall field goal, Florida International appeared to be on the move, crossing midfield with a little more than four minutes remaining. Wesley Carroll hit playmaker T.Y. Hilton on a quick slant and it looked as if Hilton would break off a big gain in the seam. But a Marshall defender grabbed Hilton from behind, and his helmet knocked the ball loose and into the Thundering Herd secondary. It was a costly fumble for Hilton, who was the lone bright spot in an anemic offensive night for FIU. Marshall jumped on it at the 40 yard line and took with four minutes remaining and a 13-10 lead.

Trying to burn clock, Marshall, who was just as woeful on offense, converted on a key third and five when Rakeem Cato found B.J. Crawford for 15 yards down the right side. With the Panthers having only one timeout remaining, Marshall was able to run the clock down to 38 seconds and looked all set to punt it on fourth and five. To the surprise of all - including the FIU defense - Doc Holliday went for the jugular and had Cato throw a deep out to Aaron Dobson for his second touchdown of the evening. The 35 yard score iced the game at 20-10.

With so few limited offensive opportunities, it was fitting that a blocked punt and surprise fourth down play led to the win. FIU finishes the season at 8-5, and will now sustain an offseason full of Mario Cristobal coaching rumors.

For more on the FIU Golden Panthers and the 2011 Beef O' Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl, stay tuned to this StoryStream and to SB Nation Tampa Bay.

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Beef O'Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl Score Update: Marshall Takes 13-10 Lead After Blocked Punt

After nearly a half of scoreless football, the Marshall Thundering Herd took a 13-10 lead in the Beef O'Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl. Tyler Warner connected from 39 yards to put the Herd ahead by three. The field goal was set up when Marshall put a full punt block rush on Florida International, and swarmed punter Josh Brisk.

With the punt blocked and the ball bouncing in the red zone, Marshall recovered and appeared to take it in for the go-ahead touchdown. The score, however, was called back after Marshall was flagged for an illegal forward lateral during the recovery and scramble to break the plane. They were also flagged for a 15 yard personal foul, taking the seven points off the board and putting a struggling offense outside the red zone. After another woeful offensive series, and a near fumble, Marshall hung on for dear life and set up the Warner go ahead field goal.

For more on the FIU Golden Panthers and the 2011 Beef O' Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl, stay tuned to this StoryStream and to SB Nation Tampa Bay.

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Beef O'Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl Score Update: Florida International And Marshall Tied 10-10 At Half

The Florida International Golden Panthers and Marshall Thundering Herd are tied 10-10 after two quarters at Tropicana Field. The Panthers pounded the ball on the ground in the first half. A late Marshall touchdown, however, evened it up at 10. Aaron Dobson hauled in the 31 yard touchdown pass from quarterback Rakeem Cato with just 23 seconds remaining in the first half. It was a huge play for the Cato and the Herd passing game, which has 152 yards through the air against the Panthers secondary.

Without explosive playmaker T.Y. Hilton for a period during the second quarter, FIU kept it conservative for much of the first half. Quarterback Wesley Carroll connected on a number of short passes in the first, with 12 completions going for just 83 yards. After adding only three points in the second quarter, the Panther offense looks to get back on track and break the tie in the third.

For more on the FIU Golden Panthers and the 2011 Beef O' Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl, stay tuned to this StoryStream and to SB Nation Tampa Bay.

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Beef O' Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl Score Update: Florida International Leads Marshall 7-3 In After First Quarter

After 15 minutes of play at Tropicana Field, the Florida International Golden Panthers lead Marshall 7-3 in the Beef O'Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl. Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton took it in from two yards to put the Panthers on the board. FIU utilized the explosive Hilton on the ground twice in the first quarter for 16 yards. Hilton also lead the Panthers through the air, with 31 yards on two catches from Wesley Carroll. He was taken out of the game with an apparent leg injury but was getting loose on the sidelines and attempting to get back into the game early in the second quarter.

The touchdown capped an 8 play, 47 yard march that responded to an opening field goal by the Thundering Herd. FIU had success both on the ground and in the air, gaining 96 yards of offense on three drives against Marshall. They look to build on the lead as the St. Petersburg Bowl heads to the second quarter.

For more on the FIU Golden Panthers and the 2011 Beef O' Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl, stay tuned to this StoryStream and to SB Nation Tampa Bay.

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Florida International Vs. Marshall, St. Petersburg Bowl: Time, Location, History And More

The Beef O'Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl will kick off tonight, featuring Florida International and Marshall. Most outlets will favor Florida International to win this game by slightly less than a touchdown, but this should be a pretty good matchup between two evenly matched teams.

Florida International was in a bowl game last year and won, while Marshall has not been in a bowl in a couple of years. Florida International also features a pretty high powered passing attack led by quarterback Wesley Carroll and explosive receiver T.Y Hilton, who has some of the best receiving numbers in the entire Country. If Marshall has any hope of winning this game, they will have to slow down that passing attack to do so.

Game Date/Time: Tuesday, December 20; 8:00pm ET

Location: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, FLA

TV Schedule
ESPN/ESPN3

Radio Schedule
WTEM (980 AM)

Please visit the Beef 'O' Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl website for more details on the game.

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Florida International Vs. Marshall, 2011 St. Petersburg Bowl: Golden Panthers Aim For Second Straight Bowl Win

Tuesday evening, the Florida International Golden Panthers (8-4) take on the Marshall Thundering Herd (6-6) in the Beef 'O' Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl. Kickoff is set for 8 PM on ESPN and ESPN3.com.

The Golden Panthers can make it two straight bowl victories, having won their first in the 2010 Little Caesars Bowl. Jack Griffin kicked the winning field goal as time expired, lifting FIU over the Toledo Rockets.

Marshall, meanwhile, was not bowl-eligible in 2010 due to its 5-7 record. Its last bowl appearance came in 2009, when it held off an Ohio Bobcats rally to win the Little Casears Bowl. Marshall scored the game's first 21 points, but the Bobcats countered with 17 unanswered points bridging the second and third quarters to make the game more interesting.

Golden Panthers quarterback Wesley Carroll ranks No. 3 in the Sun Belt Conference in passing efficiency, with a 134.0 rating. He threw 14 touchdowns to just four interceptions in 2011. T.Y. Hilton remains his favorite target, hauling in 64 receptions for 950 yards and seven touchdowns, ranking No. 4, No. 3, and No. 4 in those categories, respectively.

Marshall recovered nicely after a 1-3 start to the 2011 campaign, winning five of their final eight games to secure bowl eligibility and an invitation to the Beef 'O' Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl. Defensive lineman Vinny Curry earned Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year honors, tallying 72 tackles (33 solo), 21 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, and six forced fumbles. FIU must protect Carroll from him in order to boost its chances of repeating its bowl success from 2010.

At present, the odds favor Florida International over Marshall, according to SB Nation partner OddsShark. Most outlets favor the Golden Panthers by four points.

Please visit the Beef 'O' Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl website for more details on the game.

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Beef O'Brady's Bowl: Tied After Pregame Festivities, Marshall, FIU Will Settle It On The Field

The Beef O'Brady's Bowl already has a hard time getting serious recognition because of it's name, but the game is serious business guys. Take for example the pregame festivites, which the bowl chronicled in a recent press release we received at SB Nation Tampa Bay.

Later in the afternoon the teams met for their first competitions of the week at the main pool deck.  Surrounded by fans from both teams, players from each team competed in a belly-flop contest, hula-hoop contest, talent show and a dance-off.  Each team claimed two wins so the deciding contest will be on the field on Tuesday night at 8:00 pm in the 2011 Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl St. Petersburg.

Contest Winners:
Belly Flop: Brandon Bullock, Marshall
Hula Hoop: Jose Cheeseborough, FIU
Talent Show: Ceedrick Davis, FIU
Dance Off: Isaiah “Jazz” King & Troy Evans, Marshall

So in case you didn't think so before this, the game is for all the marbles. Also, is it any surprise that a guy named "Jazz" won the dance off?

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Beef O' Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl 2011: Florida International Slight Favorite Over Marshall

The Florida International Golden Panthers (8-4, 5-3 Sun Belt), coming off their highest win total ever in a season, will take on the Marshall Thundering Herd (6-6, 5-3 Conference USA) in the 2011 Beef O' Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl on December 20 at 8:00 PM. OddsShark has listed FIU as 4.5 point favorites over Marshall.

This will be FIU's second straight bowl appearance. The Golden Panthers also ended the regular season with the distinction of having the best won-loss record of any of the Florida FCS schools.

FIU is led by the passing of quarterback Wesley Carroll (2,224 yards on the season) and the rushing of Kendrick Rhodes (1,121 rushing yards), as well as a stingy defense that only allowed 19.4 points per game this year. The Golden Panthers are likely to see two quarterbacks line up under center in the game for Marshall, with freshman Rakeem Cato the bigger threat through the air and sophomore A.J. Graham the bigger ground threat.

The two teams will meet up Tuesday, December 20 at 8:00 PM ET at Tropicana Field, with the game being aired on ESPN. This is the fourth year of the St. Petersburg Bowl, and the third time it has been sponsored by Beef O' Brady's.

For more on the FIU Golden Panthers and the 2011 Beef O' Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl, stay tuned to this StoryStream and to SB Nation Tampa Bay.

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FIU Golden Panthers Selected For 2011 Beef O' Brady's Bowl

The FIU Golden Panthers have accepted a bid for their second ever bowl game, to play in the Beef O' Brady's Bowl in St. Petersburg.

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2011 Bowl Predications: FIU One Step Closer To Beef O'Brady Bowl

Believe it or not, the FIU Golden Panthers were one of Florida's most successful college football teams this season. They finished the year 8-4, leaving them with a good enough record to be in consideration for one of the college bowls. And considering that the Beef O'Brady Bowl in St. Petersburg is relatively close by, FIU fans have been keeping their fingers crossed that they can get into it.

According to the group running the Beef O'Brady Bowl, though, they have a few obstacles still to overcome:

"We love all the support FIU fans, BUT, you've got three hurdles to overcome. USF Football, the Pittsburgh Panthers and UConn Huskies would have to lose this week. While possible, and we are watching closely, the BIG EAST Conference has the spot, UNLESS they don't have a bowl eligible team left for the Beef O'Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl. Keep up the enthusiasm as it may come down to Saturday afternoon to see who'll be traveling to St. Petersburg, Florida!" (Miami Herald)

One of those hurdles has been cleared, as the USF Bulls lost a heartbreaker Thursday night to West Virginia. This means that the Bulls are not bowl eligible, and it gives the Golden Panthers a realistic shot at making it to the Beef O'Brady Bowl.

Cincinnati is heavily favored over UConn, but at the same time, Pittsburgh is expected to trounce Syracuse. If only one of these teams wins, it still leaves some hope for FIU; they can always make it to St. Pete if another bowl picks up the final Big East team.

While both possibilities are long shots, both Florida bowls could feature local teams this year, as the Seminoles could possibly end up in the Champs Sports Bowl (Orlando) depending on the outcome of Saturday's games. These decisions will come down to the wire, though, so keep those fingers crossed and your Twitter feed full of the newest updates.

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