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.