GAME #61
Wednesday, October 11, 2023

UTEP Miners: 1-5
@ Florida International Panthers: 3-3


Riccardo Silva Stadium
Miami, Florida

Trip Dates 10/11/2023 – 10/11/2023
School Florida International University
Visiting Team UTEP Miners
Pre-game Record: 1-5
Home Team Florida International Panthers
Pre-game Record: 3-3
Game Time (ET) 7:30 PM Eastern
Weather 83 & Sunny 
Attendees Jarrett & Al 
Jarrett’s Pick Florida International Panthers
(39 and 21 record)
Al’s Pick UTEP Miners
(36 and 24 record)
Attendance 14,872 (not a chance)
Capacity 20,000
Length of Game 3:24
Seat Location 50 Yard Line, Row 16
Miles Traveled 205
Photo Album Click here for the FIU Photo Album


I am very pleased to report that the travel part of this trip report is going to be very brief, at least for me. Florida International is in Miami and I now reside in south Florida. So all I had to do was pick up Al at the Palm Beach airport and drive to Miami. Granted it is a bit less than a 90 minute drive, but still, easy for me. Al can feel free to add any annoying travel details he would like. My only complaint was the driving rain storm I had to drive through for about 3 minutes, because that’s how rainstorms in Florida typically work (this is called foreshadowing).

Florida International University
Let me just say that the parking at FIU sucks and is highly confusing. After we finally found a spot, the signage on how to pay and what to do left us both perplexed. Two somewhat educated and fairly street smart individuals wanted to pay for parking but found the signs contradictory. We ended up just paying at the pay machine as opposed to the app, but since it was a game day, I’m not sure that was the right decision based on one of the signs. Ok, $3 to FIU. Better signs, it may have been more.

We walked directly to the student union for some lunch. The FIU student union had a few options including a Chili’s which is what we opted for. Not sure that I have seen a Chili’s in a student union before and I am not sure this was a good thing. It was exactly what you would expect from a student union Chili’s, an upgrade from the fast food options that were just outside, but not a place you want to make a habit out of eating at, but then again are there any Chili’s that you want to make a habit out of eating at? There goes our Chili’s sponsorship.

We then headed to the bookstore, where I was able to obtain my typical shot glass.  I was not fond of any of the t-shirt options so I just stuck with the shot glass. Al found his typical Al shirt, and we then moved on for a walking tour of the FIU campus.


We were then hit with our first rain delay.  We found some cover and waited it out.  This is Florida, it should only last a few minutes.  The rain got heavier and then stopped.  The sun came out.  We were in the clear so we decided to move on.  We made it about 1500 feet and then more heavy rain.  We dashed for what we thought was a solar covered awning only they were slats and not solar covers so we got more wet before retreating back to where we were before. And waited it out some more.  This rain delay lasted some 45 minutes to an hour  I guess.  This is not how Florida rain is supposed to work.  It is supposed to rain heavily for 10 minutes and then the sun comes out.  We were ill prepared with neither of us having brought any rain gear. Alas, it finally did stop and we continued on. 

 We did some more walking and then an extensive driving tour of the FIU campus.


Dinner was at a spot called Diced, which is one of those make your own bowl or salad places.  It was close to the FIU campus and had what we wanted….food without sitting in a lot of traffic.  This was a Debra kind of place. It is funny how we ended up here when she was not here yet we end up at steakhouses when she comes along.

 Pre Game

Let me explain what we did here with our game tickets.  We decided that we would buy club level seats, not because we thought we needed good tickets, but given the rain earlier, we wanted a possible escape should the rain come back.  A place we could go inside if we needed it.  So we headed into the stadium to find the club section.  Based on the configuration, we headed to the top of the stadium to where we saw the suites and figured the club level would be in there.  We were told by the police officer that our seats were outside.  Yes, we knew that, thank you, but we were looking for something else, but not going to argue. Obviously the wrong place.  So the only option was down.  We walked to the lower concourse and found the club area underneath the seating section in a room with no view of the field.  So this was not going to help us for why we bought them.  In addition, there was no one at this game so we really could have sat anywhere.  The verdict is that the club level seating at FIU is a scam.  We did get a parking permit though, two of them in fact, one for each ticket. So there was that. 

 The theme of this game is Vice Nights.  I guess for copyright reasons it could not be called Miami Vice Nights, although there were a lot of references to that, Crockett and Tubbs imagery, and other things that let you know it was Miami Vice.  Plus the very nice neon decor of the field, uniforms, and the McLaren in the concourse.  It was a nice theme and a good idea, too bad no one came out to see it.

The picks are in, I pick FIU as I fell for that UTEP thing at Jax State last month, and Al picks UTEP figuring there is no way I am picking UTEP again after the Jax State fiasco last month.

 The Game

UTEP storms out to a 21-0 lead, scoring a TD on their first three possessions.  On the next UTEP possession, they drive to the FIU 37 and punt.  There are more exchanges of punts before FIU is able to put something together and go on a 9 play 94 yard drive to cut the lead to 21-7.  UTEP is able to add a field goal before the half to make the score 24-7 at halftime.  FIU takes the opening kick of the 2H on an 8 play 84 yard drive to cut the lead to 24-14.  Do we have a ball game here?  No we do not.  The only other scoring is a UTEP field goal to make the final 27-14. FIU could muster no offense in the 2H as after the lone TD to open the half, their drives consisted of 4,5,3,2,5, and 8 plays.  Credit to the UTEP defense who came up big in the 2H as the UTEP offense largely disappeared in the 2H as well.

I shall note that the announced attendance was 14,872.  There is not a chance in hell there was even a third of that in the stadium. I know in college they count everyone in the building; players, coaches, press, officials, etc.  We have been at games where the attendance is let’s say fudged, but on a percentage basis, this had to have been the most fudged we have seen.  The only way the attendance was that large was if they were counting insects, rodents, etc.  And as an aside, this massive crowd of 14,872 must be why the administration was too busy to respond to Al and provide some helpful tips and assistance for our visit.  As we always say, we do not expect anything, but a simple reply would at least be the nice and courteous thing to do.  

Travel Home

The drive home was uneventful, which is the best thing that could be said for a 90 mile drive on the Florida Turnpike.

 The Next Day

Our flight to Memphis was not until the evening, so Al and I had a planned day of R&R to kill.  What was on the agenda:

  • Al got a tour of the new Singer residence
  • Gator kept insisting that Al pet him, which kept Gator nice and happy
  • A round of golf 
  • A nice lunch

 This report will now continue in the Memphis trip report.

The UTEP Miners finished the season 3-9, 2-6 in Conference USA. UTEP would not play in a bowl game.

FIU finished the season 4-8, 1-7 in Conference USA, which was a last place finish. There was no bowl game for the Panthers.

Photo Gallery
For our FIU photo album, Please click here. You can view as a collage or run as a slideshow. There are comments to explain what is in the photo but most are self explanatory. Thanks to Google, I can no longer embed the slide show with comments.