By Mike Cugno

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — It’s not just the University of Miami football team making itself known in South Florida.

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Florida International University (FIU) is in the midst of a special season of its own under first-year head coach Butch Davis.

“The kids have done it, to be honest with you,” said Coach Davis. “This is a group of kids that from the very first time I had a chance to have a team meeting with them – they were spectacular. They bought in immediately to all the things. We said if you do these things it’s going to give us the best chance to win games.”

Coach Davis went on,  “I’ve been extraordinarily proud through seven ballgames. Every single Saturday they show up. They compete, they play, they spill their guts, and you can see they’re playing with a lot of passion so I’m very happy with the way that we’ve started.”

The offense deserves a ton of credit for their fast start. They are a perfect 18 for 18 in the red zone this year and have taken on the personality of their scrappy senior quarterback Alex McGough.

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“He absolutely has some Brett Favre in him. You’d love to have Alex back for another half a dozen years. First of all, he’s a great leader and he’s a terrific quarterback,” said Coach Davis. “I think the thing that everyone on this team understands – he is passionate. You see him diving over piles, hurdling guys. I mean he’s willing to take a hit to make a first down. To hang on to the ball in the pocket and deliver it at the last second to make sure he gives the receivers the best chance to get open.”

The motto for this year is “Why not us?” Players are buying in. Now it’s time for fans to get on board.

“Attendance was not what I had hoped for the very first home game that we had against Charlotte. It got significantly better against Tulane and I think as the program grows and we have success, hopefully, we can reenergize a lot of those kids,” said Davis.

Coach says no matter who they play, they’ve got expectations.

“It doesn’t make any difference who we’re playing on Saturday. There’s certain levels of things we want to do. We want to be efficient. We want to be smart. We want to try and take care of the football, create turnovers if we can. We’ve got some formulas of things that we think, if we do this, the results will take care of themselves,” said Coach Davis.

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The Panthers can secure bowl eligibility on Saturday if they can pull off a win against the University of Texas at San Antonio at Riccardo Silva Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7pm.