CI Week 1 Football Highlights

After eight long months, college football is finally back! Several Coaches Inc. clients had successful Week 1's including several who debuted in new positions.
Washington State uses late surge to top Wyoming, 41-19
The first full week of the college season featured debuts for several CI coaches appearing in new positions, including Washington State Offensive Line Coach Mason Miller (@CoachMiller_). Miller, who spent the 2017 season as the offensive line coach at Nevada, joined the Cougar staff with extensive experience in WSU Head Coach Mike Leach's Air Raid offense after having run successful variations of the system in stints at New Mexico State, Southeastern Louisiana, Tarleton State and McMurry. While Miller's background made his transition to Pullman a smooth one, there were still several questions surrounding the Cougar offense entering their season opener at Wyoming - chief among them who was going to start at quarterback. The answer turned out to be graduate transfer Gardner Minshew. Minshew, who after the game revealed that he had known he was going to be the starter for several weeks, validated the coaching staff's decision as he completed 38-of-57 passes for 319 yards and three touchdowns. While Minshew dropped back to pass more than any other Division 1 quarterback in Week 1, Miller's offensive line was up to the task as they did not give up a single sack. The Cougar line was also effective in opening holes on the ground as running backs James Williams and Max Borghi combined to rush for 96 yards on 17 carries (5.6 ypc). Congratulations to Miller on a great start in his new role!
Rattlers blowout Wildcats, break records in Willie Simmons' coaching debut
Another CI coach who debuted in a new position on Saturday was Florida A&M Head Coach Willie Simmons (@HCWillieSimmons). Similar to Miller, while Simmons' position was a new one, he was very familiar with the environment he was stepping into when he arrived at Florida A&M last December. A Tallahassee native, Simmons returned home after spending the last three seasons as the head coach at Prairie View A&M, where he compiled an overall record of 21-11. Since his arrival back in T-Town, the FAMU faithful have embraced Simmons with open arms and displayed their support by nearly selling out Bragg Memorial Stadium for the team's home opener versus Fort Valley State. The home fans had to endure severe storms and a lightning delay of over 45 minutes, but ultimately were not disappointed as the Rattlers rolled to a dominant 41-7 win. Special teams led the way for FAMU as kicker Yahia Aly set a new program record with six field goals and the punt return team recovered a pair of fumbles by FVSU's punter. The first fumble recovery came after the Rattler defense forced a three-and-out on the Wildcats' first possession and led to a one-yard touchdown run by RB Ricky Henrilus to give the hosts a 7-0 lead. Overall, FAMU rushed for a total of 276 yards while holding the visitors to -12 yards on the ground. Linebackers Derrick Mayweather and Kendrick Kelly led the charge defensively for the Rattlers with six tackles apiece. Congratulations to Simmons who served as the offensive coordinator at Alcorn State for three seasons before taking over at Prairie View. In 2011, he served as the offensive coordinator at Middle Tennessee State where he was one of the youngest coordinators in the FBS at the time.  
Georgetown opens season with a big win at Marist
In his time as Georgetown's head coach, Rob Sgarlata (@coachsgarlata) has had the number of Pioneer League opponents in season openers. After racking up victories over Davidson in 2016 and Campbell in 2017, the Hoyas rolled to an impressive 39-14 road win over the Red Foxes on Saturday in Poughkeepsie, NY. Gunther Johnson led the way on offense for Georgetown as the junior signal caller completed 26-of-37 passes for 369 yards and four touchdowns. On the defensive side, senior defensive back Blaise Brown recorded interceptions on Marist’s first two offensive series and also tallied 1.5 for tackles-for-loss and contributed to a sack. Brown’s first interception led to Hoya field goal to put Sgarlata’s squad up 3-0 and the visitors never looked back. Congratulations to Sgarlata who is in his fifth season as head coach and 24th season overall as a coach at his alma mater. In 2016, he led the Hoyas to a 3-0 start which marked the first time the program had won its first three contests since 1999. Sgarlata arrived at Georgetown in 1990 as a player and has bled blue and gray ever since - he served as a team captain in 1993 and remains among the leading rushers in program history.
Villanova beats Temple and claims metro Philadelphia supremacy
Almost every season, a handful of FCS teams are able to pull off wins over FBS opponents. Few, however, have done it with the regularity of Villanova, and fewer still have triumphed over FBS programs with preseason expectations as lofty as Temple's entering this year. Fresh off of a seven-win season, the Owls were projected to finish third in the AAC in 2018. By contrast, the Wildcats only won five games in 2017 and were picked to finish sixth in this year's CAA preseason poll. Saturday's contest highlighted the insignificance of preseason polls as Villanova thoroughly outplayed their crosstown rivals from start to finish. The Wildcats outgained the Owls 405-251 and held a 38:39-21:21 edge in time of possession. Despite the gaudy statistics, Villanova found itself trailing Temple, 17-13, at the end of three quarters. The Wildcats retook a 19-13 lead on their first possession of the fourth quarter and used a stout defensive performance to preserve the victory. Villanova freshman defensive back Elijah Trent provided the final nail in the coffin when he intercepted a pass with 1:18 left to play. Congratulations to Ola Adams (@CoachOlaAdams) who is in his fourth season at Villanova and second as special teams coordinator and cornerbacks coach after working with running backs during his first two years with the program. Adams arrived at Villanova after serving as the wide receivers coach at Columbia in 2014. He has completed Bill Walsh Minority Coaching Fellowships with the Chicago Bears and the San Francisco 49ers.
Alvernia wins first game in program history
While many CI coaches had successful debuts in Week 1, only one can claim to have been a part of the first win in a school's history. That honor belongs to Assoc. Head Coach/OL Gary Lowery (@coachlowerync) who helped guide Alvernia to a 26-21 win over Gallaudet University. As one would expect, securing the first win in program history wouldn't come easy for the Golden Wolves. Alvernia needed a goalline stand in the game's final minute before exhaling. On fourth-and-goal from the two-yard line, Gallaudet attempted to run an option, but Alvernia linebacker Keyon Lowery tripped up the quarterback and forced a bad pitch to the running back. Cornerback Josh Donaldson then wrapped up the running back to seal the win and send the home sideline and crowd into a frenzy. Just two minutes earlier, Alvernia running back Malcolm Carey had scored the winning touchdown on a 20-yard rush to complete the comeback for the Wolves. For the game, Carey rushed for 117 yards on 13 carries (9.0 ypc) and two scores. Congratulations to Lowery who is in his first season at Alvernia after serving as the offensive line coach at Fort Valley State in 2017. He has also coached defensive line, running backs, and served as a defensive coordinator over the course of a 15-year coaching career that includes stops at Hampton, Fayetteville State and Winston-Salem State among others.
Quick Hits
  • Howard nearly pulled off its second upset of an FBS opponent in as many years but came up just short against Ohio, falling 38-32. The Bison outgained the Bobcats 645-423 and led by as many as 13 points in the second quarter. Despite the loss, Head Coach Mike London (@CoachMikeLondon), Asst. Head Coach/DefCoor/LB Vincent Brown (@CoachVBrown59), OffCoor/QB Brennan Marion (@BrennanMarion4), Safeties Coach Cato June (@CatoJune), and Director of Operations Kenny Lucas (@CoachKennyLucas) served notice that last year's stellar campaign was the building of a foundation as opposed to a one-hit wonder.
  • Scott Boone's (@CoachScottBoone) first game as an offensive analyst at Wake Forest was a thriller as the Demon Deacons rallied from a 14-10 deficit entering the fourth quarter and ultimately beat Tulane in overtime, 23-17. Congratulations to Boone on the victory!

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