CI Week 11 Football Highlights

While we are still a few weeks away from the postseason for most college teams, the playoffs are underway in Canada. Winnipeg Special Teams Coordinator Paul Boudreau and the Blue Bombers advanced to the West Division final next Sunday with a 35-14 road win against Calgary. Next up, the Bombers will take on Saskatchewan and Defensive Assistant Mike Davis. In the East Division, Hamilton DL Coach Randy Melvin and the Ti-Cats received a first round bye and will face Edmonton in the finals. At the FBS level, two more CI coaches secured bowl eligibility with win in Week 11 - congratulations to Miami RB Coach Eric Hickson and Southern Miss OL Coach Ryan Stanchek! With two weeks remaining in the FCS regular season, eight CI coaches are projected to qualify for the postseason according to one recent mock bracket, including: Villanova Defensive Coordinator/DB Ola Adams, Monmouth Passing Game Coor./QB T.J. DiMuzio, Monmouth Special Teams Coor./RB Sam Dorsett, Wofford DB Coach Rob Greene, Kennesaw State Defensive Coordinator/LB Blake Harrell, Northern Iowa Defensive Coordinator/Safeties Jeremiah Johnson, Villanova RB Coach Brian Jones, and Wofford RB Coach Dane Romero. Keep reading for more highlights from Week 11 below.

Purdue wins on Dellinger's late field, 24-22 over Northwestern
While Evanston, Illinois is half an hour north of Chicago, Saturday's game between Northwestern and Purdue might as well have been in the Windy City. With wind gusts over 20 mph, it was the visiting team's kicker who came through in the clutch to keep Purdue's bowl hopes alive. After Northwestern missed a 32-yard field goal that would have given the Wildcats a 25-21 lead with 2:30 left to play, the Boilermakers took advantage, driving 58 yards in 10 plays to reach the Northwestern 22-yard line. After a Wildcat time out designed to ice J.D. Dellinger, the junior kicker calmly drilled his 39-yard attempt through driving winds and straight down the middle of the uprights with three seconds to play. Dellinger admitted after the game that he prefers being iced because it gives him a "chance to catch his breath" and added time to go through his pre-kick routine. Under the guidance of Special Teams Coordinator/DE Kevin Wolthausen (@kwolthausen), Dellinger has made 10-12 field goals on the season, including his last five, and remains perfect from within 39 yards. For good measure, Wolthausen's defensive position group provided the icing on the cake when DE George Karlaftis recovered a fumbled lateral on the final play. Congratulations to Wolthausen on the win and contributions from Dellinger and Karlaftis! Wolthausen is in the third year of his second stint at Purdue after having coached the Boilermaker defensive line in 2012. A coaching veteran with over 30 years of experience, he spent the previous three years at UConn and has also served on staffs for the Atlanta Falcons, Louisville, Arizona State, Oklahoma, USC and Arizona.

Villanova earns huge win over Richmond, 35-28
The Wildcats may still be young, but they have already demonstrated an ability to learn from their mistakes. After struggling to close out second half leads in recent weeks, Villanova flipped the script against Richmond, mounting its own fourth quarter comeback to earn its seventh victory of the season. As they have done throughout the year, the Wildcats started strong and jumped out to a 7-0 lead when safety Nowoola Awopetu returned the game's opening kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown. But the Spiders would not go quietly and took a 28-21 lead into halftime. In the second half, Villanova Defensive Coordinator/DB Ola Adams (@CoachOlaAdams) made the necessary adjustments and his unit responded. After allowing Richmond to gain 270 yards in the first half, the Wildcats buckled down, yielding only three first downs and 63 total yards while pitching a shutout over the final two quarters. While the Villanova offense took slightly longer to find its rhythm in the second half, it came to life in the fourth quarter. First, QB Daniel Smith tied the score at 28-28 on a 9-yard touchdown run with 11:45 left to play. After the Wildcat defense forced a three-and-out, the offense went right back to work. This time, it was freshman RB TD Ayo-Durojaiye who broke free for a 20-yard rushing touchdown to give the hosts a 35-28 lead. Adams' defense forced another three-and-out and the VU offense was able to salt away the final 7:20 of the game with an 11-play drive that included four runs from freshman RB DeeWil Barlee. For the game, Barlee rushed 18 times for 114 yards and one touchdown. Congratulations to Adams and Villanova RB Coach Brian Jones (@Coach_JonesVU) on the win! Adams is in his fifth season at Villanova and first as defensive coordinator after serving as the team's special teams coordinator and cornerbacks coach from 2017-18 and running backs coach from 2015-16. 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. Jones is in the third year of his second stint with the Wildcats. He has over 20 years of experience at the FBS level, including 16 as the running backs coach at Missouri, where he mentored a 1,000 yard rusher seven times over a 10-year span.

Yale powers past Brown, 59-35
The Bulldogs improved to 7-1 in a game that featured plenty of big plays and momentum swings. In the first quarter, Yale raced out to a 17-0 lead and looked to be in control, but Brown responded with a 28-10 run to take a 28-27 lead early in the second half. The Bulldogs would answer back, though, and took the lead for good on a 29-yard touchdown pass from QB Kurt Rawlings to WR Mason Tipton with 8:36 left in the third quarter. Tipton's touchdown was part of a 32-7 run over the final quarter and a half to propel the club from New Haven to its fourth consecutive win. One of the keys for the Bulldog defense in the late stages was its success on fourth down. Brown went 0-5 on fourth down and Yale's defense also forced three fumbles and one interception. The charge for the Bulldog defense began up front with DT Spencer Matthaei, who finished with five tackles, including three tackles-for-loss, two sacks, one forced fumble and a quarterback pressure. As a unit, Yale's defense set new season-highs with 10 tackles-for-loss and six sacks. Congratulations to Yale Asst. Head Coach/Co-DefCoor/DL Jordan Stevens (@Yale_Stevens) on the win and Matthaei's outing! Stevens is in his fifth season at Yale and first as the team's assistant head coach and co-defensive coordinator. In addition to his work with the defensive line, he has also coached the team's linebackers. He previously spent four years coaching at his alma mater, Maine, where he helped the Black Bears reach the NCAA FCS Quarterfinals in 2011 and win the CAA title in 2013.

Columbia rallies to defeat Harvard in overtime
Elsewhere in the Ivy League, Columbia notched its first win over Harvard since 2003. While Columbia dominated in virtually every statistical category, the Lions needed a 26-yard field goal from kicker Alex Felkins to tie the game at 10-10 and force overtime. In the extra session, Columbia's offense came up big on 3rd and 11 when QB Ty Lenhart connected with TE Rory Schlageter for a 24-yard gain down to Harvard's 1-yard line. On the next play, WR Mike Roussos scored out of the wildcat to give Columbia its first lead of the day. On Harvard's first offensive play of overtime, Columbia DB Ben Mathiasmeier intercepted the ball at the 3-yard line just in front of the sideline to complete the comeback. Mathiasmeier's pick capped a dominant day for the Lion defense. The hosts held Harvard to a season-low 200 yards of offense and just 10 first downs. Both of Harvard's scores came as a result of short fields following Columbia turnovers. On an individual level, LB Scott Valentas led the Lions with 10 tackles while DL Max Mullaney anchored a defensive front that only allowed Crimson rushers to net 63 yards on the ground. With games versus Brown and Cornell still to play, Columbia has a chance to finish the year with a winning record in Ivy League games for the second time in three seasons - a feat the program hasn't pulled off since 1961-62. Congratulations to Lions DL Coach Darin Edwards (@CoachDEdwards) on the win! Edwards is in his fifth season at Columbia after coaching the defensive line at Fordham in 2014. From 2008-13, he coached at Sacred Heart where he served in a variety of capacities including coaching running backs, outside linebackers, defensive line and coordinating special teams.
Wofford blows out Mercer, 41-7
Basketball players use the expression "everybody eats" to describe the importance of passing the ball so that each player has an opportunity to score. The phrase could also be applicable to Dane Romero's (@Coach_romero18) running back room at Wofford. Through nine games, five different Terrier running backs have racked up at least 249 yards in pacing the second best rushing attack in the FCS with over 340 yards per game. Against Mercer, it was Ryan Lovelace who ate the most, racking up 76 yards and two touchdowns on only seven carries (10.9 ypc). Not far behind Lovelace was Blake Morgan, who added 74 yards on 11 carries (6.7 ypc). D'mauriae VanCleave chipped in with 61 rushing yards, including a 44-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. Not to be lost in the mix, Wofford's defense was similarly dominant against the Bears, yielding just seven points and 144 total yards. Safety captain Mason Alstatt led the Terrier defense backs, limiting Mercer QB Kaelan Riley to 7-of-17 passing for a paltry 55 yards. With the win, Wofford improves to 5-1 in Southern Conference games and will host Furman next week with first place on the line. Congratulations and good luck to Romero and DB Coach Rob Greene (@CoachRGreene)! Romero is in his fifth season as a coach with the Terriers and has been a part of three playoff appearances, and conference championships each of the past two seasons. As a player at Wofford, Romero ended his career among the top 15 all-time leading rushers in program history. Like Romero, Greene also played for the Terriers and was a member of the conference championship winning staffs in 2017 and 2018. He returned to his alma mater after serving as a defensive graduate assistant at Pitt in 2016.

Tiano, Ibitokun-Hanks lead Chattanooga past Samford, 35-27
At this point in the season, the difference between winning and losing can often come down to depth. With players banged up and nursing injuries, the teams that can plug in backups capable of getting the job done have a significant advantage. Having an offensive line that averages over 300 pounds per position certainly helps, too. Chattanooga RB Ailym Ford entered Saturday's game ranked sixth in the FCS and leading all freshman with 119 rushing yards per game. But when Ford went down with an injury in the first quarter after just three carries, the Mocs knew they could turn to senior RB Elijah Ibitokun-Hanks to fill Ford's absence. Ibitokun-Hanks carried the ball 27 times for 139 yards (5.1 ypc) and two rushing touchdowns. TE Chris James also credits the Chattanooga offensive line when asked after the game how the team was able to respond after Hanks went down. James noted, "It is our O-Line. There are some big hogs up there. They eat up space, they are mean and they finish blocks. It is fun playing with them." As a unit, the Mocs offense rushed the ball for 275 yards compared to just 141 rushing yards for Samford. Chattanooga's offensive line was also stout in pass protection, allowing QB Nick Tiano to complete 17-of-28 passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns without giving up a sack. Congratulations to Mocs OL Coach Chris Malone (@cmalone51) on the win and the offensive line's strong performance! Malone is in the first season of his second stint in Chattanooga after spending the past three seasons as the offensive line coach at Old Dominion. In his first stint with the Mocs from 2014-15, Malone helped the team win two SoCon titles and make two trips to the FCS Playoffs. He has also coached at Virginia Tech, UMass, James Madison, VMI and Virginia State.

Reedley College defeats Monterey Peninsula to claim back-to-back Golden Coast Conference titles
In a matchup between the conference's top two teams, one that entered the game averaging over 46 points per contest and the other driven by a defense that had forced 26 turnovers and featured the state's leader in sacks, the offense won out. Reedley College QB Armon Hickson threw for five touchdowns and no interceptions while RB Jamon Chambers rushed 23 times for 213 yards (9.3 ypc) and two scores to lead the Tigers to a 58-38 road win. Reedley's 58 points were 24 more more than the Lobos had allowed in a game all season. Defensively, LB Paul Moreno led the Tigers with 11 tackles, including one sack. With back-to-back wins over the other top two teams in the conference, Reedley has already clinched its second consecutive league title entering next week's regular season finale. This year's title represents the latest milestone in the rebuilding project that Eric Marty (@CoachEricMarty) undertook when he was named Reedley's head coach and offensive coordinator in 2016. Marty inherited a team on a two-year probation that was on the brink of shutting down the program. Instead of folding, Marty guided the Tigers to a 10-0 record in his third year, a team that boasted the #5 offense in the state, the top defense in the conference and 10 all-conference selections. Before arriving at Reedley, Marty served as the head coach and offensive coordinator at East LA College. In 2016, he was selected as one of the Top 30 Coaches Under 30 by the American Football Coaches Association.

Quick Hits
  • WR Jalen Virgil returned a kickoff 57 yards to setup a touchdown as Appalachian State beat South Carolina, 20-15, for the first win over an SEC team in program history. Congratulations to Special Teams Coordinator Erik Link (@CoachErikLink)!
  • Morehead State allowed Valparaiso 22 rushing yards on 23 carries as the Eagles won, 27-21. Congratulations to MSU Head Coach Rob Tenyer (@RobTenyerMSU) and DL Coach Jerome Riase (@JRiase)!
  • South Dakota forced five sacks and held Youngstown State to 138 fewer rushing yards than its season average as the Coyotes won, 56-21. Congratulations to USD Defensive Coordinator Travis Johansen (@CoachTJohansen)!
  • New Mexico Highlands RB James Budgett rushed 16 times for 173 yards and one touchdown to lead the Cowboys to a 24-22 win over Western Colorado. Congratulations to NMHU Head Coach Marty Fine and Offensive Coordinator/WR Matt Clark (@Coach_MattClark)!
  • Allegheny scored 24 unanswered points to defeat Wooster, 24-14, and win its second game in a row. Congratulations to Allegheny Head Coach Rich Nagy (@rich_nagy)!
  • Oklahoma Panhandle State handed Southwest Assemblies of God its first shutout since 2012 as the Aggies cruised to a 35-0 win. Congratulations to OPSU Head Coach Bob Majeski (@CoachMojo4)!

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