CI Week 11 Highlights

As we head into the second half of November, the stakes are being raised. At the FBS level, 11 CI coaches have already secured bowl eligibility. In the FCS, several CI coaches head into the final week of the regular season poised to earn playoff bids including RB Coach De'Rail Sims (@DeRailSims) and ILB Coach Byron Thweatt (@Thweattster32) of #1 James Madison who have now won 22 consecutive games. At the D2 level, Virginia State Head Coach Reggie Barlow (@reggiebarlow) and West Alabama OffCoor/QB Don Bailey (@dbails9) have both qualified for the playoffs. Barlow led the Trojans to a perfect 10-0 regular season and will open the playoffs against West Georgia in what will be the program's second time ever hosting a playoff game. West Alabama earned the top seed and a first round bye in Super Region 2. In the CFL, top seed Calgary and DB Coach Kahlil Carter (@ThePplzChamp) enjoyed a bye this weekend and will host Edmonton in the West Division Finals on Sunday. Please find more highlights from Week 11 below.

Defense and field goals lead Bucs to 15-10 win over Jets
When asked after the game about the performance of fellow LB Lavonte David, Kwon Alexander didn't shy away: "He's amazing. Pro Bowl might not be enough. He's playing like a defensive player of the year." Alexander had good reason to be so complimentary. Against the Jets, David led all players with eight tackles to go along with two tackles-for-loss and one fumble recovery. Through nine games, David already has four fumble recoveries which is good for first in the league and tied for most in a season by a Buccaneer in franchise history. Davis was one of several standouts on defense for the Bucs who made up for missing starting QB Jameis Winston and top WR Mike Evans by posting their best effort of the season. The Jets only managed 275 yards of offense and did not reach the end zone until there was under a minute remaining in the fourth quarter. Congratulations to Tampa Bay LB Coach Mark Duffner who is in his second season with the Bucs following a two-year stint in the same role with the Dolphins. A 40-year coaching veteran, Duffner has also coached with the Jaguars, Packers and Bengals and previously served as a head coach at the college level for Maryland and Holy Cross.

UNC finds a way, at last, in victory at Pitt
Injuries are a harsh reality that every college team must deal with during the course of a season. But rarely does a team have to deal with them to the extent that UNC has had to this year. A total of 18 Tar Heels have suffered season ending injuries including at least eight starters. Head Coach Larry Fedora recently stated that he had to readjust the goals he set for the team at the beginning of the season. Instead of competing for a Coastal Division title, the coaching staff has challenged the players to compete for pride and the legacy that they will leave behind. On Thursday night, the Tar Heels showed that they still have plenty of pride as they battled on the road to beat Pitt, 34-31. Along with resiliency, big plays were key for UNC. WR Anthony Ratliff-Williams returned the game's opening kickoff 98 yards to put the Tar Heels on the board first. Late in the second quarter, with UNC holding a 21-17 lead, Tar Heel safety J.K. Britt stripped Pitt WR Quadree Henderson just before he crossed the goalline. LB Cayson Collins picked up the loose ball and returned it 64 yards to set up a UNC field goal just before halftime. Up front for the Tar Heels, DL Malik Carney led the way with five tackles, one sack and 1.5 tackles-for-loss. Congratulations to DL Coach Deke Adams (@CoachDekeAdams) on the win! Adams is in the first season of his second stint in Chapel Hill after having served on Fedora's initial UNC staff in 2012. From 2013-15, he coached the defensive line at South Carolina where he worked with two first team All-American selections. In 2011, Adams was part of the Southern Miss staff that won the C-USA Championship.

Texas Tech runs away from Baylor in 38-24 win
It had been 44 years since Texas Tech had returned a game opening kickoff for a touchdown, but Joe Robinson's (@CoachJoeRob) special teams unit made it happen on Saturday in AT&T Stadium. WR KeKe Coutee raced 92 yards to put TTU up 6-0 on the game's first play to jump start a Red Raider team in need of a boost. From there, the Texas Tech defense came up big as it forced four turnovers including a fumble recovery by DB Douglas Coleman III who returned the ball 31 yards for a score to put the Red Raiders up 38-17 midway through the fourth quarter. Another bright spot for TTU was in the kicking game as Michael Barden booted five of his seven kickoffs for touchbacks and Clayton Hatfield converted his only field goal attempt from 39 yards out. Punter Dominic Panazzolo averaged 41.5 yards on four punts and the Red Raider punt team did not allow any return yards. One of the most well respected special teams coaches in the business, Robinson is in his second season in Lubbock. In 2010, he was named FootballScoop's Special Teams Coordinator of the Year for his work with LSU's units. Robinson, who also has experience coaching defensive line, linebackers, running backs and tight ends, has served on staffs at South Carolina, UNC, Arizona and UCF among others.

Bryant beats Robert Morris 42-17
After a rough start to the season, Bryant has found its stride over the last three weeks. The Bulldogs won their third straight game and improved to 5-5 on the year with a win on the road over Robert Morris. While Bryant ended up cruising to a 25-point win, things did not start off so smoothly. The NEC rivals were tied 14-14 at halftime and the Colonials appeared poised to tie the game early in the fourth quarter when they had a first and goal trailing 21-14. But Kevin Kelly's (@KKellyDC) defense held RMU to field goal and WR Jean Constant returned the ensuing kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown to effectively seal the game. On defense, Thomas Costigan was the star of the day as the junior linebacker finished with seven tackles, three sacks and a forced fumble for a defense that limited the Colonials to just 19 yards on the ground. Congratulations to Kelly who is in his first season as Bryant's defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. Kelly served in a similar role at Ball State from 2014-15 following eight seasons as the head coach at Georgetown. He was named the 2011 Patriot League Coach of the Year and also has experience as the special teams coordinator/linebackers coach at Navy and as the defensive coordinator at Marshall.

Wofford earns SoCon title with win at VMI
Last year, Wofford had a great season by almost any benchmark. The Terriers posted a 10-4 record in 2016 and were a missed field goal away from reaching the FCS Semifinals. However, one accolade that eluded Wofford was a conference championship. This season, the Terriers will again look to make noise in the FCS playoffs and will do so with a SoCon title under their belt after rolling to a 45-14 win at VMI. Leading 21-7 at halftime, Wofford used a pair of turnovers to take control in the third quarter as it stretched its lead to 45-7 before the Keydets responded with a late score. CB Devin Watson recorded an interception and Miles Brown registered a sack as the Terriers limited VMI to 80 rushing yards. Wofford is ranked #8 in the latest FCS poll and will conclude its regular season with a trip to Columbia to take on South Carolina in its regular season finale. Congratulations to Defensive Run Game Coordinator/DL Jerome Riase (@JRiase) and CB Coach Rob Greene (@CoachRGreene) on the win and conference championship! Riase is in his fourth season at Wofford and has helped the Terriers lead the SoCon in Rush Defense each of the last three years. He has also coached at Butler, Ashland and Savannah State and in 2011 he participated in the NCAA Coaches Academy. Greene, who played at Wofford from 2010-13, is in his first season as a coach for the Terriers after serving as a defensive graduate assistant at Pitt in 2016.

Cards trounce Marietta 48-14, Stepp and Lowe make history
Otterbein and OLB Coach Todd Murgatroyd will enter the offseason on a high note after defeating Marietta to conclude the regular season at 6-4 overall and 5-4 in the Ohio Athletic Conference. With the win, the Cardinals move above .500 in OAC games for the first time since 2012. QB Logan Stepp connected with WR Julian Lowe on a two-yard touchdown pass on Otterbein's opening possession to give the Cardinals a 7-0 lead and they never looked back. Stepp finished the day completing 17-of-24 passes for 203 yards and three touchdowns to go along with 135 rushing yards and two scores on the ground. He finishes the season becoming the first player in OAC history to throw for 2,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in the same season. Defensively, linebackers Jake Harper and Austin Jones led the Cardinals with ten and nine tackles, respectively. Congratulations to OLB Coach Todd Murgatroyd (@toddmurgs) who is in the fourth season of his second stint at Otterbein. Murgatroyd, who has also coached the Cardinals' offensive line, began his coaching career as a graduate assistant under Jim Tressel at Youngstown State and has also coached at Tennessee, Hawai'i and Kent State.

Quick Hits
  • On Friday night, Stanford upset #9 Washington, 30-22. Congratulations to Defensive Assistant Toure Carter (@ToureCarter)!
  • Nevada scored its most points since 2012 in a 59-14 win over San Jose State. Congratulations to Wolf Pack OL Coach Mason Miller (@NV_CoachMiller)!
  • At the junior college level, Louisburg (NC) defeated Hocking 45-28 to finish the regular season with a perfect 10-0 record for the second consecutive year. Congratulations to OL Coach John Strollo!

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