CI Week 13 Highlights

Two more CI coaches claimed spots in conference championship games with wins this week to go along with three who had already booked their spots in previous weeks. Stanford Defensive Assistant Toure Carter (@ToureCarter) will kick things off on Friday night when Stanford takes on USC in the PAC-12 Championship Game. On Saturday afternoon, two CI coaches will be on opposite sidelines in the AAC Championship Game as UCF Assoc. Head Coach/SpecTeams/LB Jovan Dewitt (@Coach_Dewitt) and the Golden Knights host Memphis and Tiger DL Coach Paul Randolph (@CoachPRandolph). On Saturday night, Georgia Defensive Assistant Will Windham (@CoachWindham) and Special Teams Analyst Scott Fountain (@CoachSFountain) will look to avenge their loss to Auburn in the SEC Championship. Keep reading for more highlights from Week 13.

Bills, McDermott rise up against Kansas City
The Bills made a splash just before the trade deadline by acquiring WR Kelvin Benjamin from the Carolina Panthers. While Benjamin was a welcome addition to Phil McGeoghan's (@PhilMcGeoghan) position room, the former first round pick tore his meniscus in last week's game at the LA Chargers. A silver lining to Benjamin's absence was an increased role for Zay Jones, a rookie receiver out of East Carolina. At ECU, Jones flourished under McGeoghan's mentorship as he set NCAA records for most career receptions (399) and most receptions in a season (158). In February, McGeoghan was hired to coach the Bills receivers and three months later Jones joined him in Orchard Park after being drafted in the second round. On Sunday, Jones took advantage of the opportunity with his second career touchdown reception. Jones' score came near the end of the first quarter and gave the Bills a 7-0 lead. Buffalo added nine more points on three field goals from Stephen Hauschka and that was all they would need to pull the 16-10 road upset. Congratulations to McGeoghan who is back in the NFL after working with the Dolphins' wide receivers from 2012-15. With the Dolphins, McGeoghan helped Jarvis Landry set a franchise record for receptions in a season and reach the 2015 Pro Bowl. From 2009-11, he served as the receivers coach at South Florida where he coached the three leading receivers in Bulls program history. McGeoghan enjoyed a four-year playing career in the NFL before beginning his coaching career at Maine in 2007. 

Georgia dominates Georgia Tech with a commanding 38-7 victory
Georgia entered Saturday's Battle for the Governor's Cup having already clinched a spot in the SEC Championship Game but with a lot still on the line. Not only were the Bulldogs in the thick of the playoff hunt, they also had revenge on their minds. Last year, the Yellow Jackets scored in the final minute to cap a 14-point rally and escape Athens with a 28-27 win. This year's contest was far less dramatic. RB Nick Chubb scored from one yard out in the first quarter to give the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead and WR Javon Wims hauled in a 21-yard scoring pass from QB Jake Fromm to increase the lead to 14-0. Georgia Tech trimmed the deficit to 10 points at halftime, but the second half belonged to Georgia as the Bulldogs scored 21 unanswered points to win with ease. For the game, Fromm threw for 224 yards and two touchdowns while RB Sony Michel rushed for 85 yards and one touchdown. Defensively, Roquan Smith recorded a team-high nine tackles to go along with three tackles-for-loss and one sack. As a unit, Georgia's defense held Georgia Tech to a season-low 226 yards of offense. The Bulldogs also had a productive day on special teams, headlined by Mecole Hardman who recorded 40 yards on punt returns and 29 yards on kickoff returns. Kicker Rodrigo Blankenship converted his only field goal attempt from 37 yards out. Congratulations to Fountain and Windham on the all-around dominant performance!  

After victory, FIU a step closer to tying school record
Patience is a virtue and James Vollono (@CoachVollono) has it in abundance. All season, the Panthers have practiced a fake field goal where holder Stone Wilson, who is also FIU's punter, takes the snap and rolls out to throw the ball. But through FIU's first 10 games, every time Butch Davis asked Vollono if he wanted to run the fake, the special teams coordinator had to hold his head coach off. The line of scrimmage had to be far enough out so that Wilson had enough space to complete his pass but if it was too far defenses would be more likely to expect the fake. Finally, in the fourth quarter of Saturday's game, Vollono sensed the moment was right and his players executed the play to perfection. Wilson completed his pass to Pharoah McKever and the tight end broke one tackle before leaping for the pylon and scoring a touchdown to extend FIU's lead to 41-17. In stark contrast to the months of preparation that went into that play, the Panthers scored an earlier touchdown on special teams that was pure unscripted chaos. In the third quarter, WKU punter Jake Collins attempted to run for a first down but was pursued from behind by FIU LB Jordan Guest. Collins reversed field to elude Guest but stumbled and fumbled the ball. FIU RB D'Vonte Price was in the right place at the right time as he scooped up the loose ball and ran 38 yards to put the Panthers up 34-17. FIU is now 7-4 and just one victory shy of tying the program record for wins in a season. Congratulations to Vollono on the special teams scores and the historic season!

No. 20 UNI steams past Monmouth in FCS opener, 46-7
Northern Iowa has made 19 playoffs appearances and won 23 playoff games in its storied history. But none of its previous 22 victories were as lopsided as Saturday's in which the Panthers dominated Monmouth from start to finish. On the second play from scrimmage, UNI DB Nikholi Jaghai intercepted a pass from Monmouth QB Kenji Bahar and the rout was on. Jaghi's pick was one of four on the day for the Panthers who outgained the Hawks 520-202. When asked after the game how his team was able to start so strong, UNI LB Jared Farley credited the coaching staff saying, “That was just preparation. Our coaches did a great job of getting us ready for what we expected them to do. They really did a lot of the things we practiced all week." The Panthers led 33-0 at halftime and didn't give up a score until late in the fourth quarter with the game well in hand. Next up for UNI is a second round matchup at South Dakota State. The Panthers will look to repeat the performance from their October 14th trip to Brookings, SD when they beat the Jackrabbits 38-18. Congratulations to two of the newest members of the Coaches Inc. Family, UNI Defensive Coordinator/Safeties Jeremiah Johnson (@Coach_J_Johnson) and CB Coach Jeff Burris! Johnson is in his 11th season at UNI where he has directed one of the most prolific defenses in the FCS. The Panther defense has finished each of the past three seasons ranked in the top-15 nationally in at least eight different statistical categories, including a ninth place finish in Total Defense in 2016. Last year, he coached five All-MVFC selections including Karter Schult who was a consensus All-American and won the Buck Buchanan Award presented to the best defensive player in the FCS. Burris is in his first season in Cedar Falls after spending 2016 as a senior defensive analyst at Notre Dame. He spent the 2013-15 seasons as the assistant defensive backs coach for the Miami Dolphins and has also coached at UMass as well as for the UFL's Sacramento Mountain Lions. Burris enjoyed a 10-year playing career in the NFL with the Bills, Colts and Bengals.

West Alabama rallies past Delta State
For the last three months, West Alabama has ridden the right arm of Harry Satterwhite to one of the most successful seasons in program history. The junior signal caller entered the playoffs leading the Gulf South Conference in passing yards and completions while ranking fifth in Division II in completions per game. As a team, UWA finished the regular season with nine wins for the first time since 1975. After the first quarter of the Tigers' second round matchup versus Delta State, the record setting season looked to be headed towards a premature ending. UWA faced a 10-0 deficit and was outgained 167-27 yards. As it turns out, Offensive Coordinator/QB Don Bailey (@coachdonbailey) and Satterwhite were just getting their bearings. Satterwhite connected with WR Donta Armstrong on a 27-yard scoring strike midway through the second quarter and the Tigers added two more touchdowns before halftime to take a 20-10 lead. Satterwhite and Armstrong linked up again for another touchdown early in the third quarter to extend the lead to 27-10 and the Tigers were able to hold on for a 27-20 win. For the game, Satterwhite completed 25-of-37 passes for 275 yards while Armstrong caught six passes for 71 yards. UWA RB Lakenderic Thomas added 95 rushing yards on 20 carries and one touchdown. With the win, the Tigers booked a trip to the quarterfinals where they will host GSC rival West Florida. Like UNI, UWA will be looking for a repeat of their regular season matchup as they beat the Argonauts 35-18 last month. Congratulations and good luck to Bailey!

Quick Hits
  • Texas Tech punched their ticket to a bowl game with a thrilling comeback victory over Texas. The Red Raiders were down 10 in the fourth quarter but rallied for a 27-23 win in Austin. Congratulations to Special Teams Coordinator Joe Robinson (@CoachJoeRob)!
  • Purdue also secured bowl eligibility by beating Indiana 31-24 to claim the Old Oaken Bucket. Before this year, the Boilermakers had not been to a bowl game since 2012. Congratulations to Defensive/Special Teams Analyst Kevin Wolthausen (@kwolthausen)!
  • Nevada rallied from a seven-point deficit in the second half to knock off in-state rival UNLV. Congratulations to Wolf Pack OL Coach Mason Miller (@NV_CoachMiller)!

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