CI Week 13 Highlights

In the last full weekend of FBS games, seven more CI coaches earned bowl eligibility, including Maryland RB Coach Elijah Brooks, Memphis Special Teams Coordinator Charles Bankins, Miami RB Coach Eric Hickson, Miami Offensive Analyst/RB Ronnie Regula, and the three coaches mentioned in the writeups below. Seven is also the number of CI FBS coaches who will be participating in conference championship games this weekend. Congratulations and good luck to Alabama Senior Defensive Analyst Mark Orphey, Baylor Defensive Coor./ILB Ron Roberts, Cincinnati RB Coach Darren Paige, Oregon Special Teams Analyst Chris Norris, Oregon Defensive Analyst Kwame Agyeman, San Diego State Senior Defensive Analyst Kevin Wolthausen and Utah State CB Coach Ray Brown! Going through the postseason landscape across levels, Ferris State Asst. Head Coach/QB Brian Rock, Colorado School of Mines Defensive Coordinator/LB Brandon Moore, Bowie State Defensive Coordinator Antone' Sewell, and Shepherd Special Teams Coor./DB Luke Wright all secured wins to advance to the Elite Eight of the Division II Playoffs. At the FCS level, congratulations to Southern Illinois WR Coach Mark Watson who advanced to the second round where the Salukis will meet North Dakota State. Please keep reading for more highlights from Week 13.

Virginia Tech defeats UVA 29-24 for Commonwealth Cup
One of the most difficult situations for a coaching staff can be following a head coach's dismissal when the assistants must continue coaching and recruiting knowing it is likely that they will not be retained by the next head coach. In a testament to the character of the Virginia Tech coaches, staff and players, the Hokies delivered arguably their best performance of the season less than two weeks after the school's decision to part ways with Justin Fuente. Virginia Tech beat Virginia for the 17th time in their last 18 meetings and secured bowl eligibility for the 28th time in 29 years. As is often the case in rivalry games, this was a back-and-forth affair complete with wild plays and huge swings in momentum. The Cavaliers racked up 302 yards in the first half and scored touchdowns on three of their first four possessions to take a 21-17 lead at the break. The second half was a different story. The Hokie defense corralled the nation's second leading passer, limiting Brennan Armstrong and the UVA offense to just 172 yards and one field goal in the second half. Virginia Tech's defensive line was at the center of the turnaround. With the score tied at 24-24 and the Cavaliers driving in VT territory, Hokie DL Norell Pollard put on his Superman cape, diagnosing a trick play, pursuing a UVA receiver 18 yards down the field, forcing a fumble and recovering it to put the Hokie offense back on the field. Tech took advantage, converting a field goal to take a three-point lead. After the teams traded punts, Hokie DL Jordan Williams sacked Armstrong, forcing a fumble that resulted in a safety to extend the lead to five. UVA advanced the ball to VT's 9-yard line but no further on its final possession as the Hokie defense held strong to claim the Commonwealth Cup. Congratulations to Virginia Tech DL Coach Bill Teerlinck (@BillTeerlinck) and Asst. Director of Player Personnel Kyshoen Jarrett (@Ky3fOUR) on the win and securing bowl eligibility! Teerlinck is in his second season in Blacksburg and last year guided DE Amare' Barno to a third-place finish among Power 5 defenders in tackles-for-loss. Teerlinck has eight years of NFL coaching experience including stints with the Bills and Colts. In 2009, he helped the Colts win the AFC title and reach Super Bowl XLIV. Teerlinck also served as an assistant at Nevada for four years, including two as co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach. A Virginia Tech alum, Jarrett joined the Hokies personnel staff this year after a stint as an athletic director at Corvian H.S. in North Carolina. He previously served as the assistant defensive backs coach in the NFL for Washington. After playing professionally for Washington, Jarrett accepted a coaching internship with the club and also completed the NFL-NCAA Coaches Academy.

No. 3 Alabama beats Auburn in 4th OT after late rally
Surveying the box score from Alabama's 24-22 win over Auburn in Saturday's Iron Bowl, it's hard to see how Alabama was ever at risk of losing to Auburn. The Crimson Tide outgained the Tigers by a margin of 388-159 and each team committed one turnover. Auburn only scored twice in regulation and the two scoring drives consisted of a total of 44 yards for the Tigers. Simply put, Alabama may have been pushed to the brink, needing a late 4th quarter touchdown drive to force overtime and eventually four overtime sessions, but the Crimson Tide defense was as dominant as it has ever been. Alabama limited Auburn to just 11 first downs and 5-of-17 on third down. Crimson Tide LB Will Anderson, Jr. posted another strong outing, tallying seven tackles, including three tackles-for-loss and one sack. For the season, Anderson leads the nation with 30.5 tackles-for-loss and ranks second with 14.5 sacks. Fellow LB Henry To'oTo'o added nine tackles and DB Kool-Aid McKinstry recorded his first career sack. With the win, the Crimson Tide finish the regular season at 11-1 and will meet Georgia in the SEC Championship next week in Atlanta. Congratulations and good luck to Alabama Senior Defensive Analyst Mark Orphey (@Mark_Orphey)! Orphey arrived in Tuscaloosa this season after a two-year stint as the defensive backs coach at Utah State. He previously spent two years in a similar capacity at Montana State and has also coached at South Carolina and Texas Southern. In 2018, he completed the Bill Walsh Minority Coaching Fellowship with the Minnesota Vikings.

LSU stuns No. 14 Texas A&M with last-minute TD, 27-24
Another program rocked by a mid-season head coaching change, LSU secured bowl eligibility with its biggest win of the season, a 27-24 win over the Aggies. In a fitting illustration of how nonsensical the coaching carousel and accompanying rumors can be, LSU staffers have spent the past six weeks having to listen to reports that one of the LSU brass' top choices for its next head coach is current Texas A&M Head Coach Jimbo Fisher. Perhaps the grass outside the coaches' offices in College Station isn't any greener than it is in Baton Rouge after all. The Tigers jumped out to a 17-7 lead at halftime thanks to a pair of touchdown passes from QB Max Johnson. After the teams traded field goals in the third quarter, Texas A&M scored two touchdowns to take a 24-20 lead midway through the fourth quarter. LSU's offense was forced to punt on its ensuing possession, but the Tiger defense forced a three-and-out to give Johnson & Company another chance. This time, they took advantage. Johnson connected with WR Jaray Jenkins on a 28-yard touchdown pass with 20 seconds left to cap a 9-play, 85-yard scoring drive. Texas A&M had one last chance to attempt a desperation comeback but LSU LB Damone Clark came up with two sacks in the final two plays to extinguish any Aggies hopes. For the game, Clark, a Butkus Award finalist, finished with a team-high 10 tackles, including 2.5 sacks and a quarterback hurry. Congratulations to LSU Defensive Analyst Justin Poindexter (@CoachJ_P) on the win! Poindexter joined the Bayou Bengals this season after serving as the running backs coach for the Tampa Bay Vipers of the XFL. He worked with the offensive line for the Toronto Argonauts from 2017-19 and boasts scouting experience from a stint with the Cleveland Browns. In 2015, he completed a Bill Walsh Minority Coaching Fellowship with the San Francisco 49ers.

No. 8 Ole Miss handles rival Mississippi State in Egg Bowl to secure likely New Year's Six bowl bid
Last Monday, when Ole Miss Head Coach Lane Kiffin was asked about the significance of the Egg Bowl, he replied, "It's just football. You really shouldn't hate people because of where you go to school." Five days later, Kiffin was doing his best Vince Carter impression, gesturing "game over" to the Rebel fans after QB Matt Corral connected with RB Jerrion Ealy on a 15-yard touchdown pass to put the hosts up 31-13 late in the fourth quarter. In Kiffin's defense, four hours of cowbell can cause anyone to lose their sanity. One person who kept their cool throughout the night was Ole Miss LB Chance Campbell, who led the Rebels with 12 tackles. The performance was a fitting one for Campbell, who has anchored a revamped Ole Miss defense this season, leading the team and ranking third in the SEC with 99 total tackles. As a unit, the Rebel defense kept the Bulldogs out of the end zone until the fourth quarter and recorded three sacks. Ole Miss currently ranks eighth in the nation with 3.33 sacks per game, helping the Rebels record the first 10-win regular season in program history. Congratulations to Rebel Defensive Analyst Elijah Sandweiss (@ElijahSandweiss) on the win and incredible regular season! Sandweiss is in his first season in Oxford after serving in a similar role at Texas in 2020. In 2019, he served as the defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach at Howard. No stranger to marquee programs, Sandweiss began his coaching career at Michigan, beginning as a student equipment manager in 2012 and working his way up to a defensive analyst in 2016. He also completed an internship with the Detroit Lions in 2013.

No. 21 Aztecs rally past Boise State, secure berth in Mountain West Championship Game
Similar to Ole Miss, San Diego State completed one of the best regular seasons in program history, matching a school record with 11 wins. Despite an offense that ranked outside of the top 100, the Aztecs rode a top 10 defense and the best punter in the nation to a Mountain West Conference West Division Championship. Entering Friday, San Diego State had held six opponents to 14 points or less but found themselves down 16-3 to Boise State with 8:39 still left in the second quarter. To make matters worse, starting QB Lucas Johnson went out with a leg injury shortly after the Broncos extended their lead to 13. Realizing the need to step up, the Aztec defense didn't yield a single point the rest of the game. Safety Patrick McMorris notched a career-high two interceptions and DL Jonah Tavai also set a new personal best with three sacks. On the other side of the ball, backup QB Jordon Brookshire entered the game and sparked the offense. Brookshire passed for 192 yards and one touchdown as the Aztecs closed the game on a 24-0 run to win, 27-16. With the win, San Diego State will host Mountain Division champion Utah State in the MWC Championship Game on Saturday. Congratulations on the win and division title to Aztec Senior Defensive Analyst Kevin Wolthausen (@kwolthausen)! Wolthausen is in his second season in San Diego after three years at Purdue where he served as the Boilermakers’ special teams coordinator and defensive ends coach. 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.     

Hawai'i reclaims Paniolo Trophy after first win at Wyoming since 1991
It was 48 hours to remember for Hawai'i Special Teams Analyst Ryan Matviko (@RMatviko). On Thanksgiving morning, Ryan and his wife welcomed their newborn baby into the world. On Friday night, the Rainbow Warriors picked up their sixth win of the year, a 38-14 win over Wyoming. Hawai'i QB Chevan Cordeiro erupted for 409 total yards and four touchdowns. The Honolulu native threw for 323 yards and rushed for 86 yards to surpass 6,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards in his college career. Cordeiro's favorite target on the day was WR Calvin Turner, Jr., who finished with five catches for 90 yards. Turner also scored on a two-yard rush, giving the Rainbow Warriors a 14-0 lead late in the first quarter. By the end of the first half, Hawai'i had stretched its lead to 31-7 and was well on its way to claiming the Paniolo Trophy - a trophy donated by a group of Hawai'i residents with Wyoming roots to commemorate the rivalry between the two former WAC programs. Congratulations to Matviko on the win and new addition to the family! Matviko is in his third year at UH, where he has served as an analyst on offense, defense and special teams. A true three-way coach, Matviko has coached linebackers at Robert Morris, receivers at Thiel College and running backs at MacMurray College.

Quick Hits
  • Army West Point RB Jakobi Buchanan scored three touchdowns, the Black Knight defense forced five turnovers-on-downs, and punter Zach Harding pinned two punts inside the 10-yard line to lift the team to a 31-16 win over Liberty. Congratulations to Co-Defensive Coor./Safeties Coach Shiel Wood (@ShielWood), Special Teams Coordinator Sean Saturnio (@CoachSaturnio), TE Coach Matt Drinkall (@DrinkallCoach) and OL Coach Saga Tuitele (@CoachTuitele)!
  • Navy set a new season-high for points in the Midshipmen's 38-14 win over Temple. Congratulations to Run Game Coordinator/OL Ashley Ingram (@CoachAIngram)!
  • Grambling racked up 500 yards of offense, including 347 yards on the ground, and kicker Garrett Urban drilled a 25-yard field goal as time expired to life the Tigers to a 29-26 win over Southern in the Bayou Classic. Congratulations to Offensive Coordinator/QB Eric Marty (@CoachEricMarty) and OL Coach Bryant Ross (@CoachBryantRoss)!
  • Concordia Prep (MD) repeated as conference champions with a 14-3 victory over Calvert Hall. Congratulations to Head Coach and former Navy Analyst Joe Battaglia (@CoachBatts)!

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