CI Week 15 Highlights

Bowl season is underway and the Coaches Inc. Family is throwing strikes as four CI coaches have already claimed bowl wins. In Division II, Ferris State Asst. Head Coach/QB Brian Rock (@Coach_Rock) and the Bulldogs repeated as national champions in emphatic fashion. In NFL action, five CI coaches currently have their teams in playoff position, including Chargers WR Coach Chris Beatty (@BeattyCoach), Giants Assistant Special Teams Coach Anthony Blevins (@DocBPhd33), Cowboys Offensive Quality Control Coach Chase Haslett (@Coach_Haslett), Titans Assistant OL Coach Jason Houghtaling (@UpstateNYHom) and Dolphins Offensive Assistant Kolby Smith (@coachkolbysmith). Keep reading for more highlights from this past week.

One week after New York punter Jamie Gillan had a performance to forget that included an illegal drop kick of a dropped punt, he came through with one of his best games of the season. In a game with limited offense, Gillan and the Giants' punt coverage unit had a stellar night, catapulting the G-Men to a 20-12 win and adding a significant boost to their playoff chances. Gillan boomed five punts an average of 42.6 yards and the coverage unit downed three of them inside the Commanders' 20-yard line while giving up only four punt return yards. One of those punts inside the 20 contributed to the play of the game when two plays after the change of possession, DE Kayvon Thibodeaux forced a strip sack that he recovered in the end zone to give New York a 7-3 lead early in the second quarter. The Giants were also solid in other phases on special teams as kicker Graham Gano converted both of his field goal attempts, including a 50-yarder, and Richie James returned a punt for 23 yards. Congratulations to New York Assistant Special Teams Coach Anthony Blevins (@DocBPhd33) on the big win!

In a championship tilt that featured two of the finalists for the Harlon Hill Award, Colorado School of Mines QB John Matocha and Ferris State DE Caleb Murphy, it was a Ferris State quarterback who stole the show. QB Carson Gulker scored on a 2-yard rush on the Bulldogs' first drive of the game and Ferris State never looked back. Gulker went on to rush for three touchdowns as the Bulldogs raced out to a 27-0 halftime lead and cruised to a 41-14 victory to become the first back-to-back champions in Division II since Northwest Missouri State in 2015-16. Complementing Gulker in the backfield, Ferris State QB Mylik Mitchell threw for 170 yards on 14-of-18 attempts. Congratulations to Asst. Head Coach/QB Brian Rock (@Coach_Rock) on another title!

For just the third time in program history and the first time in 16 years, Oregon State has won 10 games in a season. After the Beavers and Gators traded punts on their opening drives, adversity struck OSU when PAC-12 Freshman of the Year RB Damien Martinez went out on the team's second drive with a shoulder injury. Luckily for the Beavers, RB Coach A.J. Steward (@Coach_Steward) had backup RB Deshaun Fenwick ready to roll. Fenwick rushed for a season-high 107 yards on 21 carries (5.1 ypc) as OSU cruised to a 30-3 win over Florida, its first ever over an SEC program. Defensively, ILB Kyrei Fisher-Morris led the Beavers with 11 tackles while defensive backs Alex Austin and Ryan Cooper, Jr. each logged a pass breakup as the Gators mustered just 219 yards of offense. Congratulations to Steward and OSU DB Coach Blue Adams (@CoachAdamsOSU)!

While Deion captured the headlines, the Eagles captured the hardware. North Carolina Central Defensive Coordinator/DL Courtney Coard (@CoachCoard) and the Eagles claimed the first Celebration Bowl and fourth HBCU National Championship in program history with a dramatic 41-34 overtime win over Jackson State. NCCU safety Khalil Baker earned defensive MVP honors after racking up a team-best 10 tackles while defensive linemen Deontrae Brown, Colby Warrior and Jessie Malit all recorded sacks. Coard's defense also forced a turnover when DB JaJuan Hudson forced a fumble that DB Manny Smith recovered. Smith came up big again on the final play of the game, applying pressure to JSU QB Shedeur Sanders and forcing an incomplete pass on fourth down. Congratulations to Coard on the historic win!

All season long, Troy's defense has carried the team to unprecedented heights. The Trojan defense delivered once again on Friday, stymieing the Roadrunners in a defensive slugfest. Troy forced five UTSA turnovers in addition to two stops on fourth down to secure the program's fifth straight bowl win and most wins (12) in a season in the school's FBS history. The Trojans fourth down stops came on the Roadrunners' final two possessions, including one inside the five-yard line to preserve Troy's 18-12 lead. LB KJ Robertson won Cure Bowl MVP honors after returning an interception for 61 yards and logging nine tackles. Not surprisingly, Trojan LB Carlton Martial led all players with 14 tackles to finish his career with an NCAA-best 577 tackles. Congratulations to Troy Defensive Assistant David Mackie (@Coach_DMACK) on the win and dominant defensive effort!

On the move...

 Congratulations to the following CI coaches who have accepted new positions in the last few weeks:
  • Syracuse Offensive Coor./QB Jason Beck (@Coach_Beck7)
  • UNC Pembroke Head Coach Mark Hall (@CoachHallUNCP)
  • Delaware State Head Coach Lee Hull (@FBCoachHull42)
  • West Texas A&M Head Coach Josh Lynn (@CoachJoshLynn)
  • BYU Special Teams Coor./DefAsst Kelly Poppinga (@Coach_Popp)
  • Arizona State Pass Game Coor./WR Ra'Shaad Samples (@RashaadSamples)
  • Cincinnati RB Coach De'Rail Sims (@DeRailSims)

One more CI coach will be in action tonight when the Rams travel to Green Bay to take on the Packers on Monday Night Football. Good luck to Los Angeles Asst. Head Coach/TE Thomas Brown (@iamthomasbrown) and Asst. OL Coach Nick Jones (@CoachNickJones)!

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