CI Week 2 Football Highlights

The NFL season kicked off last week and the CI Family started well. Cincinnati DL Coach Jacob Burney, Tampa Bay LB Coach Mark Duffner and Washington DB Coach Torrian Gray all won their openers and Los Angeles RB Coach Skip Peete will look to add to that total tonight when the Rams travel to Oakland to take on the Raiders. At the college level, several CI coaches continued strong starts to the season with wins in Week 2. Keep reading for more highlights from Week 2:

Hamilton Tiger-Cats sweep home-and-home series against Toronto Argonauts
One of the unique aspects of CFL scheduling is that it is not uncommon for a team to face the same opponent in consecutive weeks. That was the case for Hamilton who matched up against East Division rival Toronto twice in six days and earned wins in both contests to move into a tie for the division lead. On Saturday, the Ti-Cats once again relied on a smothering defense that forced the Argonauts into six punts, one turnover-on-downs and one interception in a 36-25 win. Through 13 weeks of the CFL season, Hamilton leads the East Division in Scoring Defense having allowed an average of 23 points per game compared to its division rivals who have surrendered over 28 points per game on average. Congratulations to Hamilton LB Coach Robert Lyles who is in his first season in the CFL after a three-year stint as the associate head coach and outside linebackers coach at Incarnate Word. Lyles has also coached at Army and Jackson State in addition to completing Bill Walsh Minority Coaching Fellowships with Buffalo and Tennessee. 

Vanderbilt's offense clicks in 41-10 win over Nevada
In five seasons as a player and 11 more on the coaching staff, Cameron Norcross (@CoachCNorcross) helped build Nevada into one of the premier non-Power 5 programs in the country. During Norcross' time in Reno, the Wolf Pack won two WAC Championships, reached seven bowl games and accrued six top 15 finishes in total offense. Despite the strength of the Nevada program, Norcross has had little trouble defeating his alma mater since leaving in 2012 to accept a position at Fresno State where he helped guide the Bulldogs to three wins in four contests against the Wolf Pack. Now in his third season as the offensive line coach at Vanderbilt, Norcross had his first opportunity to play against his former team as a Commodore and emerged victorious again. Four different Vanderbilt running backs combined to rush for 197 yards and three touchdowns on 35 carries (5.62 ypc). Junior Ke'Shawn Vaughn led the way with 93 rushing yards and two touchdowns. In pass protection, Norcross' unit only allowed one sack of quarterback Kyle Shurmur. Congratulations to Norcross who was featured in a great article by the Reno Gazette Journal last week that discussed his time at Nevada and development into one of the top offensive line coaches in the country.

Colorado State stuns Arkansas 34-27
Down 18 points late in the third quarter against an SEC program, Colorado State was staring at an 0-3 start and a deflating beginning to a season that began with high expectations. Instead, the Rams scored 25 unanswered points and rallied to pull off one of the biggest wins in program history. After Arkansas scored a touchdown to go up 27-9 with 7:28 remaining in the third quarter, CSU’s defense clamped down and held the Razorbacks to just 44 yards the rest of the way. Offensively, the Rams scored on each of their last four possessions, capped off by Izzy Matthews’ one-yard touchdown run with eight seconds left in the game to complete the comeback. For the game, CSU also recorded two interceptions including one by defensive back Jordan Fogal. Congratulations to Eric Lewis (@CoachEricLewis) who is in his first season as the cornerbacks coach for the Rams after spending the 2017 as a defensive assistant at Tennessee. From 2015-16, he served as the defensive backs coach at Georgia State where he directed the Panthers' secondary to a #6 national ranking in Pass Efficiency Defense. As Eastern Michigan's defensive coordinator in 2009, Lewis coordinated the top ranked pass defense in the country. He has also coached for the Green Bay Packers, Buffalo, Louisville, Ball State, Weber State and Bucknell.

Cornelius, Oklahoma State roll over South Alabama 55-13
Through the first two weeks of the season, Oklahoma State has scored 113 points and amassed 1,349 yards of total offense. Needless to say, any concerns over first-year starting quarterback Taylor Cornelius have been put to rest. Against the Jaguars, Cornelius completed 25-of-40 passes for 428 yards and one touchdown to lead the Cowboys to another blowout win. The main beneficiaries of Cornelius' stellar performance were wide receivers Tylan Wallace and Tyron Johnson. Wallace and Johnson each set new career highs with 166 and 137 receiving yards, respectively. In the ground game, OSU running back Justice Hill scored two touchdowns and now has three for the season. Congratulations to Offensive Analyst Brian Rock (@Coach_Rock) who is in his first season in Stillwater after spending the last three seasons as the offensive coordinator at Holy Cross, including serving as the interim head coach for the final four games of 2017. Rock has also coordinated offenses at Kent State and Western Michigan and from 2006-10 he served as the wide receivers coach at Purdue.

Morehead State grounds and pounds to 48-19 win over Mount St. Joseph in home opener
Lawson Page did it all for the Eagles on Saturday night as the senior quarterback rushed for 146 yards and threw for three touchdowns in a dominant win for Morehead State. Not far off of Page's pace on the ground was running back Jovan Smith who rushed for 104 yards and one touchdown on 14 carries (7.4 ypc). Overall, the Eagles racked up 422 rushing yards which marked the most for the program since it joined the Pioneer League in 2001. Defensively, Morehead State only gave up 282 total yards just one week after Mount St. Joseph accrued 600 yards in a 59-21 win. Individually, cornerback Kalen Carson led the Eagles with eight tackles and defensive lineman Jeremiah Draper recorded 1.5 of the team's four sacks. Congratulations to Rob Tenyer (@RobTenyerMSU) who is in his sixth season as head coach and 18th season overall at Morehead State. Tenyer was a part of the program's four consecutive Pioneer League South Division titles from 2002-05 and has mentored over 100 all-conference selections during his tenure with the program.

Quick Hits
  • Georgia Kicker Rodrigo Blankenship converted both of his field goal attempts as the #3 Bulldogs rolled to a 41-17 win over #24 South Carolina. Congratulations to Georgia Special Teams Coordinator Scott Fountain (@CoachSFountain)!
  • Alcorn State blocked two punts and recovered one for a touchdown in a 78-0 blowout win over Louisiana College. Congratulations to Special Teams Coordinator Lane Powell (@CoachLanePowell)!
  • Kansas Wesleyan scored 69 points in the first half en route to a 83-0 win over Friends University. Congratulations to Head Coach Matt Drinkall (@DrinkallKWU) who currently has his team ranked #16 in the NAIA Coaches Poll!

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