CI Week 2 Highlights

The NFL season kicked off last week and the CI Family started strong. Bills WR Coach Phil McGeoghan (@PhilMcGeoghan) made his debut as a full-time position coach in the NFL and helped guide Buffalo to a 21-12 victory over the Jets. Rams RB Coach Skip Peete also rolled to a big win with a 46-9 dismantling of the Colts. Falcons Asst. SpecTeams Coach Eric Sutulovich began his ninth season in Atlanta with a win and Chargers RB Coach Alfredo Roberts will look to do the same tonight when the Bolts travel to Denver to take on the Broncos. Please find the rest of this week's highlights below.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers gain revenge in Banjo Bowl win over Saskatchewan Roughriders
The Blue Bombers entered Saturday's matchup having ascended to second place in the West Division of the CFL after winning five of their previous six games. However, their one loss during that stretch came against their rivals from Saskatchewan in the Labour Day Classic. The two teams traditionally meet on Labour Day as well as the following week in a game that has come to be known as the Banjo Bowl since 2004 when Winnipeg's kicker referred the people of Saskatchewan as "a bunch of banjo-pickin' inbreds." While the title remains unofficial, it has nevertheless heightened the animosity between the two clubs. Saturday's contest was no different and this time the Blue Bombers came out on top thanks to a huge game from DB Maurice Leggett. With the score tied 7-7 early in the second quarter, Leggett returned a punt 97 yards for a touchdown to give Winnipeg the lead and set a new franchise record for longest punt return. Leggett later returned an interception for a score to help the hosts cruise to a 48-28 win. Congratulations to Winnipeg Special Teams Coordinator Paul Boudreau (@bouqb2) who received a solid all-around performance from his special teams units. Along with Leggett's punt return, Kevin Fogg returned a punt for 29 yards and the Bombers also recovered a trick onside kick attempt. Boudreau is in his second season in Winnipeg following a four-year stint as the assistant special teams coach for the St. Louis Rams. He also has experience coaching quarterbacks, wide receivers and running backs during 16 seasons coaching at the college level.

Georgia's defense backs up smack talk against Notre Dame, 20-19
UGA's trip to South Bend was the furthest north that a Georgia football team had traveled for a game since 1965. Despite the distance, the game felt as though it was being played between the hedges of Sanford Stadium as masses of Georgia fans made the trip north to see their Bulldogs with many sticking around until Sunday to also catch the Falcons play in Chicago. The support was key for a Georgia team starting a true freshman at quarterback in Jake Fromm. Fromm put up modest numbers but he did just enough for Georgia's defense and special teams to tip the scales in the Bulldogs' favor. In particular, Georgia's senior outside linebackers Lorenzo Carter and Davin Bellamy had monster games. In the third quarter, with Georgia nursing a 17-16 lead and the Irish driving into UGA territory, Carter sacked Notre Dame QB Brandon Wimbush, stripped the ball and recovered the fumble in one fell swoop. Early in the fourth quarter, the Irish retook a 19-17 lead on a field goal but Georgia kicker Rodrigo Blankenship answered with a field goal of his own to give UGA a 20-19 lead with 3:34 remaining. On Notre Dame's final drive, it was Bellamy's turn to come up with the strip sack and Carter recovered his second fumble en route to being named SEC Defensive Player of the Week. Congratulations to Defensive Assistant Will Windham (@CoachWindham) and Special Teams Analyst Scott Fountain (@CoachSFountain)! Fountain joined the Georgia staff this summer following eight years at Auburn where he helped the Tigers win two SEC titles and the 2010 National Championship. Overall, he has coached in three national championship games and nine bowl games during his 24-year college coaching career that includes stops at Florida State, Iowa State, UCF, Middle Tennessee and Georgia Southern. Windham is in his second season in Athens working primarily with the outside linebackers. Previously, he coached the defensive line at Davidson and has also served on staffs at Penn State and Mississippi State.

Mississippi State smothers Louisiana Tech
Georgia wasn't the only SEC defense to have a dominant performance on the road this weekend as Mississippi State improved to 2-0 after downing Louisiana Tech 57-21. In a game that featured several bizarre plays, MSU came out on the right side of most of them including a play on which Louisiana Tech lost 87 yards after a bad snap was kicked by multiple players all the way down to the opposite end of the field. MSU DT Jeffery Simmons was the biggest beneficiary of the strange bounces as the sophomore scored two touchdowns - the first after he blocked a punt and recovered the loose ball in the end zone and the second by returning a fumble 90 yards for a score that put MSU up 50-14. Simmons, who also blocked a La Tech extra point attempt, was named the SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week for his performance. In all, MSU's defense registered four sacks and limited Louisiana Tech to just 4-15 on third down conversions. Congratulations to MSU DL Coach Brian Baker (@MSUCoachBaker) who is in his second season in Starkville after 19 years in the NFL. While in the league, Baker coached four All-Pro selections, seven Pro Bowl selections and had at least one player record double digit sacks on 11 occasions from 1996-2014. At the college level, he won three ACC titles and the 1990 national championship with Georgia Tech.

NC State scores 27 unanswered points to come back and beat Marshall, 37-20
In their three previous meetings, NC State had beaten Marshall each time, but two of those three were close, one-possession battles. In both of those games, George Barlow (@CoachGBarlow) was a graduate assistant coach for the Thundering Herd, the same program for which he starred as a player. Now the Asst. Head Coach for Defense/CB at NC State, Barlow recalls the frustration of those games in this great piece published last week by the Charleston Gazette. While he was in no mood to see his alma mater finally get over the hump in their fourth try, that's exactly what looked to be happening when Marshall jumped out to a 20-10 lead late in the second quarter. The visitors' lead didn't last long, though, as NC State QB Ryan Finley and WR Jaylen Samuels connected for a 39-yard touchdown pass off of a flea-flicker to cut the deficit to three on the ensuing possession. Finley added another touchdown pass before the half to give the Wolfpack the lead and from there the defense took over. CB Johnathan Alston led the team with seven tackles and broke up one pass as NCSU shut Marshall out during the second half to improve to 1-1. Congratulations to Barlow who is in his fourth season in Raleigh and has helped guide the Wolfpack to a bowl game in each of his first three seasons. He arrived at NC State following a two-year stint at Vanderbilt where he guided the Commodores to two top 25 finishes in pass defense. Barlow served as New Mexico's interim head coach for much of 2011 and won a national championship as James Madison's defensive coordinator in 2004.

UTSA earns first Power 5 win in Waco, stifles Baylor 17-10
Coming off of its first bowl game in program history, the Roadrunners didn't waste any time in achieving another milestone for 2017. After having their opening game versus Houston canceled due to Hurricane Harvey, UTSA traveled to Waco and left with their first-ever win over a team from a Power 5 conference. Make no mistake, there was nothing lucky about UTSA's upset of Baylor as the Roadrunners dominated the Bears from start to finish. Early in the second half, UTSA QB Dalton Sturm connected with WR Kerry Thomas Jr. on a 29-yard touchdown pass to give the Roadrunners the lead at 14-7. From there, UTSA's offense turned into a ground-and-pound machine as RB Jalen Rhodes took over the game. Rhodes finished with 103 yards on 20 carries (5.2 avg) and helped the visitors win the time of possession battle 38:52 - 21:08.  The teams traded field goals in the fourth quarter and that was enough to allow UTSA RB Coach Everette Sands (@EveretteSands) and the Roadrunners to return home with another program defining victory. Congratulations to Sands who is in his second season with UTSA! Sands arrived in San Antonio following a four-year stint at South Carolina where he mentored a pair of NFL Draft picks in Marcus Lattimore and Mike Davis. Overall, Sands has worked with 1,000-yard rushers at four different schools including South Carolina, Ohio, Citadel and Elon. He spent the 2011 season in the same role at NC State and completed the NCAA Expert Coaches Forum in 2010.

Rice runs over UTEP to get into the win column
Leading up to Rice's trip to El Paso, the message from the coaching staff to the players was focused on learning to compartmentalize. In just two weeks, the Owls had flown halfway around the world for an opening game in Australia only to return back to the U.S. and learn that they weren't able to return to Houston because of flooding. Instead, Rice accepted TCU's invitation to setup shot in Fort Worth for the week. When the team finally was able to return home, they saw firsthand the devastation left behind by the storm. Despite all of this, Rice was able to put together a masterful performance against UTEP in the C-USA opener for both teams. Ronnie Vinklarek's offensive line opened massive holes throughout the game which allowed running backs Sam Stewart and Nahshon Ellerbe to run wild through the Miner secondary. As a team, the Owls rushed for 306 yards and had three rushing touchdowns in the 31-14 win. Congratulations to Vinklarek who is in his ninth season at Rice and has coached in 3 of the 12 bowl games in program history! In 2013, he helped guide the Owls to their first outright conference championship in 56 years. Overall, Vinklarek possesses over 30 years of coaching experience including stints in the NFL with the Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans.

Quick Hits
  • Old Dominion posted a school record eight sacks in its 17-7 win over UMass. Congratulations to Head Coach Bobby Wilder (@ODUCoachWilder) and Asst. DefCoor/Safeties Kermit Buggs (@KBuggs4)!
  • Jimmye Laycock moved into a tie for the lead as the nation's winningest active D1 head coach (244) as William & Mary defeated Norfolk State 20-6.
  • New Hampshire raced out to a 22-0 halftime lead over FBS member Georgia Southern and held on for a 22-12 win. Congratulations to Wildcat OffCoor/QB Ryan Carty (@ryancarty10)!

Sadly, another hurricane is wreaking havoc on millions of families this week, particularly in the state of Florida. Our thoughts and prayers are with USF DB Coach Blue Adams (@CoachAdamsUSF), UCF Assoc. Head Coach/SpecTeams/LB Jovan Dewitt (@Coach_Dewitt), Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Coach Mark Duffner, FAU WR Coach Gary Harrell (@CoachFlea), and FIU SpecTeams Coor. James Vollono (@CoachVollono).

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