CI Week 2 Highlights

Lots of talk over the summer focused on the further separation between the top programs in college football and everyone else. As a result of conference realignment, NIL opportunities and the transfer portal, the prevailing thought was that the elites would continue to amass more and more resources to attract the top players while leaving other programs and conferences behind. Such doomsday talk may have been premature based on Saturday's results. In the words of College GameDay's Lee Corso, "Not so fast, my friend" as upsets were the theme of Week 2. Seven teams in the Top 25 fell to unranked or lower ranked opponents on Saturday, including three in the Top 10. Congratulations to Washington State CB Coach Ray Brown (@CoachB212) and Tennessee WR Coach Kelsey Pope (@CoachKelseyPope) who were each on the winning side in two of those games. Please keep reading for more highlights from Week 2.
Following Saturday's drama, the NFL kicked off its first Sunday of regular season games. A lot has changed for the Saints since the conclusion of the 2021 campaign, including a new head coach and the return of several playmakers, but by Sunday night they were celebrating a win in Atlanta over the Falcons just as they had done to close out last year's regular season. The other constant for the Saints on Sunday was the steady presence of Pete Carmichael directing a prolific offense regardless of who's doing the throwing, catching or running. Making his first appearance since Halloween, QB Jameis Winston threw for 269 yards and directed two touchdown drives in the fourth quarter to rally New Orleans from a 26-10 deficit. WR Michael Thomas, who missed all of the 2021 season, was on the receiving end of both of Winston's touchdown passes and finished the game with five catches for 57 yards. Making his debut for the Black and Gold, WR Jarvis Landry led all receivers with seven receptions for 114 yards. Despite the two touchdown drives, a missed two-point conversion meant that the Saints still found themselves down two and facing long odds as Atlanta held the ball in New Orleans' territory with under a minute to play. But a defensive stand followed by two deep balls from Winston led to a 51-yard field goal from Will Lutz for the win. Congratulations to Carmichael on the thrilling victory! Now in his 17th season with the Saints and 14th as offensive coordinator, Carmichael has helped direct an offense that has ranked first in the NFL in yardage on six occasions and in the top 10 each campaign from 2006-19, including a first place finish in 2009 when the Saints won Super Bowl XLIV. Prior to arriving in New Orleans, Carmichael coached for the Chargers, Washington and Browns at the pro level, as well as New Hampshire and Louisiana Tech on the college side.
As a 17-point underdog, the odds were against Washington State heading into Saturday afternoon's matchup at Wisconsin. Cougars CB Coach Ray Brown (@CoachB212) knew that he'd need his corners to step up in a big way in run support against a team that is perfectly content churning out three yards and a pile of dust. True to form, the Badgers handed the ball off 42 times on Saturday but the Cougars were up to the challenge, holding Wisconsin star RB Braelon Allen under 100 rushing yards for just the second time in the last 11 games. When the Badgers did try to throw it, the Washington State defense was equally stout, keeping Wisconsin wide receivers out of the end zone as starting corners Derrick Langford, Jr. and Chau Smith-Wade each recorded pass breakups. The Cougar defense also forced two fourth quarter turnovers in the red zone to preserve their three-point lead. It wasn't always pretty, but when Washington State QB Cameron Ward finished leading a drive that consumed the final 5:14 of the game, the Cougars had pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the young season. Congratulations to Brown on the big upset! Brown spent the 2021 season in the same role at Utah State, where he helped guide the Aggies to a Mountain West Conference Championship and a win in the LA Bowl. He previously spent two seasons coaching corners at Troy following a three-year stint in the same role at Abilene Christian. With the Wildcats, Brown coached a secondary that helped set a new program record with 13 interceptions in 2018. This is his second stint in Pullman as he held graduate assistant positions at Washington State and Arizona State.
Kansas WR Coach Terrence Samuel (@CoachTSamuel) has been in Lawrence for less than a year but he's already helping the Jayhawks end streaks that were decades in the making. With Kansas' overtime win at West Virginia, the Jayhawks are 2-0 for the first time since 2011 and the win marks the program's first opening victory in Big 12 games since 2009. The win was also Kansas' first-ever at West Virginia. To do it, the Jayhawks had to survive a roller coaster contest. By the end of the first quarter, the Mountaineers had jumped out to a 14-0 lead and looked well on their way to preserving the Jayhawk streaks of futility. But the visitors responded by going on a 35-14 run over the next two quarters to take a seven-point lead into the fourth quarter. A 30-yard touchdown run by Kansas RB Danile Hishaw, Jr. stretched the lead to 42-31, but the Mountaineers ended regulation on a 11-0 run to send the game to the extra session. In overtime, Kansas QB Jalon Daniels hit WR Quentin Skinner on a four-yard touchdown pass to put the Jayhawks back on top. A few plays later, Kansas DB Cobee Bryant jumped a route and took the interception all the way back for a pick-six. While Skinner produced the highlight reel catch for Samuel's wide receiver corps, he was part of a well-rounded effort that saw eight different Jayhawks catch 18 passes for 219 yards and three scores. Congratulations to Samuel on the win and Skinner's big catch! Samuel spent the 2021 season at Syracuse and the season before that as the passing game coordinator at UNLV. He previously spent nine seasons at Michigan State, including eight as the receivers coach. Under Samuel's guidance, Spartan receivers earned All-Big Ten recognition on eight occasions with two being named Big Ten Receiver of the Year. Overall, Samuel won five bowl games in seven postseason appearances while at Michigan State. He previously worked with the receivers at Central Michigan and has also coached at North Dakota State, Nebraska-Omaha, Southeast Missouri and Arizona.
The Cardiac Canes were at it again on Saturday night in Tulsa. Last season, Tulsa played in nine games decided by one possession, coming out on top in five of them. Golden Hurricanes CB Coach Gary McGraw (@DBCoachMcGraw) was busy guiding Sam Houston State to a #1 national ranking and FCS Quarterfinal appearance in 2021, but he is quickly learning how things go for Tulsa. Last weekend, the Golden Hurricane played a double overtime affair at Wyoming, coming up just short on a missed field goal that would have sent the game to a third extra session. For one half on Saturday, it looked as though Tulsa might finally have smooth sailing as they led Northern Ilinois by a 24-7 margin heading into the break. But a 28-7 run by the Huskies put the game in doubt as the visitors led by four in the final minutes. To turn the tide once again, Tulsa first came up with a key fourth down stand near midfield to give the offense the ball once again with 1:54 remaining. Tulsa RB Steven Anderson restored the lead on a one-yard touchdown rush with 58 seconds to play. The Huskies would advance to their 45-yard line but no closer as Golden Hurricane CB Tyon Davis recorded his first career interception to send the home crowd into celebration. Congratulations to McGraw on the win and Davis' big play! McGraw spent six seasons at Sam Houston State following a five-year stint as the defensive backs coach at Midwestern State. In the last 11 seasons, he has been a part of seven playoff teams including the 2021 FCS spring national championship and a semifinal appearance with SHSU in 2017.
On a rainy afternoon in Lexington, VMI overcame the elements and the Bison to win their home opener. Asst. Head Coach/CB Billy Parker (@CoachBParker17) and the rest of the Keydet staff put together the perfect game plan for the conditions, relying on the ground game offensively, an opportunistic defense and sound special teams. RB Rashad Raymond got the hosts on the board midway through the first quarter when he scored on a nine-yard rush up the middle. On VMI's next possession, QB Seth Morgan found WR Max Brimigion uncovered down the sideline for a 55-yard score and the Keydets were off to the races. Defensively, DB Josh Knapp recorded his first two career interceptions and LB Stone Snyder led all players with 11 tackles. CB Alex Oliver also had a superb performance for VMI, finishing with nine tackles and two pass breakups. As a unit, the Keydet defense kept Bucknell off the scoresheet until near the end of the third quarter and limited the Bison to just 149 yards of offense. Congratulations to Parker on the win and dominant defensive performance! Parker is in his third season at VMI and first on defense and as assistant head coach after working with the team's running backs during the spring and fall seasons of 2021. In the spring season, he helped the program win its first SoCon championship since 1977. Before arriving in Lexington, Parker coached the tight ends for South Carolina State and coached safeties for the Tampa Bay Vipers of the XFL in 2020. A standout defensive back as an NFL and CFL player, Parker has also coached the position for the Montreal Alouettes and completed the Bill Walsh Coaching Fellowship with the Colts in 2019.
As a program, Louisiana-Monroe is fully aware of the threat that an underdog can pose. Last year, the Warhawks went into Death Valley and hung with LSU deep into the fourth quarter before ultimately coming up short. On Saturday night in Monroe, the Warhawks were on the other side of the table, an FBS program facing a dangerous FCS program in Nicholls. In typical fashion, the underdog visitors held a 7-0 lead after the first quarter. Knowing what to expect, the Warhawks were unfazed by the Colonels' fast start and responded emphatically to take control of the game. After a pair of touchdown runs from running backs Andrew Henry and Malik Jackson gave ULM a 14-7 lead, CB Car'lin Vigers stepped up with a huge play to ensure the hosts would carry the positive momentum into halftime. With Nicholls facing a third down with under two minutes remaining in the half, Vigers stuffed a Nicholls receiver behind the line of scrimmage for a four-yard loss to force a punt. The Colonels shanked the ensuing punt, gifting the Warhawks great field position that they converted into another touchdown when QB Chandler Rogers connected with TE Zach Rasmussen on a four-yard pitch-and-catch. ULM would add two more touchdowns in the second half en route to a comfortable 35-7 final score. Congratulations to Warhawks DB Coach Otis Mounds (@CoachMounds) on the win! Mounds is in his first season in Monroe following a two-year stint as the defensive pass game coordinator at Hampton. He previously spent five seasons at Akron, where he mentored two All-MAC selections as the Zips won the MAC East in 2017 and finished in the top 25 nationally in multiple pass defense categories. Mounds also boasts experience coaching cornerbacks at Texas Tech and possesses head coaching experience at two high school programs.
At halftime, Utah Tech found itself tied with Chadron State at 7-7. Despite sizeable leads across the stat sheet, stalled drives, a missed field goal and an untimely interception kept the door open for the visitors. The door was forcefully shut three plays into the second half. With the Eagles facing a third-and-five, Trailblazer LB Kaejin Smith-Bejgrowicz picked off a pass and returned it 32 yards to the house to put Utah Tech back up seven. From there, the floodgates were open. The Trailblazer offense scored a touchdown on all but two of its second half possessions and the defense added another pick-six to put the exclamation mark on a 56-10 rout. Overall, the Utah Tech defense accounted for five turnovers in the second half, seven tackles-for-loss, and held the Eagles to just 288 yards of offense. Up front for the Trailblazers, DL Dylan Hendrickson wreaked havoc in the backfield all night, tallying four tackles, one tackle-for-loss and one pass breakup. Congratulations to Utah Tech DL Coach Loni Fangupo (@LoniFangupo) on the win and Hendrickson's performance! Fangupo is in his fourth season at Utah Tech and in 2019 he mentored Hendrickson to a program record-setting 10 sacks. He previously served as the defensive line coach at Snow College and was a student intern at BYU. After playing collegiately at BYU and USC, Fangupo enjoyed a three-year playing career in the NFL.
Quick Hits
  • Oregon State LB Jack Colletto scored on a two-yard rush as time expired to give the Beavers a thrilling 35-32 comeback win at Fresno State. Congratulations to OSU DB Coach Blue Adams (@CoachAdamsOSU) and RB Coach A.J. Steward (@Coach_Steward)!
  • The Boise State defense gave up just seven points to New Mexico, allowed the Lobos to gain only 64 yards in the first half, and recorded 12 TFL's and six sacks in a 31-14 win on Friday night! Congratulations to Boise State Co-Special Teams Coor./EDGE Kelly Poppinga (@Coach_Popp)!
  • Abilene Christian TE Noah Caldwell caught an 8-yard touchdown pass to give the Wildcats the lead for good in a 21-13 win over Prairie View A&M. Congratulations to ACU Special Teams Coor./TE Matt Clark (@Coach_MattClark)!
  • Ouachita Baptist pitched a shutout, forced two turnovers and came up with two fourth down stops in a 45-0 win over Southern Nazarene. Congratulations to Tigers Defensive Coordinator/LB Roy Thompson, Jr. (@RoyThompsonFB)!

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