CI Week 3 Football Highlights

Similar to Week 2 of the 2017 season when Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc on the Florida coast that resulted in several game cancellations and postponements, Mother Nature struck again this past week as Hurricane Florence caused widespread destruction throughout the Carolinas and beyond. Given the heightened safety concerns, 19 Division I games were played earlier than scheduled, postponed or canceled. Up north, a different type of weather was in play as parts of Alberta and Saskatchewan had their first snowfall of the year. Cold weather notwithstanding, Ottawa Offensive Coordinator Jaime Elizondo (@CoachElizondo) and WR Coach Winston October (@CoachOctober) snapped Saskatchewan's four-game win streak with a 30-25 victory on Saturday night. With the CFL season entering its final third, Elizondo and October are back in first place in the East Division while Hamilton LB Coach Robert Lyles and BC DL Coach Randy Melvin are also currently in playoff positions. Keep reading for more highlights from Week 3.

Defense dominant as BC Lions down Montreal Alouettes
In a league known for gaudy offensive numbers, BC has climbed back into playoff contention on the strength of its defense. The success the Lions' defense has had in recent weeks has started up front with Melvin's defensive line. This was the case again on Friday night in Montreal as defensive linemen Shawn Lemon and Davon Coleman each recorded two of the team's seven sacks. The pressure generated by BC's defensive front also led to four interceptions, two of which the Lions returned for touchdowns. Both of those pick-sixes came in the fourth quarter as BC scored 19 points unanswered to turn a 14-13 deficit into a 32-14 win. For the season, BC leads the CFL with 31 sacks as DE Odell Willis and Lemon rank second and third individually with nine and eight sacks respectively. With the win, BC moves into a tie for the crossover playoff position but holds the tiebreaker due to having played fewer games than Winnipeg. Congratulations to Melvin who is in the first season of his second stint with the Lions. In 2011, Melvin was part of the BC team that won the 99th Grey Cup and he has also won a Super Bowl during his time as the defensive line coach for the Patriots. In the NFL, Melvin has also served as the defensive line coach for the Browns and Buccaneers in additions to stints at the college level with Miami, Purdue, Rutgers, Temple and FIU among others.

FIU fires on all cylinders as they steamroll UMass 63-24
The Panthers were one of the biggest surprises of last season as the first-year staff improved upon a 4-8 record from 2016 to go 8-5 in 2017 including an appearance in the Gasparilla Bowl. This season, FIU isn't catching anyone by surprise but is still maintaining its winning ways. The Panthers improved to 2-1 with a complete demolition of the Minutemen in which they received contributions from all three phases. Offensively, QB James Morgan threw for 207 yards and two touchdowns while running backs Shawndarrius Phillips and Napoleon Maxwell each rushed for two scores. The defensive highlight of the night belonged to LB Rocky Jacques-Louis who intercepted a pass and returned it 59 yards for a touchdown. The Panthers' special teams also got in on the scoring in the third quarter when Maurice Alexander returned a punt 69 yards for a touchdown. Check out the highlight reel worthy return here. Next up for FIU is a highly anticipated matchup with crosstown rival Miami. Congratulations and good luck to FIU Special Teams Coordinator James Vollono (@CoachVollono)! Vollono is in his second season with the Panthers after spending the 2016 campaign as a special teams analyst at Georgia. He spent the previous three years in a similar capacity at Mississippi State where he helped guide the Bulldogs to three bowl games including the 2014 Orange Bowl which capped a season in which MSU attained the program's first-ever #1 national ranking. He has also served on staffs at Colorado, North Carolina, Georgetown and Towson.

Sacramento State rallies to beat Northern Colorado, 28-25
Looking at the box score from Sacramento State's win at Northern Colorado, not much stands out separating the two teams. The Bears gained 440 yards of offense compared to 434 for the Hornets. Both defenses recovered two fumbles and each team was penalized roughly the same amount. The key differentiator turned out to be special teams, particularly the right leg of Sacramento State punter Owen Hoolihan. The Aussie boomed a total of eight punts, four of which landed inside the 10 and two more inside the 20. Hoolihan's final blast was the most impressive of the bunch. With under one minute remaining in the game, he launched a 50-yard punt to the 10-yard line that Northern Colorado muffed and Abel Ordaz recovered to secure the victory. For his efforts, Hoolihan was named the FCS National Special Teams Player of the Week in addition to similar recognition from the Big Sky Conference. Four plays before Hoolihan's game sealing punt, tight end John McGill made another huge contribution when he recovered an onsides kick attempt by Northern Colorado after the Bears had pulled within three points. McGill also contributed on offense with two receptions. Congratulations to Sacramento State Special Teams Coordinator/TE Fred Kelley (@CoachKelley)! Kelley is in the sixth season of his third stint coaching at his alma mater. After finishing his playing career for the Hornets, Kelley began his coaching career as a grad assistant working with the team's offensive line and tight ends in 2007. He also boasts experience at UC Davis and Humboldt State.

Eagles use shutdown defense to shellack defending SAC champs Wingate, 31-14
When Antonio Goss (@CoachAGoss) arrived at Carson-Newman earlier this year, he brought with him a resume that included two Super Bowl rings from a seven-year playing career in the NFL with the 49ers and Rams. As a coach, he had experience working with defensive backs and linebackers for the Lions and Bills at the professional level, as well as several colleges including Louisville, Middle Tennessee State and Buffalo. His experience figured to pair well working with a dynamic defensive backfield at Carson-Newman, featuring returning All-American Darius Williams and All-SAC selection Desmond Fairell. Through three weeks, the partnership is working superbly. On Saturday, Williams recorded his sixth career interception and returned it 58 yards while Fairell recovered a fumble that he returned for 61 yards. As a unit, the Eagles' defense limited Wingate to 141 yards and zero points through the first three quarters. Overall, Carson-Newman forced three turnovers, three sacks and five three-and-out's to snap a six-game losing streak against Wingate. Congratulations to Goss on the win and the dominant defensive performance.

Adams State slips past Yellow Jackets
After two road trips to start the season, Adams State and DL Coach Kai Ellis (@Coach_KaiEllis) got their first win of the season at home by knocking off Black Hills State, 44-41. Both teams came out of the gate fast, combining to score 24 points in the first quarter as Black Hills held a 14-10 lead. In the second quarter, the Adams State defense ramped up its level of play, limiting the Yellow Jackets to a pair of field goals. On offense, quarterback Nick Rooney threw for three touchdowns in the second quarter giving Adams State a 31-20 lead entering halftime. An 18-yard scoring rush from running back Tyree Harris to open the fourth quarter gave the hosts a 44-27 lead and the defense came up with a huge fumble recovery on Black Hills' final drive to wrap up the win. Congratulations to Ellis who is in his first season with the Grizzlies after a stint as the defensive coordinator at Briar Cliff. He also served as the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at West Hills CC from 2015-16. Following a nine-year professional playing career, Ellis began his coaching career as the assistant defensive line coach at Washington in 2013.

Quick Hits
  • RB Melvin Gordon scored three touchdowns and WR Mike Williams added another as the Chargers topped the Bills, 31-20. Congratulations to Los Angeles RB Coach Alfredo Roberts and WR Coach Phil McGeoghan (@PhilMcGeoghan)!
  • Mecole Hardman returned a punt 70 yards for a touchdown as #3 Georgia rolled to a 49-7 win over Middle Tennessee State. Congratulations to Georgia Special Teams Coordinator Scott Fountain (@CoachSFountain)!
  • Towson QB Tom Flacco was named CAA Co-Offensive Player of the Week as the Tigers upset an opponent ranked in the top 10 for the first time since 2013. Congratulations to Head Coach Rob Ambrose (@Coach_Ambrose), Offensive Coordinator/QB Jared Ambrose (@CoachJambrose), Defensive Coordinator/LB Lyndon Johnson (@lyndonjohnson19), and DL Coach Gus Kosmakos (@Coach_Kosmakos)!
  • South Florida overcame a 12-point deficit to defeat Illinois and notch its fifth consecutive victory against a Power 5 opponent. Congratulations to DB Coach Blue Adams (@CoachAdamsUSF)!
  • Holy Cross rallied from a 28-14 deficit in the fourth quarter to force overtime and ultimately defeat Yale, 31-28. Congratulations to Passing Game Coordinator/WR Ari Confesor (@CoachAC3)!
  • LB Logan Bock returned a fumble 90 yards for a touchdown as Colorado School of Mines upset #9 CSU-Pueblo, 35-21. Congratulations to Co-Defensive Coordinator/LB Coach Brandon Moore (@madbacker56)!

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