CI Week 3 Football Highlights

With three weeks of the college season in the books, most teams are winding down the non-conference portion of their schedule and beginning to look towards the conference slate. But before that happens, several CI coaches took advantage of opportunities to bag key non-conference wins that could pay dividends down the road when the postseason picture comes into focus. Check out highlights from Week 3 below.

Late field goal lifts Riders over Als
After starting the season with just one win in their first four games, no CFL team has been hotter since July than the Saskatchewan Roughriders. On Saturday night, Saskatchewan kicker Brett Lauther nailed a 39-yard field goal with under a minute remaining to secure a seventh win for the Riders in their last eight games. Similar to the story of its season, Saskatchewan started slowly against Montreal. The Alouettes jumped out to a 9-0 lead, but the Riders' defense kept the deficit manageable as it forced Montreal to settle for field goals on its first three scoring drives. After punting on its first four possessions, Saskatchewan's offense came to life midway through the second quarter and rallied to take a 10-9 lead at halftime. Montreal responded, though, and the lead would change hands multiple times in the second half before Lauther's game-winning kick. Making the win more impressive for Saskatchewan is the fact that they did it without the services of DE Charleston Hughes, who leads the CFL with 13 sacks but missed Saturday's game due to injury. In his absence, defensive linemen Chad Geter and Micah Johnson combined to post six tackles and two sacks. Congratulations on the win to Saskatchewan Defensive Assistant Mike Davis! Davis is in his first season as an assistant working with the defensive line after transitioning from his prior role as manager of player personnel for the Riders. He previously coached for the Nebraska Danger of the IFL and played collegiately at Virginia Tech.

Tribe cruises to a 38-10 win over Colgate
William & Mary continued its strong start to the Mike London Era with a dominant win over preseason #13 Colgate. The Tribe, who weren't even predicted to finish in the top 10 of the CAA, have used big plays from young players in jumping out to a 2-1 record. Saturday continued that trend as three freshmen scored touchdowns for W&M, including true freshman QB Hollis Mathis. Against Colgate, Mathis completed 11-of-19 passes for 189 yards and one passing touchdown to go along with 62 rushing yards and one score on the ground. Safety Bronson Yoder accounted for the second touchdown from a freshman when he returned a kickoff 97 yards in the third quarter to extend W&M's lead to 24-10. The third freshman touchdown came from RB Donavyn Lester, who put the icing on the cake with his two-yard scoring run late in the fourth quarter. Lester's touchdown punctuated a great day on the ground for W&M as OL Coach Gordie Sammis' (@CoachSammis) group paved the way for Tribe rushers to rack up 254 yards on the ground. Defensively, Assoc. Head Coach/DefCoor/LB Vincent Brown (@CoachVBrown59) dialed up mayhem once again with the Tribe forcing two turnovers and nine tackles-for-loss. W&M LB Nate Atkins led the team with seven tackles. Through three games, the Tribe leads the nation with 10 takeaways while also ranking in the top 25 in sacks and tackles-for-loss. Congratulations to London, Brown and Sammis on the win and great start to the season! This season marks a return to the CAA for London, who led the University of Richmond to the 2008 FCS National Championship before stints as the head coach at Virginia and Howard. Brown was on London's staffs at Richmond, Virginia and Howard, and he also served as the co-defensive coordinator at UConn from 2014-16. After playing at Virginia, Sammis began his coaching career as a graduate assistant for the Cavaliers in 2010. He has since coached at VMI and Columbia prior to spending the past two years as the offensive line coach at Lafayette.

Ryland's last-second field goal lifts Eastern Michigan over Illinois
After defeating a Big Ten program for the third time in three years, Eastern Michigan Head Coach Chris Creighton stated: "Awesome, awesome day for our program. Our defense played well. We knew we weren't going to shut them out, because they are really good, but we did what we needed to do." Left unsaid was that while Creighton knew his defense would have its hands full against the Illini, his offense was going to be able to move the ball and put up points. A pair of CI coaches, OL Coach James Patton (@Coachjpatton) and WR Coach Darren Paige (@WRcoachPaige), helped make sure the Eagles did just that in posting 480 yards of offense, 23 first downs, and winning the time of possession battle in the 34-31 win. On the ground, it was a diverse attack for EMU as five ball carriers had at least 18 rushing yards, including RB Willie Parker, whose four-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter put the Eagles up 31-17. In total, EMU stood toe-to-toe with Illinois on the ground, rushing for 164 yards compared to the Illini's 167. Through the air, it was a different story as EMU WR Arthur Jackson III stole the show, catching three passes for 80 yards and two touchdowns. Jackson's one reception that didn't go for a touchdown was equally important, as it came on the Eagles' final drive and put them in Illinois' territory with under two minutes to play. Following a 23-yard reception by WR Dylan Drummond and a 13-yard run by RB Breck Turner, kicker Chad Ryland converted a 24-yard field goal as time expired to spark the celebration on the visitors' sideline. Congratulations to Patton and Paige on the win! Patton is in his first season in Ypsilanti after a two-year stint as an offensive assistant at Pitt. He previously served as the tight ends and fullbacks coach at Indiana and has also coached on staffs at Oklahoma, Northwestern, Miami and Rhode Island.  Paige is also in his first year on the EMU staff after spending the 2018 campaign at Stony Brook. It's been a steady rise for Paige, who coached the receivers at Holy Cross in 2017 and previously held a similar role at Midwestern State. In 2017, he completed a Bill Walsh Minority Coaching Fellowship with the Tennessee Titans.

Air Force beats Colorado in OT
About 1,000 miles due east of Champaign, IL, another Group of Five program was taking down a Power Five program in Boulder, CO. Similar to Eastern Michigan's victory, Air Force's 30-23 win over Colorado was an upset in name only. The Falcons outgained the Buffaloes by a margin of 444-325, gained three more first downs and held the ball over nine minutes longer than their instate rival. Were it not for three Air Force turnovers and a missed extra point, the Falcons likely wouldn't have needed overtime, but in the end the victory was that much sweeter coming in dramatic fashion. After Colorado tied the score in the final minute of regulation, Air Force scored on the first play of overtime when RB Kadin Remsberg took a pitch to the right side and finished the 25-yard run by diving over the end zone pylon. Remsberg's run was aided by a key block from slot receiver Ben Waters, who earlier in the day scored on a 81-yard touchdown reception of his own. On their overtime possession, the Buffaloes picked up one first down but advanced no further as the Falcons sealed their first win over CU since 1968. Congratulations on the historic win to Air Force WR Coach Ari Confesor (@CoachAC3)! Confesor is in his first season with the Falcons after serving as the pass game coordinator and wide receivers coach at Holy Cross last season. He previously spent eight seasons at Rhode Island, where he worked in a variety of capacities including coaching wide receivers, defensive backs, linebackers and co-coordinating special teams. From 2012-13, Confesor served as a scouting assistant for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Oregon State rolls Cal Poly, 45-7
One of the toughest tasks for a defensive coach is preparing for an out-of-conference game against an opponent with a unique offense. That was the case for Oregon State this past week as the Beavers hosted Cal Poly and their triple option attack. The Mustangs started quickly, striking for a touchdown on their first possession to tie the score at 7-7, but the hot start was short lived as Oregon State's defense made the necessary adjustments and pitched a shutout for the rest of the game. Individually, OLB John McCartan led the way for the Beavers, logging 12 tackles and one sack. When Cal Poly struggled to get its triple option going, they turned to the air but found little success. Oregon State's defense held Cal Poly QB Jalen Hamler to just five completions on 12 attempts for 112 yards. Beaver DB Shawn Wilson recorded his third career interception in the fourth quarter which meant another appearance for arguably the best prop in college football - the Turnover Chainsaw. Congratulations on the win and stout defensive performance to OSU DB Coach Blue Adams (@CoachAdamsOSU)! Adams arrived in Corvallis this season after a two-year stint as the defensive backs coach at USF and spent the 2016 season at West Virginia. With the Mountaineers, he molded Rasul Douglas from second string to Second Team All-American and a third round draft pick. Adams previously served as the assistant defensive backs coach for the Miami Dolphins and has also coached at Northern Iowa.

Wiggins' 2 TDs helps FIU sink New Hampshire 30-17
The season is less than a month old but it has already been a whirlwind for FIU Special Teams Coordinator James Vollono (@CoachVollono) and the Panthers. FIU entered the season with the reigning C-USA Newcomer of the Year in QB James Morgan and 17 starters from a team that set a new program record with nine wins in 2018. But Morgan went down with an injury in last week's loss to Western Kentucky and the Panthers have had to throw sophomore QB Kaylan Wiggins into the fire sooner than expected. Making his first career start on Saturday night, Wiggins overcame torrential downpours and a 44-minute lightning delay to lead FIU to a win over New Hampshire. Wiggins ran the ball 14 times for 187 yards and two touchdowns in addition to completing 12-of-18 passes for 127 yards. Despite Wiggins' solid outing, the game was still up for grabs late when Vollono reached into his bag of tricks to create some breathing room. With FIU leading 20-17 midway through the fourth quarter and set to return a punt, the Panthers setup a decoy returner with blockers to the right side of the field while the actual punt was fielded by Tony Gaiter IV on the left side. Gaiter returned the ball down inside the 10-yard line and then lateraled the ball to LB Dimitry Prophete who took it in for a touchdown. Check out a replay of the return here. After FIU's defense forced another punt, kicker Jose Borregales converted a field goal for the final 30-17 score. Congratulations to Vollono on the win and the punt return touchdown! Vollono is in his third 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.

Quick Hits
  • Florida defensive backs recorded three interceptions and TE Kyle Pitts caught four passes for 63 yards in the Gators' 29-21 win over Kentucky. Congratulations to Florida CB Coach Torrian Gray (@togray14) and TE Coach Larry Scott (@UFCoachLScott)!
  • Southern Miss put up 626 yards of offense in its 47-42 win over Troy. Congratulations to Golden Eagles OL Coach Ryan Stanchek (@CoachStanchek)!
  • Elsewhere in C-USA, Louisiana Tech forced two turnovers and gave up just 290 yards in a 35-7 win over Bowling Green. Congratulations to Bulldogs LB Coach Brian Gamble (@CoachBGamble)!
  • Monmouth snapped a seven-game losing streak versus Albany by winning 38-35 in overtime. Congratulations to Hawks Passing Game Coor./QB T.J. DiMuzio (@CoachTJD) and Special Teams Coor./RB Sam Dorsett (@CoachSamDorsett)!
  • St. Scholastica racked up 430 yards of offense in a 41-13 win over Presentation. Congratulations to Saints Offensive Coordinator/WR Bobby Acosta (@CoachBA1010)!

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