CI Week 3 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 conference opponents. 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. Keep reading for highlights from Week 3.

Derrick Henry's three second-half touchdowns fuel Tennessee's dramatic overtime win
Down 24-9 at halftime in one of the most hostile environments for road teams in the NFL, few gave the Titans any chance of coming back to beat the Seahawks. All-Pro RB Derrick Henry had been bottled up in the first half and Tennessee was without starting left tackle Taylor Lewan, who went down with an injury in pre-game warmups. But as the game wore on, the Titan offensive line began to open more holes and Henry took care of the rest, scoring three times in the second half to force overtime. In the extra period, after the teams traded punts, Henry broke off four runs for 21 yards to setup Randy Bullock's 36-yard game winning field goal. For the game, Henry finished with 182 rushing yards and the Titan offense rushed for 212 yards in total. In addition to paving the way for Henry's monster day, Tennessee's offensive line was also solid in pass protection, allowing QB Ryan Tannehill to throw for 347 yards. All in all, the outcome was a thrilling first win in the NFL for Tennessee Asst. OL Coach Jason Houghtaling (@UpstateNYHom)! Houghtaling joined the Titans this season after a one-year stint as the offensive line coach at Colgate and a five-year stint as the head coach at Wagner. Prior to being promoted to head coach, he helped guide Wagner to a pair of NEC championships as the team's offensive coordinator. Houghtaling also served as Cornell's offensive coordinator in 2013.

William & Mary defeats Colgate with potent ground game
Last week, William & Mary's defense and special teams stole the show, accounting for 11 tackles-for-loss, six sacks, two pick-six's and two blocked punts in a 24-3 win over Lafayette. This week, it was the offense's turn in the spotlight. The Tribe rushed for 331 yards and three touchdowns in pummeling Colgate, 27-7. RB Donavyn Lester led the way for W&M, rushing for 117 yards and a score on 12 carries. QB Darius Wilson and WR J.T. Mayo also added rushing touchdowns for the visitors, who held a 21-0 lead at halftime and never looked back. While the Tribe defense didn't produce the eye-popping stats that it did versus Lafayette, they were undeniably stout. LB Trey Watkins finished with a team-high seven tackles and DL Nate Lynn tallied two sacks in the winning effort. Congratulations to William & Mary Head Coach Mike London (@CoachMike London), Assoc. Head Coach/DC/LB Vincent Brown (@CoachVBrown59), OL Coach Gordie Sammis (@CoachSammis), and OLB Coach Darryl Blackstock (@CoachBlackstock) on the win! This season marks London's third at the helm in Williamsburg after prior stints as head coach at Virginia, Richmond and Howard. He led the Spiders to the 2008 FCS National Championship and the Cavliers to the Chick-fil-A Bowl in 2011. 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, Columbia and Lafayette before arriving at William & Mary in 2019. Blackstock enjoyed a seven-year playing career in the NFL before beginning his coaching career as a defensive assistant at William & Mary in 2019. He was promoted to a full-time position in 2020.

Louisville wins wild shootout vs. UCF with game-winning pick-six in final moments
UCF entered Friday night’s game with the #1 ranked rush defense in the FBS after giving up just 44 yards in two games. They did not leave Cardinal Stadium with the top spot. Louisville RB Jalen Mitchell rushed 16 times for 74 yards (4.6 ypc) and one touchdown while QB Malik Cunningham battled through cramps to add 99 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns. Mitchell also chipped in with two receptions for 37 yards. His rushing touchdown tied the score at 14-14 in the second quarter and marked the last time Louisville trailed in the game. But it was far from smooth sailing for the Cardinals. The Golden Knights battled back from seven-point deficits on three occasions in the second half and appeared poised to steal a win when they picked off a pass in Louisville territory with under 30 seconds to play. On the very next play, though, Louisville LB Jaylin Alderman returned the favor, intercepting a deflected pass and returning it 66 yards for a touchdown to cap an instant classic. Congratulations to Louisville RB Coach De’Rail Sims (@DeRailSims) on the win and Mitchell’s performance! Sims is in his first season with the Cardinals after two seasons in a simiar role at East Carolina. He previously spent three seasons as the running backs coach at James Madison. With the Dukes, he reached the national championship game on two occasions, including winning the title in 2016. During their title run, the Dukes were fueled by a rushing attack that broke the CAA single-season rushing record with 4,125 yards. Sims has completed the NCAA-NFL Coaches Academy as well as the AFCA's 35 Under 35 Leadership Institute.

How a once-in-a-lifetime punt return pushed Memphis past Mississippi State
There are coaches who coach special teams and then there are special teams gurus. Memphis Special Teams Coordinator Special Coordinator Charles Bankins (@FBCoachBankins) falls squarely in the latter category. One day he will be a head coach, but until then he is directing special teams units that are making the difference between wins and losses for the Tigers. Against Mississippi State, punt returner Calvin Austin III showed off his special teams acumen by picking up a punt at his own 6-yard line after it had been touched by a Mississippi State player and returning it 94 yards for a touchdown. Check out a clip of the heads-up play here. Austin's score put the Tigers up 28-17 with 5:36 remaining in the game. The Bulldogs cut the lead back down to five with a score on their ensuing possession, but special teams came through once again for the Tigers as kicker Joe Doyle connected on a 51-yard field goal a minute later that proved decisive in the 31-29 win. Congratulations to Bankins on the win and the stellar special teams play! Bankins is in his first season with the Tigers after one season coordinating special teams at Charlotte and a four-year stint as the special teams coordinator and running backs coach at Old Dominion. With the Monarchs, he worked with Isaiah Harper, who was named Conference USA Special Teams Player of the Year in 2017 after returning three kickoffs for touchdowns. Bankins previously coordinated special teams at Vanderbilt, Maryland and Richmond among others. At Richmond, he was part of the staff that won the 2008 FCS National Championship.

Maine forces four turnovers, blocks two kicks in 31-26 win over Merrimack
No FCS team in the country faces a more daunting opening month than Maine. The Black Bears opened the season with two top 5 opponents, Delaware and James Madison, and a matchup against FBS member Northern Illinois looms in Week 4. While Merrimack is no pushover and entered the weekend with a 2-0 record, Maine showed no mercy in handing the Warriors their first loss. The Black Bears got the job done with defense and special teams. Maine DB Fofie Bazzie set new career-highs with 13 tackles and three pass breakups while DB Shakur Smalls accounted for seven tackles, one forced fumble and one pass breakup. DB Abdul Stewart and LB Ray Miller each recorded interceptions with Miller's coming at a critical juncture in the fourth quarter as Maine clung to a five-point lead and Merrimack driving inside Black Bear territory. Congratulations to Maine Defensive Coordinator/LB Mike Ryan (@UMCoach_Ryan) on the win and playmaking defense! Ryan is in his eighth year in Orono and third as defensive coordinator. In 2018, he helped guide the program to its second CAA championship and first-ever appearance in the FCS semifinals. During his tenure at Maine, Ryan has worked with the team's defensive line, inside linebackers and outside linebackers in addition to serving as recruiting coordinator. He previously coached at UConn, Trinity and Bates. 

Hartley with 6 TDs; Campbell gets 10 TOs, routs Presbyterian 72-0
Welcome to Division I, Coach Kelley. After garnering national headlines in its first two games against non-Division I opponents, Presbyterian finally met a fellow FCS opponent in Campbell. Eschewing punts, field goals and traditional kickoffs, Presbyterian and Head Coach Kevin Kelley scored 152 total points in their first two games. Campbell Defensive Coordinator/Safeties Weston Glaser (@Coach_Glaser) made sure the Blue Hose left Buies Creek still stuck on 152 points. The Camels pitched a shutout against the nation's top scoring offensive by racking up seven interceptions, eleven tackles-for-loss, seven sacks and three fumble recoveries. LB CJ Tillman returned an interception for a touchdown and DL J.T. Whitmore forced two fumbles to lead the way for a Camel defense that recorded its first shutout since 2018. The 72-point margin of victory also matched the program's largest ever against a Division I opponent. Congratulations to Glaser on the win and dominant defensive performance! Glaser joined the Campbell staff in 2018 as linebackers coach, was elevated to defensive coordinator after one season, and promoted once again to assistant head coach in 2021. In his first two seasons as defensive coordinator, Campbell led the Big South in Pass Defense as four Camel defenders earned all-conference recognition. Glaser spent the 2016-17 seasons as a defensive graduate assistant at Texas A&M and was selected to participate in the AFCA’s 35 Under 35 Coaches Leadership Institute in 2019.

#6 Mines routs Fort Lewis, 76-0
Continuing the theme of defensive coordinators posting shutouts in 70+ point wins, Colorado School of Mines Defensive Coordinator/LB Brandon Moore (@madbacker56) engineered a flawless defensive performance against Fort Lewis. To illustrate the absurdity of the Orediggers' domination, consider that the 32 yards that Mines ILB Beau Collins gained on a pick-six in the second quarter were more yards than the Fort Lewis offense gained in the entire game. The Orediggers held FLC to just 23 yards of offense, two first downs, three rushing yards on 29 carries (0.1 ypc) and 20 passing yards. Mines defenders intercepted as many passes (2) as they allowed completions. It is worth noting that this was not some sort of David vs. Goliath matchup - Mines and Fort Lewis are conference rivals in the RMAC. With the win, Mines improved to 3-0 overall and 2-0 against RMAC opponents. In their first conference win against New Mexico Highlands, the Orediggers allowed just 18 rushing yards and have given up a total of 22 rushing yards in all three wins combined. Congratulations to Moore on the win and sensational start to the season! Moore is in his sixth year at Mines and was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2020. In 2016, all four of his starting linebackers earned All-RMAC recognition and the following season one of his linebackers earned NFCC Defensive Player of the Year honors. As a player, Moore enjoyed a nine-year professional career with the 49ers and Chargers, and also won two UFL titles with the Las Vegas Locomotives.

Quick Hits
  • Alabama's defense stuffed a late two-point conversion attempt to thwart a Florida comeback attempt and escape Gainesville with a 31-29 win. Congratulations to Crimson Tide Senior Defensive Analyst Mark Orphey (@Mark_Orphey)!
  • Oregon State DB Skyler Thomas recorded an interception as the Beavers cruised to a 42-0 win over Idaho. Congratulations to Oregon State DB Coach Blue Adams (@CoachAdamsOSU)!
  • Cincinnati RB Jerome Ford scored twice as the #8 Bearcats rallied to defeat Indiana on the road. Congratulations to Cincinnati RB Coach Darren Paige (@RBCoachPaige)!
  • Rhode Island's defense forced three turnovers as the Rams defeated Brown, 45-24, to maintain possession of the Governor's Cup for the third consecutive year. Congratulations to URI Defensive Coordinator/DB Jack Cooper (@CoachJCooper)!
  • Stephen F. Austin WR Xavier Gipson caught three passes for 131 yards and two touchdowns in the Lumberjacks' 58-13 win over Mississippi Valley Sate. Congratulations to SFA WR Coach Myles White (@M_White03)!
  • Oklahoma Panhandle rolled to a 68-0 win over Texas College. Congratultions to OPSU Head Coach Bob Majeski (@CoachMojo4)!
  • Bluffton rallied from a 17-0 halftime deficit to stun Kalamazoo, 21-20. Congratulations to Bluffton Defensive Coordinator/DB Devan Hill!
  • Henderson State rushed for 209 yards in a 58-18 win over Arkansas-Monticello. Congratulations to Henderson State RB Coach Chris Bryant (@ChrisR_Bryant)!
  • #2 Garden City's defense forced five turnovers as the Broncbusters rallied to beat Highland, 15-6. Congratulations to Garden City DB Coach Antonio Banks (@coachDBBanks)!

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