CI Week 3 Highlights

Head coaches set the tone for the CI Family in Week 3, combining to post 10 wins. In addition to the five head coaches featured below, congratulations also go out to William & Mary's Mike London (@CoachMikeLondon), Morehead State's Rob Tenyer (@RobTenyerMSU), Nebraska-Kearney's Josh Lynn (@CoachJoshLynn), Bluefield State's Tony Coaxum and Fort Valley State's Shawn Gibbs (@CoachShawnGibbs) for their victories. Please find keep reading for more highlights from Week 3.
Few teams faced more uncertainty entering this season than the Dolphins. A new head coach, an up-and-down young quarterback, a revamped offensive line and infusion of speed into the wide receiver room created a sense of optimism but doubts remained, particularly regarding QB Tua Tagovailoa. It's only been two weeks, but the early returns are overwhelmingly positive in Miami. Against the Ravens, Tagovailoa led the Dolphins back from a 21-point deficit in the fourth quarter by throwing four touchdown passes, including a 48-yarder and a 60-yarder to WR Tyreek Hill. The second of Hill's scoring grabs tied the score at 35-35 with 5:19 left to play. Baltimore retook the lead on a field goal but left too much time on the clock as Tagovailoa found WR Jaylen Waddle for the game winner with 14 seconds remaining. Waddle's touchdown reception was his second of the day, making him and Hill the first two receivers to each catch two touchdown passes with each also posting 170+ receiving yards in a single game in the Super Bowl era. As for Tagovailoa, with his 469 passing yards and six passing touchdowns he joined Patrick Mahomes as the two youngest players in league history to throw for 450+ yards with at least six touchdowns. Congratulations to Dolphins Offensive Assistant Kolby Smith (@coachkolbysmith) on the incredible comeback! Smith has witnessed Tagovailoa's maturation first-hand as he joined the organization in 2019 as a quality control coach prior to his promotion this year. Before arriving in Miami, Smith spent seven seasons as a running backs coach at the college level with Rutgers, Louisville and Western Kentucky. In five seasons at Louisville, he helped the Cardinals reach four bowl games and his backs twice set school records for most rushing yards in a season. After his playing career at Louisville, Smith played for four seasons with the Chiefs, Broncos and Jaguars.  
Over the last four weeks, Howard Head Coach Larry Scott (@CoachLScott70) and his Bison have been on a barnstorming tour that would rival the Globetrotters. After a Week 0 game versus Alabama State in Atlanta as part of the MEAC/SWAC Challenge, Howard traveled to Hampton in Week 1, went back down south to Tampa for a Week 2 date with South Florida and finally back up I-95 to New Jersey for Saturday's HBCU NYC Football Classic. If the travel had worn on the Bison, they didn't show any signs of it, rolling to a blowout win over Morehouse. In the leadup to the game, Scott told media that he was impressed by the recent improvement of Offensive Coordinator Lee Hull's (@FBCoachHull42) unit, particularly the offensive line's work in the run game, opening up holes for running backs Jarett Hunter and Ian Wheeler. The pair of upperclassmen, dubbed the Dynamic Duo, lived up to their head coach's praise, combining to rush for 96 yards and a touchdown on just 18 carries (5.3 ypc). Backup RB Eden James also announced his arrival, breaking free for a 51-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter to apply the finishing touch. In the passing game, Howard QB Quinton Williams connected with WR Antoine Murray for a game-high eight catches and 116 receiving yards, including two touchdowns. Defensively, CB Christian Brown had another strong outing, tallying three tackles, two TFLs and one pass breakup. Congratulations to Scott, Hull and to DB Coach Kyshoen Jarrett (@Ky3fOUR) on the statement win! Scott is in his third year at Howard after four years in the SEC, two apiece at Florida and Tennessee. As Miami's interim head coach in 2015, he led the Hurricanes to a 4-2 record and a berth in the Sun Bowl. Scott also spent eight seasons at South Florida where he helped guide the Bulls to six bowl games. Hull arrived in the District with Scott in 2020 after stints as the offensive coordinator at Wagner and the receivers coach for the Indianapolis Colts. From 2014-15, he was the head coach at Morgan State, where he guided the Bears to the 2014 MEAC Championship, the program's first conference championship since 1979. Prior to arriving at Morgan State, he coached six All-Americans, one Biletnikoff Award winner and several high NFL draft picks in 11 seasons as an assistant coach at Maryland and Oregon State.  Jarrett spent the 2021 season as the Asst. Director of Player Personnel at his alma mater, Virginia Tech, after a stint as an athletic director at Corvian H.S. in North Carolina. He previously served as the assistant defensive backs coach in the NFL for Washington. After playing professionally for Washington, Jarrett accepted a coaching internship with the club and also completed the NFL-NCAA Coaches Academy. 
When head coaches talk about the work that goes into building a program, few mean it as literally as Benedict's Chennis Berry (@coachberry77). When he was hired in 2020, Berry inherited a program that was in disarray on and off the field. The Tigers went 1-9 in 2019 but their problems went much deeper than the record - dilapidated facilities with leaky roofs and non-functional plumbing, inadequate equipment and understaffing to name just a few of the issues. Today, if you visit Columbia, South Carolina and tour Benedict's football building, you'll find a first-class program from top to bottom. Players now have access to a renovated locker room with a lounge and gaming center, a state of the art weight room, a comprehensive nutrition plan and fresh, new uniforms. The makeover reflects the leadership that Berry has brought to the position and the buy-in that he has secured from the school's administration, alumni and local community. And oh by the way, the results are coming on the field as well. Benedict improved to 3-0 on Thursday night as Berry led the Tigers to a dominant win over his alma mater, Savannah State. Benedict RB Noah Zaire Scotland had his best game of the young season, rushing for 112 yards and one touchdown on 22 carries. Defensively, reigning SIAC Defensive Player of the Week DE Loobert Denelus had another monster game, racking up a team-leading seven tackles to go along with three sacks, two fumble recoveries, one forced fumble and one blocked kick. Congratulations to Berry on the win and great start to the season! Prior to arriving at Benedict, Berry spent seven seasons as the assistant head coach, offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at Southern. While in Baton Rouge, he helped the Jaguars win three division titles and one conference championship. Berry also has coordinating experience from stints at Howard, North Carolina A&T and Morgan State, and a wealth of NFL experience having completed internships with the Jaguars, Colts, Browns, Lions, Chargers and Bears.
There are few wins for a coach that rank higher than their first as head coach at their alma mater. Marcus Hilliard (@Coach_MHilliard) accomplished the feat on Saturday afternoon, guiding Elizabeth City to a thrilling comeback over in-state rival Winston-Salem State. After going into the half down 10-0, the Vikings got on the board with 3:44 left in the third quarter when QB Tesean Jones found WR Cameron Saunders for a 15-yard touchdown reception to cut the Ram lead to three. Nine minutes later, ECSU found lightning in a bottle in the form of WR Zion Riddick. Riddick caught a short pass from Jones, fought off would-be tacklers, tip-toed the sidelines and then was off to the races, bolting 75 yards for a score to give the Vikings a 14-10 lead. Continuing the theme of big plays, DL Raevon Freeman extended the Viking lead when he forced a fumble at midfield, picked it and returned it 50 yards to the house. Freeman's scoop-and-score proved to be significant as WSSU responded with a late touchdown to pull within three but a late ECSU defensive stand ensured that the Vikings would come away with their first win of the season. Congratulations to Hilliard on the milestone win! Following his playing career at ECSU, Hilliard spent 14 seasons as an assistant coach for the Vikings, including eight as the program's assistant head coach and defensive coordinator. During this stretch, he helped engineer one of the top defenses in Division II as ECSU reached the CIAA Championship Game on four different occasions. In 2018, Hilliard branched out and accepted the assistant head coach and co-defensive coordinator role at Virginia Union. In his first year with the Panthers, he was named the AFCA's Assistant Coach of the Year for Division II as VUU finished 2018 with an 8-2 record. In 2019, Hilliard helped the Panthers achieve their first-ever top 25 national ranking.
Elsewhere in CIAA action, Chowan Head Coach Mark Hall (@CoachHallChowan) and the Hawks got off to a strong start in conference play thanks to a clutch performance from a true freshman quarterback. As you'd expect for a freshman in his first game action, the nerves were high for QB Caleb Pierce as he was picked off on Chowan's opening drive, leading to Johnson C. Smith claiming a 7-0 lead. From that point forward, Pierce settled in and was lights out. The signal caller went 14-of-18 through the air for 237 yards and two touchdowns while adding 65 yards on the ground. Both of Pierce's touchdowns came in the fourth quarter as the teams went back-and-forth for a wild finish. Chowan initially claimed a 24-20 lead when Pierce connected with his high school teammate, WR Justin Anderson, for a 25-yard strike with 13:32 left in the game. The Golden Bulls answered with a touchdown to retake the lead and extended it on a field goal with 1:14 remaining. But like an old Southwest Conference shootout, they left too much time on the clock. Pierce and the Hawks needed just six plays and 59 seconds to go 76 yards for the winning touchdown, a 28-yard pass from Pierce to WR E.J. Gatling. Pierce found Anderson for the two-point conversion to provide the 32-29 final score. Congratulations to Hall on the win and Pierce's stellar play! Now in his second full season at the helm for the Hawks, Hall spent the 12 prior seasons as the team's offensive coordinator working with quarterbacks and receivers. In 2021, he led Chowan to its best season as an NCAA member as the Hawks went 7-3 and secured the program's first-ever top 25 ranking. Prior to arriving at Chowan, Hall served as the offensive coordinator at Urbana.
If anyone knows what it takes to build a winner at UMass, it's Damian Mincey (@Coach_Mince54) and the current Minutemen staff. Over a six-year stretch from 2006-11, Mincey helped guide UMass through one of its most successful runs in program history, including an appearance in the 2006 FCS National Championship Game followed by a quarterfinal run in 2007. Now 11 years later, Mincey finds himself reunited with Head Coach Don Brown and a handful of others from former UMass staffs attempting to fire up the muskets once again. Saturday's win over Stony Brook marked a significant step in the right direction as it was the program's first since last October. The Minutemen set the tone early versus the Seawolves, converting a fourth down just over one minute into the game when RB Ellis Merriweather burst up the middle for 10 yards to move the chains. Two more carries by Merriweather setup an 18-yard touchdown pass from QB Gino Campiotti to Cam Sullivan-Brown to put the Minutemen up 7-0 early. In the second quarter, DB Jordan Mahoney returned an interception 94 yards for a touchdown that proved to be more than enough for the hosts in cruising to a 20-3 win. For the game, Merriweather racked up 76 rushing yards as UMass rushers combined to account for 159 yards on the ground. Congratulations to Mincey on the landmark win! Now in charge of the Minutemen running backs, Mincey coached the linebackers, tight ends and fullbacks during his first stint in Amherst. From 2018-21, he coached the running backs at Albany and coordinated special teams in his final two years with the Great Danes. At Albany, he coached RB Karl Mofor to three All-CAA selections and two years of All-American honors. Mincey also boasts defensive coordinator experience from his time at Pace University.
With a long season still ahead for Oklahoma Panhandle State Head Coach Bob Majeski (@CoachMojo4), one of the benefits of the Aggies' blowout win on Saturday was the opportunity it presented to give playing time to backups. After QB Brandon Stephen accounted for four touchdowns in less than one half of play, he gave way to QB Dontrail Sessio who did not miss a beat. Sessio connected with TE Kobi Hill on a 27-yard pitch-and-catch just before halftime to send the Aggies into the break with a 41-0 lead. Majeski was also able to spread the wealth in the run game as nine different Aggies registered carries, paced by RB Quincy Jones who finished with 59 rushing yards and a touchdown on 13 attempts. Defensively, linebackers Alex Holguin and Kameron Dickerson were the top contributors as the former recorded five tackles, including two sacks, while the latter posted four tackles, one sack and an interception. Congratulations to Majeski on the statement win! Majeski took over the reins at OPSU in 2019 after coaching the linebackers at Stetson from 2015-18. In his final season with the Hatters, he helped the program tie for second place in the Pioneer League with an 8-2 record, its most wins since 1951. A 35-year coaching veteran, Majeski has prior experience as a head coach at Dodge City Community College and Black Hills State. In 2011, he was named the Kansas Jayhawk Conference Coach of the Year after leading Dodge City to the conference playoffs.
Quick Hits
  • Tulane picked up a road win over a Power 5 opponent for the first time since 2010 as the Green Wave limited Kansas State to just 150 passing yards in a 17-10 win over the Wildcats. Congratulations to Tulane DB Coach Josh Christian-Young (@CoachJCY)!
  • The Landsharks held Georgia Tech to 214 yards of offense and forced seven sacks in the Rebels' 42-0 win over the Yellow Jackets. Congratulations to Ole Miss Defensive Analyst Elijah Sandweiss (@ElijahSandweiss)!
  • Morgan State avenged last year's loss to St. Francis by defeating the Pioneers on Saturday, 24-9. Congratulations to Bears Asst. Head Coach/Defensive Coor. Antone' Sewell (@CoachSewell_MSU) and Special Teams Coor./TE Tory Woodbury (@T_Woodbury11)!
  • Texas Southern QB Andrew Body completed 16-of-22 passes for 186 yards and two touchdowns as the Tigers shutout Southern, 24-0. Congratulations to TSU Offensive Coor./QB David Marsh (@CoachDmarsh)!
  • Western Carolina KR Terrence Horne had a 39-yard kick return as the Catamounts dismantled Presbyterian, 77-21. Congratulations to WCU Special Teams Coor. Chris Norris (@coachnorris38)!
  • Virginia Union remained undefeated as RB Jada Byers rushed for 199 yards and two touchdowns in the Panthers' 42-6 win over Livingstone. Congratulations to VUU Assoc. Head Coach/Offensive Coor./OL Mike Morita (@CoachMorita)!
  • Shepherd K Jacob Haynie converted a 23-yard field goal to give the Rams a 26-23 overtime win over California (PA). Congratulations to Shepherd Special Teams Coor./DB Luke Wright (@CoachLukeWright)!
One more CI coach will be in action tonight when the Titans travel to Orchard Park to face the Bills on Monday Night Football. Good luck to Tennessee Asst. OL Coach Jason Houghtaling (@UpstateNYHom)!

Get In Touch With Us

1317 F Street, NW Suite 920 Washington, DC 20004 | P 800.974.7957 F 888.762.5151 |