CI Week 4 Highlights


Please find Coaches Inc. highlights from Week 4 below... 
Dolphins score 70 in 50-point win over Broncos; 3rd most points in NFL history and most since 1966
When people talk about coachspeak and cliches, one of the most common examples is that a team “left points on the field.” While not necessarily true in every situation, it absolutely was the case when Miami took a knee in Denver territory to run out the clock, passing on a chance to kick a field goal and set a new NFL record for points in a game. For Offensive Assistant Kolby Smith (@coachkolbysmith) and the Dolphins, the job was done and the message to the league was delivered with or without the record. After 70 points, no-look shovel passes for touchdowns and samba lines in the end zone, there was no denying that these Dolphins have arrived. As RB Raheem Mostert said after the game, “To be able to put up 70 points, I think that is going to put a lot of teams on notice that we’re nothing to play with. We’re that team, just to put it bluntly.” For his part, Mostert rushed for 82 yards and three scores before giving way to RB De’Von Achane. All Achane did in mop up duty was rush for 203 yards and two touchdowns while adding two more scores on four receptions for 30 receiving yards. At quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa completed his first 17 passes and finished his day 23-for-26 for 309 yards and four touchdowns. Congratulations to Smith on the historic performance and 3-0 start! Smith joined the Dolphins in 2019 as a quality control coach and was promoted to offensive assistant in 2022. Before arriving in South Florida, he 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. 
Brown throws for 435 yards, accounts for 3 TDs, South Florida beats Rice 42-29 in an AAC opener
In Week 3, USF raised eyebrows on a national stage when they took an early lead on Alabama and stayed within one score of the Crimson Tide until the final minute of the game. For a program that went 4-26 over the past three seasons, going toe-to-toe with a perennial title contender was a confidence booster, but the Bulls were ready for their improvements to manifest in the win column. That’s exactly what happened on Saturday in Tampa as USF won its AAC opener for the first time in five years. While the Bulls defense starred in Tuscaloosa, against the Owls it was the offense’s turn to shine. QB Byrum Brown directed an offense that gained nearly 600 yards and grew stronger as the game went on. With USF trailing 21-20 late in the third quarter, Brown connected with WR Naiem Simmons on a 49-yard scoring strike followed shortly by an 8-yard touchdown pass to WR Sean Atkins to extend the hosts’ lead to 34-21. USF RB Nay’Quan Wright delivered the final blow on a one-yard scoring run midway through the fourth to extend the lead to three possessions. For the game, Simmons set a new program record with 272 receiving yards. Congratulations to Bulls Assoc. Head Coach/RB Matt Merritt (@Coach_Merritt) on the win and high-powered offense! Merritt rejoined several members of the new USF staff this season after working as a Senior Offensive Analyst at Tennessee in 2021. In between, he spent the 2022 season as the running backs coach at Georgia Southern, where he helped the Eagles reach the Camellia Bowl and rank 19th nationally in offense. Merrit previously coached the running backs at James Madison, including Percy Agyei-Obese who earned All-American honors in 2019 as the Dukes reached the FCS national championship game. Merritt was part of the Ohio State staff that won the 2015 national championship and has also coached at Elon and Ohio Dominican.
Tulsa passes first crunch-time test of the Kevin Wilson era in win over Northern Illinois
Elsewhere in the AAC, a trio of CI coaches ended their non-conference slate on a high note as Tulsa held off Northern Illinois, 22-14. After their first three games featured a pair of hard-fought losses versus top 20 opponents and a blowout win, the Golden Hurricane found themselves in a dog fight versus the Huskies. Things started off well for the visitors in DeKalb when Tulsa DL Ben Kopenski forced NIU QB Rocky Lombardi to go down in the end zone for a Golden Hurricane safety. Tulsa RB Anthony Watkins would stretch the lead to nine when he scored from one yard out early in the second, but NIU would respond with a pair of touchdowns to take a 14-9 lead midway through the third quarter. A huge defensive stand on fourth down deep in Husky territory a few minutes later got Tulsa back on track. Kicker Chase Meyer capitalized on the turnover-on-downs when he connected on a 36-yard field goal to cut the lead to two on the last play of the third quarter. The Hurricane kept the momentum going when on their next possession, RB Tahj Gary followed a host of pulling lineman, going 17 yards untouched to the end zone put Tulsa back on top, 19-14. Another field goal from Meyer provided some insurance and an interception from safety Kendarin Ray provided the nail in the coffin. Congratulations to Tulsa Assoc. Head Coach/DL Ron Burton (@CoachRonBurton), OL Coach Ryan Stanchek (@CoachStanchek) and RB Coach Adrian Mayes (@CoachAMayes) on the win! A 30-year coaching veteran, Burton spent nine seasons at Michigan State where he helped guide the Spartans to seven bowl games, including the 2015 CFP Semifinal. The only two-time winner of FootballScoop's national defensive line coach of the year award, Burton guided the Spartan defensive line to a first-place national finish in rush defense in 2018 and a second-place finish in 2013. He also boasts experience at UNC, Indiana, Air Force and Miami (OH). Stanchek arrived in Tulsa after stints as the co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at Austin Peay and Florida A&M. With the Rattlers, he helped guide an offense that propelled the program to a 9-3 record and its first playoff appearance since 2001. Before arriving in Tallahassee, Stanchek spent two seasons coaching the offensive line at Southern Miss where he helped the Golden Eagles reach the 2020 Armed Forces Bowl. He has also served on staffs at Florida State and Indiana. When Mayes made the move to Tulsa, he transitioned to coaching running backs after an incredible run with tight ends. As the tight ends coach at North Texas in 2022, Mayes worked with three tight ends who transferred to Power 5 programs following the coaching change in the offseason, including Freshman All-American Var’Keyes Gumms and All-CUSA selection Jake Roberts. Mayes mentored another All-American tight end, Keenen Brown, during a three-year stint at Texas State.
Behind a dominant defensive effort and QB Max Johnson, Texas A&M defeats Auburn, 27-10, to open SEC play
With a little over two minutes remaining in the first quarter and Texas A&M already holding a 6-0 lead, the Aggie defense sent the 12th Man into a frenzy when DB Tyreek Chappell popped Auburn RB Damari Alston in the backfield, causing a loose ball that LB Edgerrin Cooper picked up and raced 63 yards for a touchdown. Except the play never happened. Upon review, officials ruled that the pitch to Alston was a forward pass by the slimmest of margins and since Alston didn’t clearly possess the ball, it was an incomplete pass. The overturn was the best piece of news that Auburn’s offense would receive all day. Undeterred, Texas A&M’s defense continued to wreak havoc in the Tiger backfield to the tune of 7 sacks and 15 tackles-for-loss. Auburn’s kicker converted a field goal from 53 yards before halftime but those were the only points the Aggie defense would allow. Even without the scoop-and-score, Cooper filled up the stat sheet, collecting eight tackles, including three tackles-for-loss and two sacks. Fellow LB Taurean York logged a career-high 11 tackles, including two tackles-for-loss as the Aggie defense held the Tigers to just 200 yards. Congratulations to Texas A&M Defensive Analyst Elijah Sandweiss (@Elijah Sandweiss) on the win and lights-out defense! Sandweiss is in his first season in College Station after serving in similar roles at Ole Miss and Texas. In 2019, he served as the defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach at Howard. No stranger to marquee programs, Sandweiss began his coaching career at Michigan, beginning as a student equipment manager in 2012 and working his way up to a defensive analyst in 2016. He also completed an internship with the Detroit Lions in 2013.
Harris Throws Five TDs in NCCU’s 45-3 Win over MVSU
In 1984, North Carolina A&T Head Coach Vincent Brown and Jerry Rice led Mississippi Valley State to a 48-36 win over Grambling in the inaugural Circle City Classic. The Delta Devils won the first two Circle City Classics but prior to Saturday, they had not appeared in the game since 1985. North Carolina Central and Run Game Coordinator/OL Cedric Williams (@CWilliams8076) ensured that it would not be a welcome return to Indianapolis for MVSU. The Eagles jumped out to a 21-0 lead on the left arm of QB Walker Harris, who completed first-half scoring passes to receivers Devin Smith, Chauncey Spikes and Joaquin Davis. Harris threw for 263 yards and wasn’t sacked as Williams’ line kept a clean pocket for him all day. In the ground game, the Eagle offensive line paved the way for running backs Latrell Collier and J’Mari Taylor to gain 113 rushing yards on 23 carries (4.9 ypc). Congratulations to Williams on the win and offensive production! Williams is in his second season in Durham and last season helped guide the Eagles to a 10-2 record, Celebration Bowl win and HBCU National Championship. The NCCU offense led the MEAC in scoring, rushing and passing and ranked 5th nationally with 38.6 points per game. Williams spent the 2017-18 seasons as the offensive line coach at Georgia State, where he helped the Panthers set program records for rushing yards and rushing touchdowns as well as win the 2017 Cure Bowl. He has also served on staffs at South Carolina, Tennessee State and Mississippi Valley State. In the NFL, Williams has completed Bill Walsh Fellowships with the Chargers, Eagles, Giants, Vikings, Steelers and Panthers.
Spiders jump to 2-2 in CAA opener despite injuries
Following Richmond’s 20-19 win over Stony Brook, UR Head Coach Russ Huesman commented, “This is the nicest, the best win I think I’ve been involved with in a long time.” While it may seem an odd comment to make after beating the winless Seawolves, it made perfect sense in light of the circumstances. On Friday night, the Spiders learned that they would be without the services of starting QB Kyle Wickersham due to injury. They woke up Saturday morning to a nasty mix of wind and rain on Long Island and the news continued to get worse as the day went on. First, backup QB Jackson Hardy went down before halftime with an injury and then the injury bug hit a pair of starting offensive linemen. While the conditions had all the makings of an upset, Richmond RB Savon Smith had other ideas. The redshirt senior is the anchor for RB Coach Justin Poindexter’s (@FBCoachDex) position group and for the Spider offense as a whole. Putting the team on his back, Smith broke off a 36-yard touchdown run to break a 10-10 deadlock late in the third quarter. The Seawolves would respond with a pair of scores to retake a 19-17 lead, but Smith wasn’t done. Smith carried the ball six times for 28 yards on a drive that resulted in kicker Andrew Lopez delivering the winning field goal with under a minute left to send the Spiders back home victorious. For the game, Smith racked up 106 of the team’s 195 rushing yards. Congratulations to Poindexter on the gutsy win! Poindexter is in his second season in Richmond after spending the 2021 season on the defensive side of the ball as an analyst at LSU. He boasts pro coaching experience with the Tampa Bay Vipers and the Toronto Argonauts. In 2015, he completed a Bill Walsh Minority Coaching Fellowship with the San Francisco 49ers.
Catamounts Dominant in 77-21 Win over Charleston Southern
Western Carolina continued its hot start to the season with a 56-point rout of Charleston Southern that was never in doubt. QB Cole Gonzales completed a 17-yard touchdown pass to TE Ajay Belanger on WCU’s first drive and the Catamounts went on to score touchdowns on each of their first eight possessions before finally punting for the first and only time late in the third quarter. Gonzles threw for a total of five touchdowns with two of them going to WR A.J. Colombo, including a 50-yard score on a slant route. Colombo also stayed busy for Special Teams Coordinator Chris Norris (@coachnorris38), returning five punts for 80 yards. Throw in a 26-yard return from WR Corey Washington and the Catamounts averaged over 17 yards per punt return. In the kicking game, Richard McCollum converted all 11 of his extra points and punter Stephen Brantley made the most of his one attempt versus the Buccaneers, booming a 59-yarder that was downed at the CSU 8-yard line. Congratulations to Norris on the dominant win and strong special teams play! On the season, WCU has averaged 13.45 yards per punt return which ranks 27th nationally. Even more impressive, the Catamounts have recorded a total of 11 punt returns which is two more than any other punt return unit ranked in the top 30. Norris arrived in Cullowhee after five seasons as the special teams analyst for Oregon, where he helped the Ducks finish in the top 10 nationally in both Punt Return and Kickoff Return. He previously spent one season at South Florida and has also coached at Southeast Missouri, Jacksonville, Tennessee State and Webber International. In addition to working with special teams, Norris has coached running backs and tight ends.

Quick Hits

  • Chargers WR Keenan Allen took a lateral from QB Justin Herbert and connected with WR Mike Williams on a 49-yard touchdown pass as LA held on to beat the Vikings, 28-24. Congratulations to Chargers WR Coach Chris Beatty (@BeattyCoach)!
  • Tulane's defense recorded four interceptions in a 36-7 as the Green Wave rolled to a 36-7 win over Nicholls State. Congratulations to DB Coach Josh Christian-Young (@CoachJCY) and Special Teams Analyst Mike Krysl (@CoachKrysl)!
  • Houston Christian, predicted to finish last in the Southland preseason poll, went on the road and stunned preseason favorite Southeastern Louisiana, 34-19. Congratulations to HCU DL Coach Issac Mooring (@CoachMooring) and Senior Advisor to the Head Coach Chris Grimes (@CoachG_85)!
  • Bryant rallied from a 13-3 deficit in the fourth quarter to defeat Princeton in overtime, 16-13. Congratulations to Bulldogs Run Game Coor./OL Steven Ciocci (@CoachCiocci)!

Two more CI coaches will be in action tonight when the Rams travel to Cincinnati to face the Bengals on Monday Night Football. Good luck to Rams OLB Coach Joe Coniglio (@CoachConiglio51) and Asst. OL Coach Nick Jones (@CoachNickJones)!

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