CI Week 5 Highlights

With five weeks of games in the books at the college level, the polls are starting to be based more on results and less on preseason hype. Several teams with CI coaches have been beneficiaries of this trend including #24 NC State and Asst. Head Coach for Defense/CB George Barlow (@CoachGBarlow) as well as #25 UCF and Assoc. Head Coach/SpecTeams/LB Jovan Dewitt (@Coach_Dewitt) who both entered the season unranked. However, the biggest mover has been Georgia who has risen all the way to #5 after beginning the season ranked #15. Congratulations to Defensive Assistant Will Windham (@CoachWindham) and Special Teams Analyst Scott Fountain (@CoachSFountain) on the great start! A number of CI coaches at the FCS level have also improved their ranking since the season began, but the most impressive start belongs to the team that had no room to move up - #1 James Madison. Congratulations to RB Coach De'Rail Sims (@DeRailSims) and ILB Coach Byron Thweatt (@Thweattster32) who have now won 17 games in a row in their attempt to repeat as national champions! Please find more highlights from Week 5 below.

Browns fall to Bengals, 31-7, in the Battle of Ohio
Bengals defensive end Carl Lawson isn't a fan of mouthpieces. He hasn't worn them in the past and was non-committal about wearing them in the future despite losing two teeth on a play in Sunday's game. According to Lawson, the teeth were a small price to pay for another knockdown of Browns QB DeShone Kizer. Lawson's two hurries on the day were part of a relentless Cincinnati defense that kept Cleveland off the scoreboard until late in the fourth quarter. In total, the Bengals generated eight hits on Browns' quarterbacks, six tackles-for-loss and one turnover. Those numbers were more than enough for Bengals QB Andy Dalton who completed 25 of 30 passes for 286 yards and four touchdowns. Cincinnati outgained their instate rivals by a whopping 350-215 margin. Congratulations to Bengals DL Coach Jacob Burney on the dominant performance! Burney is in his second season in Cincinnati and 22nd overall in the NFL. Prior to joining the Bengals, he coached defensive fronts for Cleveland, Baltimore, Carolina, Denver and Washington. Burney has also coached at the highest level of the college game with stints at Mississippi State, Wisconsin, UCLA and Tennessee.

Cooper, Nunez lead SE Louisiana to 49-20 win over NW State
In their season opener, Head Coach Ron Roberts (@CoachRonRoberts) and Southeastern Louisiana couldn't convert a two-point conversion that would've put them ahead of Louisiana-Lafayette with less than a minute to play. QB Lorenzo Nunez was making his first career start for the Lions that day and he didn't disappoint in guiding an offense that racked up 514 yards and scored 48 points. Unfortunately, Nunez picked up an injury and SLU's offense sputtered the next two weeks in his absence. Nunez finally returned to the starting role last weekend and engineered a 49-21 win for the Lions over Lamar. On Saturday, SLU's offense once again put up 49 points as the Lions cruised to a road win at Northwestern State. Nunez threw for 254 yards and two passing touchdowns and RB Julius Maracalin tied a career-high with three rushing touchdowns. Defensively, DB Max Lyons led the way for SLU with nine tackles, one interception, two tackles-for-loss and one sack. The Lions also scored on special teams when WR Joe Pack recovered a blocked punt in the end zone during the second quarter to give the visitors a 35-6 lead. Congratulations to Roberts who is in his sixth season at the helm for the Lions! In 2013, he was named Southland Conference Coach of the Year and a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award after leading SLU to its first conference title in program history and a #6 national ranking. As the head coach at Delta State from 2007-11, Roberts led the Statesmen to two Super Region II titles.

Richard McQuarley, New Mexico run away from Air Force in win
While it's only his first season with the Lobos, New Mexico Safeties/Nickels Coach Jordan Peterson (@CoachJPeterson) is very familiar with defending Air Force's triple option attack after having spent the previous five seasons at fellow Mountain West member Fresno State. That familiarity paid dividends on Saturday as both of his starting safeties, Jacob Girgle and Jake Rothschiller, set new career highs and led the team with 13 and 12 tackles respectively. Rothschiller also recovered a fumble and recorded two tackles-for-loss in the 56-38 victory. Overall, the Lobos set new season highs in tackles-for-loss (11) and sacks (4). On the other side of the ball UNM RB Richard McQuarley tied a school record with five rushing touchdowns and 179 yards on the ground. McQuarley's output and the Lobos' stifling defense were more than enough to ensure that UNM won for the third consecutive year against the Falcons. Congratulations to Peterson on the win! While at Fresno State, he helped guide the Bulldogs to two conference championships and one division title. Peterson began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at his alma mater, Texas A&M, where he was part of a defense that led the nation in sacks in 2011.

After winning three in a row, FIU on top of conference standings
Last week, the Miami Herald ran an article crediting the Panthers' winning start in large part due to the strength of their special teams units. Kicker Jose Borregales, punter Stone Wilson and kickoff specialist Sean Young had all been key in helping the Panthers to wins over Alcorn State and Rice. Entering their game against Charlotte, FIU was looking to improve to 3-1 for just the second time in program history. For most of the first half, however, 2-2 looked like a much more likely outcome. The Panthers came out of the gate sluggish and fell behind 26-7 late in the second quarter before FIU QB Alex McGough connected with WR Thomas Owens on a 6-yard scoring strike just before halftime. From that point forward, the Panthers took over the game in all three phases. McGough ran for two scores in the second half and kicker Jose Borregales converted a 27-yard field goal to secure a 30-29 win for FIU. In addition to Borregales' decisive kick, Wilson also played a crucial role as he boomed a 56-yard punt that pinned Charlotte at its own 2-yard line to begin its final drive. For the day, Wilson averaged over 45 yards on his five punts and was named C-USA's Special Teams Player of the Week today for his performance. Congratulations to Special Teams Coordinator James Vollono (@CoachVollono) who is in his first year at FIU after spending the 2016 campaign as a special teams analyst at Georgia. Vollono 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.

Charleston Southern rolls past Mississippi Valley State
"Enough talk" - that was the halftime message from the CSU coaching staff to players in a game where the Bucs held a slim 10-7 lead after two quarters. Coming off back-to-back Big South championships, expectations are high for CSU this season and few expected the overmatched Delta Devils to put up much resistance on Saturday. The truth proved to be just the opposite, however, and the Buccaneer coaches challenged their players to back up the hype with their performance on the field. The message was received loud and clear. CSU blitzed MVSU for 48 unanswered points in the second half to roll to a 58-7 win. The Buc defense tied a school record with nine sacks and forced four turnovers. One of those turnovers was an interception by DB Sekwan Jenkins that he returned 70 yards for a touchdown to put CSU up 38-7 in the third quarter. Congratulations to CSU CB Coach Bryant Foster (@CSUcoachFoster) on the win! Foster is in his first season in Charleston after serving as the cornerbacks coach and defensive pass game coordinator at Hampton from 2015-16. He has held similar roles at Campbell, Delaware State and his alma mater, Gardner-Webb.

Columbia beats Princeton, 28-24
Columbia entered its matchup against Princeton facing long odds. The Lions had lost to the defending Ivy League champions seven straight times and had not started a season 3-0 since 1996. Columbia reversed both of those trends thanks to an opportunistic defense and a career day from WR Ronald Smith. Smith set a school record with 10 catches for 236 yards, including a 63-yard touchdown reception with just over a minute to play and the Lions trailing by three. DB Ben McKeighan made sure Smith's score held up when he intercepted Princeton QB Chad Kanoff at the Columbia 28-yardline on the Tigers' final possession. In all, the Lions' defense forced four turnovers on the day and limited Princeton to scores on only three of their five trips inside the red zone. For the season, Columbia ranks sixth in the nation in red zone defense having held opponents without points three out of seven times. Congratulations to Lions DL Coach Darin Edwards (@CoachDEdwards)! Edwards is in his third season at Columbia after coaching the defensive line at Fordham in 2014. From 2008-13, he coached at Sacred Heart where he served in a variety of capacities including coaching running backs, outside linebackers, defensive line and coordinating special teams.

One more CI coach will be in action tonight as Washington and DB Coach Torrian Gray (@togray14) travel to Kansas City looking to hand the Chiefs their first loss of the season.

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