CI Week 5 Highlights

Please find Coaches Inc. Highlights from Week 5 below...
When three-time Pro Bowler Taylor Lewan went down with a season-ending injury in a Week 2 loss at Buffalo, major questions loomed for the Titan offensive line. In the face of adversity, they've responded with their two best games of the season. Even with Lewan in the lineup, Titan RB Derrick Henry had yet to find his groove in opening losses versus the Giants and Bills, rushing for just 82 and 25 yards respectively. In a Week 3 win over the Raiders, Henry bounced back with 143 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown in a 24-22 win. Against the Colts, Henry ran wild once again, churning out 114 rushing yards and a score on 22 carries (5.2 ypc). The secret? For the second week in a row, Tennessee's entire offensive line played every offensive snap. Henry's touchdown came on a 19-yard run late in the first quarter that increased the Titans' lead to 14-0. Tennessee extended the advantage later in the half to 24-3 when QB Ryan Tannehill connected with TE Chigoziem Okonkwo on an 8-yard touchdown pass. The Colts would pull within seven in the second half, but Tennessee's early advantage proved to be enough as the Titans defeated the Colts for a franchise best fourth straight time. Congratulations to Tennessee Asst. OL Coach Jason Houghtaling (@UpstateNYHom) on the win and the offensive line's performance! Houghtaling joined the Titans in 2021 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.
Like Serena Gomez said in the theme song to "Wizards of Waverly Place," everything is not as it seems. In the Big 12 preseason rankings, Oklahoma received 12 first place votes and was slotted to finish second while TCU was picked in the bottom half of the conference at #7. One month into the season, it's the Sooners who find themselves in the Big 12 cellar while the Horned Frogs are one of just three remaining unbeatens. The media may have discounted TCU but it was clear on Saturday in Fort Worth where the current balance of power rests. One after another, the Frogs rolled out explosive playmakers that the Sooners were helpless to corral. The first big play came courtesy of WR Taye Barber, who hauled in a bomb from QB Max Duggan for a 73-yard touchdown to put TCU up 13-3. On the Frogs' very next offensive snap, Duggan took care of matters himself, rushing 67 yards for a score to open the floodgates. In the second quarter, it was WR Gunnar Henderson's turn. Henderson got past the OU secondary and won a footrace to the end zone for a 62-yard touchdown reception. In all, the Frogs scored four touchdowns of at least 60 yards and racked up a total of 668 yards of offense in the 55-24 win. Their 479 yards of offense in the first half marked the most of any team thus far this season against an FBS opponent. Three TCU receivers reached pay dirt and a total of 10 Frogs logged at least one reception as IWR Coach Doug Meacham (@doug_meacham) spread the wealth in the blowout win. Congratulations to Meacham on the offensive display and great start to the season! Meacham has played a critical role in TCU's rise from a mid-tier program to one of the nation's elites. First arriving in Fort Worth in 2014 as co-offensive coordinator, he helped direct an offense that set 26 school records en route to the program's first Big 12 title, Peach Bowl win, #3 national ranking and #2 finish in Scoring in his first season. For his efforts, Meacham was named a finalist for the Broyles Award, presented to the nation's top assistant coach. After a two-year stint as the offensive coordinator at Kansas, Meacham returned to TCU in 2020 and spent the 2021 season as offensive coordinator. Under his guidance, Barber was named an All-Big 12 selection in 2020 and 2021. In total, Meacham has served as the offensive coordinator for seven different programs: TCU, Kansas, Houston, Samford, Henderson State, Jacksonville State and Georgia Military.
Speaking of teams that were vastly underrated in preseason polls, Morgan State improved to 2-2 on the year after a dominant win over Virginia-Lynchburg. In July, the Bears were predicted to finish dead last in the MEAC with half the points of the next lowest team. While Morgan State has yet to play a conference opponent, they enter next week's game versus Norfolk State as one of three MEAC members who currently hold a .500 or better record. Following their win over the Dragons, Morgan State DE Elijah Williams put the rest of the MEAC on notice that the Bears are entering conference play with a purpose: "It's very important to show teams what we're made of so that they know that we're not coming to play around. We're here to actually win the MEAC." Williams backed up his talk with an impressive performance on the field versus VUL, racking up five tackles, three TFL's and one sack. Among other standouts for Asst. Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Antone' Sewell's (@CoachSewell_MSU) unit, LB Lawrence Richardson led the Bears with seven tackles while DL Nana Asante chipped in with five tackles, one TFL and a forced fumble. Offensively, Morgan State was led by QB Carson Baker who threw for 160 yards and three touchdowns before giving way to second-string QB Duce Taylor. Special teams also got in on the scoring for the Bears when Maurice Crutchfield picked up a mishandled snap by VLU on a punt attempt and returned it six yards for a touchdown to increase the hosts' lead to 37-0 Congratulations to Sewell and Special Teams Coordinator/TE Tory Woodbury (@T_Woodbury11) on the big win! Sewell is in his first season at Morgan State after spending the last 12 years 35 miles south at Bowie State. With the Bulldogs, Sewell built one of the most dominant defenses in Division II, culminating in the program's first trip to the quarterfinals in 2021. Bowie State compiled a perfect 14-0 conference record from 2019-21 and finished in the top 5 nationally in multiple defensive categories both years, including first places finishes in defensive TDs and tackles-for-loss in 2021. He coached the 2021 Division II National Defensive Player of the Year the 2019 HBCU Gameday Defensive Player of the Year.  Woodbury arrived in Baltimore this year following a five-year stint with the Los Angeles Rams, winning Super Bowl LVI as a scout for the team after also having served as the assistant special teams coach. A former NFL player, Woodbury completed internships with the Jaguars and Browns before joining the Rams. At the college level, he has also coached at Delaware State and Johnson C. Smith.
The coaching staff is entirely new this year. The roster is almost completely different as well with just 23 upperclassmen, good for the 3rd youngest out of 131 FBS programs. Still, the weight of prior struggles weighed on this FIU team.  To a person, they could tell you that the Panthers had not beaten an FBS opponent since November 2019. Worse yet, it had been over 1,500 days since the program collected a win outside of Miami. Both of those streaks came to a screeching halt on Saturday night in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The Panthers got off to a strong start thanks to QB Grayson James, who connected with WR Tyrese Chambers on a 4-yard touchdown pass with 6:01 remaining in the first quarter to put the visitors up 7-0. After the Aggies tied the score at 7-7 early in the second quarter, another touchdown pass from James, this one to WR Jalen Bracey, restored FIU's seven-point lead with 9:38 left in the half. On the Panthers' next possession, RB Lexington Joseph provided some breathing room when he took a swing pass from James and was off to the races, scampering 60 yards down the sideline to increase the FIU lead to 21-7. That proved to be more than enough cushion for Defensive Coordinator Jovan Dewitt's (@Coach_Dewitt) unit, as the Panthers shut out the Aggies for the final 43 minutes. For the night, Joseph led an FIU ground game with 80 of the team's 152 rushing yards compared to just 82 rushing yards for NMSU. The Aggies fared little better through the air, accruing just 139 passing yards on 27 attempts (5.1 ypa). It was a collective effort defensively for the Panthers as DB Demetrius Hill, DB Jamal Potts and DL Jeramy Passmore tied for the team lead with seven tackles. LB Gaethan Bernadel also impressed for FIU, collecting 1.5 tackles-for-loss. Congratulations to Dewitt and to Assoc. Head Coach/RB Eric Hickson (@CoachEHickson2) on the well-deserved win! Dewitt arrived in Miami after two seasons as the special teams coordinator and outside linebackers coach at UNC. He helped guide the Tar Heels to the 2020 Orange Bowl and the 2021 Duke's Mayo Bowl. Dewitt previously spent two seasons in the same role at Nebraska, where he was nominated for the Orange Bowl Courage Award in 2019. As the associate head coach at UCF, he helped guide the Golden Knights to a perfect 13-0 record in 2017, including a win over Auburn in the Peach Bowl. Hickson's move to FIU was a short one, arriving across town from Coral Gables after spending three seasons as Miami's running backs coach, all of which resulted in a bowl berth. A Fort Lauderdale native, Hickson coached at the high school level in South Florida from 2003-11. He spent the 2018 season coaching running backs at his alma mater, Kansas State, where he helped RB Alex Barnes earn First Team All-Big 12 honors and lead the conference in rushing.
When Josh Lamberson (@JoshLamberson) was announced as Central Missouri's new head coach in February, it was a sweet homecoming for the former Mules offensive coordinator. Over a five-year stretch from 2010-14, Lamberson directed UCM offenses that set 70 offensive school records and 24 MIAA records. On an individual level, he coached QB Eric Czerniewski to the 2010 Harlon Hill Award as the top player in NCAA Division II football. As a team, the Mules made back-to-back playoff appearances from 2010-11 for the first time in program history thanks in large part to the strength of Lamberson's offenses. After a stint as the offensive coordinator at Abilene Christian, Lamberson is back in Warrensburg with his sights set on taking the Mules back to the postseason. However, the schedule makers at the MIAA were not in a welcoming mood when they slated UCM to face each of the teams predicted to finish in the top four of the conference, all of whom entered the weekend ranked in the top 25, in the first four weeks of the season. Despite hard fought contests, the Mules came up short and were still looking for their first win of the season on Saturday for Family Weekend. All of the UCM families in attendance were able to go home happy as the Mules got on the right track with a dominant win over Northeastern State. UCM QB Cedric Case had his most efficient outing of the season, completing 70% of his passes (19-of-27) for 237 yards and two touchdowns. The redshirt sophomore also added five carries for 36 yards and a score on the ground. Case's rushing touchdown extended the Mule lead to 35-6 and capped a 12-play, 7:34 drive that chewed up the first half of the fourth quarter to effectively put the game on ice. In the ground game, RB Xavier Jackson tallied 41 rushing yards and scored two touchdowns as the Mules outrushed the RiverHawks, 201-77. Congratulations to Lamberson on his first of many wins to come at the helm for UCM! In five seasons as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Abilene Christian, Lamberson helped the Wildcats set a new school record for most wins as an FCS program in a three-year span. He previously served as the head coach at Nebraska-Kearney from 2015-17 and helped his alma mater, Northwest Missouri State, reach the national championship game in 2006 and 2007 as the Bearcats' quarterbacks coach. As player at Northwest, Lamberson was an All-American, Harlon Hill Award semifinalist and was named MVP of the 2005 national title game.
One coach in particular who is cheering for Lamberson's success is UCM alum and current Tulane DB Coach Josh Christian-Young (@CoachJCY). He may have had an opportunity to catch some of the Mules' win on Saturday after helping Tulane pull off a stunning, overtime upset over Houston on Friday night. The Green Wave entered Houston as sizeable underdogs when shortly before kickoff it was announced that they would be without the services of injured starting quarterback Michael Pratt. The Tulane quarterback situation went from bad to worse when backup Justin Ibieta exited the game after Tulane's first offensive series. Enter third-string QB Kai Horton, who began the night with just eight pass completions for his career. Horton did just enough to manage the offense and a lights-out performance from the Tulane defense delivered the Green Wave a 4-1 start for just the 26th time in the program's 129-year history. One of Christian-Young's defensive backs, Jadon Canady, delivered the play of the game in the third quarter when he scooped up a Houston fumble and returned it 57 yards for a touchdown to give Tulane a 14-7 lead. The Cougars would rally to force overtime but in the extra session it was another Tulane defensive back, Jarius Monroe, who came up with the key play, breaking up a third down pass to force a Houston field goal. With the door open, Horton took advantage by finding RB Tyjae Spears for a 10-yard touchdown pass to give the Green Wave a walk-off win. Congratulations to Christian-Young on the win and big plays by Canady and Monroe! Christian-Young is in his third season at Tulane and second working with the defensive backs after shifting to outside linebackers in 2021. In 2020, he guided a Green Wave secondary that intercepted nine passes and ranked first in the AAC with 42 pass breakups. Christian-Young arrived in New Orleans after a five-year stint at Army, during which time he helped guide the Black Knights to three bowl wins. From 2017-18, he served as the cornerbacks coach for Army teams that combined to go 21-5 and finished the 2018 campaign ranked eighth in the nation in Total Defense. In a similar role at Georgia Southern, he helped the Eagles win the 2014 Sun Belt Conference Championship.
Rhode Island and Defensive Coordinator/DB Jack Cooper (@CoachJCooper) took a break from CAA play on Saturday to attend to some in-state business. They handled it in convincing fashion, smothering Brown to claim the Governor's Cup for the fourth consecutive year. The Rams used an all-around performance to knock off their Ivy League counterpart as the defense forced four turnovers that the offense converted into 14 points. Special teams also forced a fumble on kickoff coverage that turned into another URI touchdown shortly before half as the Rams entered the break up 38-3. Individually, LB Jake Fire led the URI defense with 10 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, one interception and a quarterback hurry. Through five games, Fire has already racked up 49 total tackles, good for 18th nationally. DB Antonio Carter II also filled up the stat sheet, recording five tackles, one tackle-for-loss, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, an interception and a pass breakup. As a team, URI doubled up Brown in terms of yardage, 546-261, and Cooper's defense also forced three turnovers-on-downs. Congratulations to Cooper on the win and great defensive performance! 
Cooper is in his third year and second full season as URI's defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach. He arrived in Kingston after a two-year stint as a defensive quality control assistant at Nebraska and two years in a similar capacity at UCF, where he helped the Knights post a perfect 13-0 record in 2017 that included an AAC Championship and Peach Bowl win. Cooper has also coached at Yale, Southern Connecticut and Salve Regina.
One week after becoming the Sun Belt's all-time leader in tackles, Troy LB Carlton Martial was at it again on Saturday night in Bowling Green, KY. The senior from Mobile, AL padded his resume with another 12 tackles to go along with an interception and a pass breakup against the Hilltoppers. As he was after the Trojans' win over Marshall, Martial was once again named the SBC Defensive Player of the Week. Martial was far from the only playmaker for the Troy defense, however, as Bandit Richard Jibunor logged two pass breakups, 1.5 sacks and one forced fumble. As a defense, the Trojans took down WKU QB Austin Reed five times for sacks and snapped the Hilltoppers' streak of scoring at least 30 points in 18 games, the longest such streak in the nation. Congratulations to Troy Defensive Assistant David Mackie (@Coach_DMACK) on the win and Martial's accolades! Mackie is in his first season at Troy after a two-year stint at Louisiana Tech, spending 2021 as the Bulldogs' safeties coach after working with linebackers in 2020. Under his mentorship, safeties BeeJay Williamson and Khalil Ladler both earned All-CUSA honors in 2021 while LB Tyler Grubbs was named a Freshman All-American in 2020. Mackie previously served as the safeties coach and co-special teams coordinator at Hampton and also boasts experience at East Carolina and Georgia Military. With the Pirates, he coached the nickel backs in 2018 for a defense that finished third nationally in tackles-for-loss.  
Quick Hits
  • Kent State's defense forced three straight incompletions to force a turnover on downs and give the Golden Flashes a 31-24 overtime win over Ohio. Congratulations to Defensive Coordinator Jeremiah Johnson (@Coach_J_Johnson)!
  • Northwestern State overcame a 12-point deficit in the final 3:17 to stun Nicholls State, 36-33. The Demons recovered an onside kick with 1:34 remaining to setup a go-ahead touchdown with nine seconds left. Congratulations to NSU Defensive Coordinator Weston Glaser (@Coach_Glaser), who coordinates the onside kick unit, and to Safeties Coach Josh Jones (@Coach_JonesNSU)!
  • Southeast Missouri State RB Geno Hess rushed for 276 yards and 4 touchdowns as the #24 Redhawks beat Lindenwood, 49-28. Congratulations to SEMO Offensive Coordinator/QB Jeromy McDowell (@CoachJMcdowell)!
  • Boise State Edge Rusher George Tarlas racked up five tackles, two tackles-for-loss, one sack and one forced fumble in the Broncos' 35-13 win over San Diego State on Friday night. Boise's defense limited the Aztecs to just 12 yards of offense in the second half. Congratulations to BSU Co-Special Teams Coor./EDGE Kelly Poppinga (@Coach_Popp)!
  • The Ole Miss defense forced and recovered two critical fumbles in the fourth quarter to preserve the Rebels' win over #7 Kentucky, 22-19. Congratulations to Ole Miss Defensive Analyst Elijah Sandweiss (@ElijahSandweiss)!
  • Despite carrying the ball only 12 times, Virginia Union RB Jada Byers racked up 114 yards and two touchdowns to maintain his lead in both categories across all of Division II as the Panthers beat St. Augustine, 69-0.  Congratulations to VUU Assoc. Head Coach/Offensive Coor./OL Mike Morita (@CoachMorita)!
  • Illinois Wesleyan improved to 3-1 after giving up just 153 yards of offense in a 38-24 win over Millikin. Congratulations to Titans Defensive Coordinator/LB Matt Williamson (@CoachMW_51)!
Two more CI coaches will be in action tonight when the Rams travel to Santa Clara to face the 49ers on Monday Night Football. Good luck to Rams Asst. Head Coach/TE Thomas Brown (@iamthomasbrown) and RB Coach Ra'Shaad Samples (@RashaadSamples)!

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