CI Week 5 Highlights


Head coaches set the tone for the CI Family in Week 5, combining to post 13 wins. In addition to the four head coaches featured below, congratulations also go out to Benedict’s Chennis Berry (@coachberry77), Fort Valley State’s Shawn Gibbs (@CoachShawnGibbs), Angelo State’s Jeff Girsch (@JeffGirsch), Albany State’s Quinn Gray (@CoachQGray), UNC Pembroke’s Mark Hall (@CoachHallUNCP), Adams State’s Jarrell Harrison (@CoachJHarrison_), Howard’s Larry Scott (@CoachLScott70), Florida A&M’s Willie Simmons (@HCWillieSimmons) and Pittsburg State’s Brian Wright (@Coachbwright4) for their victories. Please keep reading for more highlights from Week 5.
After Colts rally to force overtime, Matthew Stafford is OT hero for Rams
With 3:40 left in the first quarter and the Rams already up 7-0 courtesy of a Kyren Williams three-yard touchdown rush, Williams again took a handoff from QB Matthew Stafford at the Colt three-yard line. After shimmying to his right to elude the outstretched grasp of one Colt defender, Williams bounced back to his left and was in the end zone for a second time. As Fox’s Jonathan Vilma described the scene, it looked like a practice play from a walk-thru with such little resistance offered by Indianapolis. It was a fitting end to a punishing 10-play, 94-yard drive during which the Ram offensive line exerted its will on the Colt defense. Williams would finish with 25 carries for 103 yards to pace the LA ground attack. Defensively for the Rams, OLB Michael Hoecht finished with five tackles and one pass breakup and stood out for his containment of dual threat Colt QB Anthony Richardson as noted by Rams Insider JB Scott. A converted interior defensive lineman, Hoecht has flourished in his first full season at outside linebacker under new
position coach Joe Coniglio (@CoachConiglio51). Hoecht’s pass breakup came on the Colts’ final possession to force a three-and-out and ultimately send the game into overtime. In the extra session, the Ram offense took matters into its own hands, taking the kickoff and marching 75 yards in eight plays, capped by a 22-yard touchdown reception by WR Puka Nacua. Congratulations to Coniglio and Rams Asst. OL Coach Nick Jones (@CoachNickJones) on the win! Coniglio is in his first NFL season after two seasons coaching at Navy, where he mentored John Marshall who set a new program record for sacks in a season and earned First Team All-AAC honors. Coniglio previously coached outside linebackers at Kent State and worked with the defensive line while at Rhode Island and Northern Michigan. Jones is in his third year in Los Angeles, contributing to the 2021 team that won Super Bowl LVI. He spent the 2019 campaign as a Diversity Coaching Fellow with the Falcons and at the college level he has coached at Colorado State and Air Force, working with tight ends and special teams at both stops. After playing for three seasons with the Seahawks, Jones began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at his alma mater, Georgia.
True Freshman, Veteran Linebacker Lead North Carolina A&T to Win No. 1
In six years as an associate head co
ach, Vincent Brown (@CoachVBrown59) handled most issues that can come across a head coach’s desk. Over the last week, the new head coach at North Carolina A&T handled the one issue that can prove to be the thorniest and ripe for second guessing with aplomb – changing starting quarterbacks. Not getting the type of production he expected from the position in the Aggies’ first three games, Brown turned to true freshman QB Kevin White to jumpstart the offense. Making his first collegiate start on the road but just miles from his hometown of Newport News, VA, it took White all of 41 seconds to affirm his head coach’s decision. On the Aggies’ second play from scrimmage, White faked a handoff to his right and took off to his left, leaving defenders in his wake as he went 65 yards untouched for a score to give A&T a 7-0 lead. White would later add a 40-yard touchdown rush as he and RB Kenji Christian provided a one-two punch that kept Norfolk State’s defense off balance all game. Christian tallied two touchdowns on 118 rushing yards while White was just behind him at 115 rushing yards. Christian’s second score of the day put the Aggies up 28-12. The Spartans would attempt to rally in the fourth quarter but A&T’s B.J. Turner came up with a critical quarterback pressure to thwart a late two-point conversion and preserve the visitors’ 28-26 lead. For the game, Turner logged a career-high 19 tackles and currently leads the nation in solo tackles per game. He was aided up front by DL Christopher Abraham, who recorded two tackles, one sack and one forced fumble. Congratulations to Brown as well as to Aggie Special Teams Coordinator/RB Charles Bankins (@FBCoachBankins) and DL Coach Kenard Lang (@CoachKLang) on the win! Brown spent the last four seasons as the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator at William & Mary, helping the Tribe win the CAA and reach the FCS Quarterfinals in 2022. He previously spent two seasons in the same role at Howard and co-coordinated the UConn defense from 2014-16. A former All-Pro linebacker for the Patriots, Brown coached the inside linebackers for the Cowboys in 2006 before transitioning to college, accumulating stops at Virginia and Richmond prior to UConn. He served as the linebackers coach for the Richmond team that won the national championship in 2008. Bankins was also part of the Richmond title winning staff, serving as the Spiders’ special teams coordinator and running backs coach. He went on to coordinate special teams at Maryland, Vanderbilt, Old Dominion, Charlotte and Memphis and has served as an offensive coordinator at Hampton. Bankins has mentored five all-time leading rushers at four different schools and worked with multiple players who went on to win NFL special teams player of the year awards. Lang arrived in Greensboro after two seasons as the head coach at his high school alma mater, Maynard Evans, in Orlando, FL. Lang previously worked with the defensive line at FIU and has completed Bill Walsh Minority Fellowships with the Dolphins and Vikings.
Robertson throws 5 TD passes as Maine gets 1st win in a 56-28 rout of Stony Brook
Commitment to the process. That was Maine Head
Coach Jordan Stevens’ (@CoachStevensFB) message to his players after the Black Bears thoroughly dominated Stony Brook, 56-28. Stevens applauded his team for continuing to build on the foundation that has been laid in Orono and while signs of progress have not always been apparent, they were bright and clear in an all-around effort against the Seawolves. Showcasing complementary football at its finest, Maine’s “Black Hole” defense, under the direction of Defensive Coordinator/LB Jeff Comissiong (@jeffcomissiong), wasted no time in getting things started. On the game’s first play from scrimmage, Maine DB Kahzir Brown forced a fumble that DL Xavier Holmes recovered, setting up Offensive Coordinator/QB Steve Cooper (@CoachS_Cooper) and the Black Bear offense in prime scoring position. Six plays later, Maine RB Tristen Kenan plunged into the end zone from one yard out and the Black Bears were off to the races. QB Derek Robertson threw two of his five touchdown passes in the first quarter as the hosts jumped out to a 28-0 lead and never looked back. Robertson’s favorite target on the day was WR Montigo Moss, who hauled in five passes for 108 yards and two scores as the Black Bears racked up their most points in a game since 2017. There was no shortage of standout individual performances on the defensive side for Maine, but Holmes earned defensive player of the game honors for his stat line, which included four tackles, one-half sack, one fumble recovery and one quarterback hurry. In all, the Black Bear defense logged three turnovers and three sacks while limiting Stony Brook to just 4-of-13 on third down. Congratulations to Stevens, Cooper and Comissiong on the win! A Black Bear through and through, Stevens was a team captain, team MVP and all-conference selection as a player before beginning his coaching career at Maine as an assistant in 2011 and returning in 2022 as head coach. Over a four-year stint from 2011-15, Stevens helped guide his alma mater to two playoff appearances and the 2013 CAA Championship, the program's first conference title since 2002. In 2015, he accepted the defensive line position at Yale, where he was part of a staff that won the Ivy League title in 2017. Cooper arrived in Orono this year after a five-year stint working with the quarterbacks at Nebraska, where he was instrumental in Adrian Martinez finishing the 2018 campaign as the top freshman in the country with 295 yards per game. Cooper previously spent seven years at Portland State, including two as the Vikings’ offensive coordinator. He helped engineer Portland State's 66-7 win over North Texas which represented the largest margin of victory ever for an FCS program over an FBS program. A veteran with over 25 years of college coaching experience, Comissiong is in the first season of his second stint at Maine after prior stops at Boston College, Old Dominion, Hampton, Harvard, Cornell and Bates. As the defensive line coach at Boston College, he mentored three future pros, including two players drafted in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft. His defensive line anchored an Eagle run defense that led the nation in 2010 and finished second in 2007. While at Old Dominion, he worked with eight all-conference selections, including Oshane Ximines who holds the program record for sacks.
Hornets rush for 248 yards in 48-10 win over Virginia Lynchburg
Over the course of his career, Delaware State Head Coa
ch Lee Hull (@FBCoachHull42) has mentored a number of dynamic playmakers, including Pro Bowlers Stefon Diggs, Steven Jackson and TY Hilton. While time will tell how Rahkeem Smith’s career pans out, the sophomore receiver showed that he is a threat to score anytime he touches the ball. Smith scored three times for Delaware State on Saturday, including a kickoff return, a punt return and a receiving touchdown, as the Hornets cruised to a 48-10 win, the first of many to come for Hull at Delaware State. Smith was hardly the only Hornet to shine on offense versus the Dragons as running backs Marquis Gillis and Michael Chris-Ike rushed for 102 and 89 yards, respectively. When it came to defense, the show belonged to DB Romell Harris-Freeman. The redshirt junior recorded two interceptions, the first of which came with just under six minutes remaining in the half when he returned an interception 22 yards for a score to tie the game at 7-7. Virginia Lynchburg would retake a 10-7 lead but it was short-lived as Smith returned the ensuing kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown to put Delaware State back on top for good. The second half was all Hornets as Hull’s squad ended the game by scoring 41 unanswered points. Congratulations to Hull and Delaware State DB Coach Devan Hill on the win! Before taking over in Dover, Hull served as the offensive coordinator at both Howard and Wagner and coached receivers for the Indianapolis Colts. No stranger to rebuilding MEAC programs, Hull served as the head coach at Morgan State from 2014-15, guiding the Bears to the 2014 MEAC Championship, the program’s first conference championship since 1979. Hill is in his first year at Delaware State after five seasons at Bluffton, where he coordinated the Beaver defense and coached defensive backs. In his first year with the program, he mentored safety Doniven Clark who earned all-conference honors after finishing the season ranked third in Division II in interceptions. Hill previously coordinated the Chowan defense and possesses prior Division I experience from a stint as the defensive passing game coordinator at Hampton.
Coyotes stun #2 Bison behind an active defense
The phrase “Oh geez” was uttered 27 times in the 1996 film “Fargo.” Those two words perfectly captured the sentiments of small-town residents unprepared to deal with the triple homicide conjured up by the Coen brothers in this cinematic masterpiece. You can betcha the phrase was also used at least that many times on Saturday by Bison faithful who were unprepared to deal with the defensive masterpiece directed by South Dakota Assoc. Head Coach/Defensive Coordin
ator Travis Johansen (@CoachTJohansen). The Coyotes entered their clash against North Dakota State having given up just two field goals and no touchdowns in the prior two weeks, a 24-0 win over St. Thomas and a 35-6 win over Lamar. The USD defense extended its streak of keeping opposing offenses out of the end zone by two more quarters in Fargo, punctuated by an interception from USD DB Dennis Shorter in the second quarter. The turnover gave the Coyote offense the ball near midfield and two plays later they cashed in when QB Aidan Bouman eluded pressure and found WR Carter Bell for a 52-yard touchdown to give the visitors a 21-3 halftime advantage. NDSU would finally reach the end zone in the third quarter but a late South Dakota field goal and an unsuccessful Bison onside kick sent the Coyotes back to Vermillion with just their third win in Fargo in the past 45 years. In addition to his critical interception, Shorter also led USD with 13 tackles en route to earning Missouri Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Week honors. Congratulations to Johansen on the statement win and Shorter’s accolades. Now in his fifth season at USD, Johansen helped guide the Coyotes to a home playoff game in 2021 for the first time in 35 years, thanks in large part to a defense that set new program records for points and yards allowed. Prior to arriving in Vermillion, Johansen spent six years as the defensive coordinator at Grand View University. At Grand View, he helped lead the Vikings to five conference championships, six playoff appearances and the 2013 national championship. Johansen's defenses finished in the top 12 nationally all six years and his approach to "position-less" defense was featured in a Sports Illustrated article titled “The Search to Save NFL Defenses.”
No. 21 Mules Football Gets Past Northwest Missouri State, 41-38
In 201
5, Josh Lamberson (@JoshLamberson) was inducted into the Northwest Missouri State Hall of Fame. A record-setting quarterback, Lamberson would finish his playing career as the program’s all-time leader in passing yards and completions after leading the Bearcats to the 2005 National Championship Game and earning MVP honors in the contest. Following graduation in 2006, he picked up a headset and helped the program reach two more national championship games as quarterbacks coach. The Bearcats have remained a national power since Lamberson’s departure in 2008, but on Saturday afternoon, Lamberson, now in his second season as the head coach at Central Missouri, knocked his alma mater down a peg. The Mules improved to 4-1 thanks to career days from QB Zach Zebrowski and RB Marcellous Hawkins. Channeling the gun slinging ways of his head coach, Zebrowski completed 33 passes for 412 yards and a pair of scores. Hawkins also netted a pair of touchdowns, rushing for 149 yards with a scintillating 8.3 average yards per carry. As an offense, Central Missouri put up 586 yards and scored on its final two drives to pull in front after the teams were knotted at 31-31 for much of the fourth quarter. The victory marked the first for the Mules against the Bearcats since 2012. Congratulations to Lamberson on the huge win! From 2010-14, Lamberson served as the offensive coordinator at UCM, a stretch that saw the Mules 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. In between his stints in Warrensburg, MO, Lamberson served as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Abilene Christian, where he helped the Wildcats set a new school record for most wins as an FCS program in a three-year span. He also spent two seasons as the head coach at Nebraska Kearney from 2015-16.

Quick Hits

  • Baylor RB Richard Reese rushed for 100 yards as the Bears rallied from a 28-point deficit to stun UCF, 36-35, marking the largest comeback in program history. Congratulations to Asst. Head Coach/RB A.J. Steward (@Coach_Steward)!
  • Albany QB Reese Poffenbarger threw for 244 yards and three touchdowns and LB Ori Jean-Charles added two sacks and a forced fumble as the Great Danes upset #16 Villanova, 31-10. Congratulations to Albany Assoc. Head Coach/OffCoor/QB Jared Ambrose (@CoachJambrose) and OLB Coach Chris Calabrese (@Coach_Calabrese)!
  • Texas Southern put up 568 yards of offense in a 52-7 win over Lincoln. Congratulations to Tigers Offensive Coordinator/QB David Marsh (@CoachDmarsh)!
  • Alcorn State kicker Noah Kiani made a 24-yard field goal as the clock expired to force overtime and then drilled a 30-yard attempt in the extra session as the Braves defeated Alabama State, 23-20. Congratulations to Special Teams Coordinator Lane Powell (@CoachLanePowell)!
  • Montana CB Trevin Gradney made a highlight reel interception as the Grizzlies took down Butler, 35-20. Congratulations to CB Coach Kim McCloud (@CoachKimMcCloud)!
  • Dartmouth CB Leonard St. Gourdin had a game-high nine tackles as the Green for the Green knocked off Penn in overtime, 23-20. Congratulations to DB Coach Aason Larkins (@CoachALarkins)!

One more CI coach will be in action tonight when the Giants host the Seahawks on Monday Night Football. Good luck to New York RB Coach Jeff Nixon (@CoachNixon_NYG)!

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