CI Week 6 Football Highlights

As we approach the halfway point of the college regular season, it is remarkable to note how many CI coaches, across all divisions, have navigated the first six weeks of the season without any losses. At the Division I level, Georgia Special Teams Coordinator Scott Fountain (@CoachSFountain) and the Bulldogs have already secured bowl eligibility with a 6-0 record, while NC State Asst. Head Coach/CB George Barlow (@CoachGBarlow), South Florida DB Coach Blue Adams (@CoachAdamsUSF), and Colorado DB Coach ShaDon Brown (@Backendcoach12) are one step behind at a perfect 5-0. In Division II, Kutztown Head Coach Jim Clements (@KUHC_Clements) and Colorado School of Mines Co-Defensive Coordinator/LB Brandon Moore (@madbacker56) remain unbeaten, while at the NAIA level, Kansas Wesleyan Head Coach Matt Drinkall (@DrinkallKWU) has guided his club to six straight wins. Please find more highlights from Week 6 below.

Arizona Cardinals take down San Francisco for 1st win of season
It wasn't always pretty, but Arizona's 28-18 win over the 49ers will be one that Cardinals Asst. Special Teams Coach Randall McCray (@mccray_randall) will always remember as his first as an NFL coach. On Arizona's first offensive play, QB Josh Rosen connected with WR Christian Kirk on a 75-yard scoring strike to give the visitors a 7-6 lead. From there, the Cardinals' defense and special teams units took over. Arizona's defense forced five turnovers, including a fumble recovery by LB Josh Byrnes that he returned 23 yards for a touchdown. While the Cardinals' offense struggled to replicate the success of its first play for much of the day, punter Andy Lee kept San Francisco at bay with five punts inside the 20-yard line. Zeke Turner made the tackle on one of those punts, giving him nine special teams tackles on the season. Turner, an undrafted rookie, was named the NFC's special teams player of the month for September by Pro Football Focus. Congratulations to McCray, who arrived in Arizona after a two-year stint as the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator at Texas State. He previously served as the defensive coordinator at Gardner-Webb for three seasons, where he led the Runnin' Bulldogs to the best season on defense in program history. In 26 seasons at the college level, McCray worked with special teams and all defensive position groups during stops at Pitt, Wisconsin, Middle Tennessee, Toledo, Clemson and South Carolina among others.

Trickery, defense help #22 Florida edge #5 LSU 27-19
Ask any tight ends coach and they'll tell you that the position is one of the most overlooked on a coaching staff. A good tight ends coach must be able to teach his players all of the components of the run game including blocking in sync with the offensive line in addition to pass routes and receiving techniques. Not often, though, does a tight ends coach see one of his players called upon to throw a pass. But Florida TE Coach Larry Scott (@UFCoachLScott) and the Gator staff recognized the opportunity for something special in Lucas Krull, a backup tight end who previously was on the baseball team at Arkansas as a pitcher. On the same day that Tim Tebow was inducted into Florida's ring of honor, Krull lofted a perfect pass to QB Feleipe Franks that even Tebow could admire. Krull's pass came after receiving the handoff from Franks on an end-around and set the Gators up at LSU's two-yardline. On the next play, RB Lamical Perine scored to give Florida a 20-19 lead that the defense would hold for the final 8:48. Earlier in the game, Florida TE Moral Stephens caught a three-yard touchdown pass near the end of the second quarter to send the Gators into halftime with a 14-10 lead. With the win, Florida moved up eight spots in the AP Poll to #14 and sits at 5-1 (3-1) going into next week's game at Vanderbilt. Congratulations to Scott on the win and the performances of his tight ends. Scott spent the past two years at Tennessee including the 2017 season as the Vols' offensive coordinator. 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.

Fitzgerald leads Miss State to 23-9 win over #8 Auburn
While Tebow was being inducted into Florida's ring of honor, 550 miles to the northwest, his record as the SEC's all-time leading rusher among quarterbacks was being broken by Mississippi State's Nick Fitzgerald. Against Auburn, Fitzgerald rushed 28 times for 195 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Bulldogs to their first win over a top 10 opponent since 2016. As a unit, Mississippi State's offense piled up 349 rushing yards compared to just 90 for the Tigers. Auburn didn't fare much better through the air as QB Jarrett Stidham was held to 214 passing yards and was sacked three times by DE Montez Sweat. Fellow MSU DE Kobe Jones also had a big game, recovering a fumble in the end zone for a touchback late in the third quarter. The result marked the fifth time already this year that the Bulldogs have held an opponent to 14 points or fewer - the most in the FBS. Mississippi State limited Auburn to 3-of-14 on third downs and kept the Tigers out of the end zone on both of their trips to the red zone. Congratulations to MSU DL Coach Brian Baker (@MSUCoachBaker) who is in his third season in Starkville after 19 years in the NFL. In 2017, Baker mentored two defensive linemen who were named First Team All-SEC, marking the first time the feat had been accomplished in MSU history. Developing accolade-earning linemen was nothing new for Baker, who coached four All-Pro selections and seven Pro Bowl selections from 1996-2014. Previously at the college level, he won three ACC titles and the 1990 national championship with Georgia Tech.

Blue Hens take down Richmond, 43-28, for Rocco's 100th win
Coming off of a bye week, Delaware Head Coach Danny Rocco had plenty of time to think about his return trip to Richmond. Even for Rocco, a coach who would rather operate outside of the limelight, the story lines surrounding the game were too great to ignore. Rocco entered Saturday's contest with 99 career victories, 43 of which he accumulated at Richmond, where he guided the Spiders to three playoff appearances and two CAA championships during a five-year run from 2012-16. Last year, Delaware hosted Richmond in a thriller that the Blue Hens won in double overtime. Saturday's contest was much more one-sided. Delaware went three-and-out on its first possession, but scored one play later when Richmond fumbled the punt into its own end zone for a safety. On the Blue Hens' next possession, Offensive Coordinator/RB Matt Simon's (@RBsSaySimonSays) unit found its stride, scoring a touchdown on a four-play, 59-yard drive. Four plays later, Delaware LB Colby Reeder ripped the ball away from a Richmond receiver, returned the fumble 34 yards for a touchdown and the rout was officially on. For the game, the Blue Hens forced six turnovers and QB Pat Kehoe led the offense with 291 passing yards and two touchdowns. Congratulations to Rocco and Simon on the landmark victory! Prior to taking over at Richmond, Rocco served as the head coach at Liberty for six years where he won four Big South Championships. Simon joined Rocco last year following six seasons as the running backs coach and special teams coordinator at Buffalo, where he helped the Bulls set several rushing records. He is one of a select group of coaches who have won a college national championship (Washington - 1991) and a Super Bowl (Ravens - 2000). Simon also served as the head coach at North Texas from 1994-97.

Pitt seniors put team on their backs, beat Syracuse in OT
In a game that featured a 75-minute weather delay and several momentum shifts, Pitt running backs Qadree Ollison and Darin Hall provided the senior leadership necessary to ensure the Panthers came out on top in the end. The duo combined to tote the ball 41 times for 299 yards and three touchdowns. In the first quarter, it was Ollison who provided the spark with a 69-yard touchdown run to cut Syracuse's lead to 14-7. Pitt went on to lead by as many as 10 when QB Kenny Pickett connected with WR Rafael Araujo-Lopes for a 68-yard touchdown strike in the third quarter to put the Panthers up 27-17. The Orange rallied to retake the lead, but Pitt kicker Alex Kessman converted a 45-yard field goal with eight seconds remaining to send the game into overtime. In the extra session, it was Hall's turn to provide the big play, as he scored the winning touchdown on a three-yard run to give Pitt its third win of the year. Congratulations to Offensive Assistant James Patton (@Coachjpatton) who is in his second season with the Panthers. Patton arrived in Pittsburgh after a stint as the tight ends and fullbacks coach at Indiana from 2013-16. In 2015, the Hoosiers became just the fourth team in FBS history to feature a 3,500-yard passer, two 1,000-yard rushers, and one 1,000-yard receiver in a single season. Coincidentally, Patton was a member of one of the other three programs to accomplish the feat when he served as Oklahoma's offensive line coach in 2008. He has also served on staffs at Northwestern, Miami and Rhode Island.  

Daniels, defense help UTSA beat Rice 20-3
After a slow start to the season that included three games against Power 5 opponents, UTSA has found its stride, winning its last three contests against in-state opponents. The Roadrunners logged wins over Texas State and UTEP before completing their return to .500 with a thorough demolition of the Owls. RB B.J. Daniels carried the ball 13 times for 61 yards (4.7 ypc) and one touchdown to lead the offense while the UTSA defense forced four turnovers. Daniels' touchdown came in the second quarter and gave the Roadrunners a 10-0 lead that they increased to 13-0 by halftime. Rice scored its only points of the game on a field goal in the third quarter to cut UTSA's lead to 10, but RB Jalen Rhodes iced the game with a one-yard rushing touchdown late in the fourth quarter. With the win, the Roadrunners are 2-0 in C-USA play for the first time in school history heading into next week's matchup versus Louisiana Tech. Congratulations to UTSA RB Coach Everette Sands (@EveretteSands) on the win! Sands is in his third year with the Roadrunners following a four-year stint at South Carolina where he mentored a pair of NFL Draft picks in Marcus Lattimore and Mike Davis. Overall, Sands has worked with 1,000-yard rushers at four different schools including South Carolina, Ohio, Citadel and Elon. He spent the 2011 season in the same role at NC State and completed the NCAA Expert Coaches Forum in 2010.

West Virginia Wesleyan hangs on for 27-26 win over Charleston
A quick look at the box score might leave one confused as to just how West Virginia Wesleyan was able to pull off the upset over Charleston. Charleston ran 95 plays for 525 yards compared to just 53 plays for 242 yards for the Bobcats. UC also held a nearly 10-minute edge in time of possession. Explaining the outcome in his postgame comments, WVWU Head Coach Del Smith (@FBCoachSmith) said, "I figured if we could win special teams and the turnover battle, we'd be in good shape and I believe we did that. I thought it was a real gutsy performance from my guys." Specifically, the Bobcats forced five turnovers, including a forced fumble from Malcolm Cutner who led all players with 10 tackles. The defense's big plays set the stage for WVWU QB Luke Casey, who delivered with a 10-yard touchdown pass to WR Jujuan Linzy to give the Bobcats a 27-26 lead with 1:28 remaining in the fourth quarter. WVWU had already lost two games this season on last-second field goals, but finally caught a break when Charleston's 51-yard attempt fell just short of the goal post in the waning seconds. Congratulations to Smith, who has a history of producing elite level defenses. Prior to taking over at West Virginia Wesleyan in 2016, he served as the defensive coordinator at Bridgewater College where the Eagles posted the top ranked pass defense in the conference. Smith also has six years of experience as a head coach at the high school level.

Quick Hits
  • Utah WR Samson Nacua caught two passes for 70 yards and one touchdown in the Utes' 40-21 victory over Stanford. Congratulations to Utah WR Coach Guy Holliday (@eagle88me)!
  • Bryant LB Thomas Costigan was named NEC Defensive Player of the Week after he recorded seven tackles, two sacks, and two quarterback hurries in the Bulldogs' 21-20 win over Duquesne. Congratulations to Bryant Defensive Coordinator/LB Kevin Kelly (@KKellyDC)!
  • Virginia Union set a host of records in a 90-0 shellacking of Lincoln. Congratulations to VUU Run Game Coordinator/OL Mike Morita (@CoachMorita)!
  • Colorado Mesa TE Alex Ritter scored a touchdown in the Mavericks' 31-24 victory at Fort Lewis. Congratulations to Colorado Mesa TE Coach Mike Barela (@Coach_Barela)!

Get In Touch With Us

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