CI Week 6 Football Highlights

A few more teams kicked off their seasons this weekend as the total number of games played was the largest so far this fall. It was an especially good weekend for CI’s North Carolina coaches as the Tar Heels (Special Teams Coor./OLB Jovan Dewitt
), Charlotte (Special Teams Coordinator Charles Bankins) and East Carolina (RB Coach De'Rail Sims and Special Teams Coor./OLB/DE Byron Thweatt) all won their games. Keep reading for more highlights from Week 6.
Texans rout Jags, 30-14, for first win of season under Romeo Crennel
Whether it was related to Crennel’s promotion or not, the Texans defense posted its best performance of the season on Sunday. After entering the game at the bottom of the league in Rush Defense, Houston limited the Jaguars to 75 yards on the ground, including just 48 rushing yards from Jacksonville starting RB James Robinson. The Texan defense also forced its first two turnovers of the season, with both coming at critical junctures of the game. In the third quarter, after an interception gave Jacksonville possession inside Houston territory, Texans DE J.J. Watt recovered a fumble to keep the Jaguars off the board and preserve Houston’s 13-7 lead. The second fumble recovery came in the fourth quarter with the Jaguars driving and looking to cut into Houston’s 23-14 lead. Texans OLB Jacob Martin strip-sacked Gardner Minshew, forcing a fumble that Whitney Mercilus recovered to set up a Houston touchdown that proved to be the final margin. Congratulations to Texans Defensive Assistant Deon Broomfield (@CoachBroomy) on the win! Broomfield is in his first season in the NFL after coaching defensive backs at the college level for five years, including stints at Indiana State, Western Illinois and Carthage College. He played collegiately at Iowa State before playing one season with the Buffalo Bills.
In showdown of Tigers, Mizzou stuns LSU for thrilling upset victory at Columbia
Despite missing multiple starters in all three phases, Missouri rallied to stun the defending champs in a shootout. Redshirt freshman QB Connor Bazelak completed 29-of-34 passes for 406 yards and four touchdowns in just his second career start to lead the Tigers. On the ground, Mizzou RB Larry Rountree III gained 119 rushing yards while fellow RB Tyler Badie gained 39 rushing yards and one touchdown on five carries. Badie accounted for 106 all-purpose yards, including a 39-yard kickoff return. Badie’s return wasn’t the only highlight for Missouri Special Teams Coordinator Erik Link (@CoachErikLink) as freshman kicker Harrison Mevin converted a 52-yard field goal and Isaiah McGuire blocked a LSU field goal attempt with 7:04 left to play. McGuire’s block set the stage for Bazelak’s fourth touchdown pass to give the home team a 45-41 lead. On its ensuing possession, LSU drove down to Mizzou’s one-yard line, but the Tiger defense held firm for a goalline stand to set off a celebration in Columbia. Congratulations to Link of the big win! Link arrived in Missouri after helping guide Appalachian State to a 13-1 record and Sun Belt Championship as the Mountaineers’ special teams coordinator in 2019. McGuire’s field goal block on Saturday continued an excellent run for Link’s block units as Appalachian State ranked first in the nation in 2019 with seven blocked kicks. The Mountaineers did not concede a block by their own kicking units and also finished in the top 25 nationally in several other special teams categories. Link spent the 2010 season as a quality control assistant at Auburn, where he helped the Tigers go 14-0 and win the BCS National Championship. He has also served on staffs at Louisiana Tech, Iowa State, Montana State and Drake.
East Carolina recaptures the sweet taste of victory in Tampa
The tide is beginning to turn for the Pirates. After a rough stretch that saw the program win only one conference game against an opponent other than UConn since 2017, the current staff has been laying a new foundation since arriving in Greenville last year. On Saturday, the results from that foundation were evident. For just the second time in program history, East Carolina defeated South Florida, and unlike its triumph in 2014, this game was rarely in doubt. Two touchdown passes from QB Holton Ahlers gave the Pirates a 17-3 lead after the first quarter and RB Rahjai Harris extended the lead with a 42-yard touchdown run to open the second quarter. For the game, Harris rushed 19 times for 115 yards and two touchdowns. On the defensive side, OLB Jireh Wilson finished with a game-high two sacks and six total tackles. On special teams, ECU kicker Jake Verity converted three field goals and all five extra points to become the program’s all-time leading scorer. Congratulations to ECU RB Coach De'Rail Sims (@DeRailSims) and Special Teams Coor./OLB/DE Byron Thweatt (@Thweattster32) on the win! Sims is in his second season in Greenville after spending the previous three seasons coaching running backs at James Madison. With the Dukes, Sims reached the national championship game on two occasions, including winning the title in 2016. During their title run, the Dukes were fueled by a rushing attack that broke the CAA single-season rushing record with 4,125 yards. Sims has completed the NCAA-NFL Coaches Academy as well as the AFCA's 35 Under 35 Leadership Institute. Thweatt was also part of James Madison's national championship winning staff and runner-up finish, having coached for the Dukes from 2016-17 before spending the 2018 season as the linebackers coach at Marshall. With the Thundering Herd, Thweatt helped guide the team to a 9-4 record and win in the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl. He previously served as the head coach at Virginia State and also coached the linebackers at Richmond.
Navy holds off Temple for 31-29 victory
Following the Midshipmen’s loss at Air Force, Navy’s offensive coordinator was asked what his offense needed to do to get back on track. His answer – “get the fullbacks going.” It might not be an answer that you’d hear from many other offensive coordinators, but it certainly proved to be the key for the Mids. FB Nelson Smith led all rushers with 120 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries while FB Jamale Carothers added another 53 rushing yards and one touchdown on 15 carries. Both Smith and Carothers were able to take advantage of rushing lanes opened by a Navy offensive line that imposed its will on the Owl defensive front. Overall, the Midshipmen rushed for a total of 251 yards and now find themselves at 2-0 in the AAC heading into next week’s contest at East Carolina. Congratulations to Navy Run Game Coordinator/OL Ashley Ingram (@CoachAIngram) on the win! Ingram is in his 13th season in Annapolis and 8th as run game coordinator. During his tenure at Navy, he has been to 10 bowl games and won three division titles. On two occasions (2015 & 2019) he has helped the program tie a school record with 11 wins in a season. Before arriving at Navy, Ingram served as the offensive coordinator at Bucknell and has also coached at Rhode Island, North Alabama, Temple and West Alabama.

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