CI Week 7 Football Highlights

We have reached the halfway point of the college regular season and several CI coaches have posted terrific starts. At the FBS level, seven coaches have helped guide their teams to perfect records in conference games, including Alabama DL Coach Brian Baker, Louisiana Tech LB Coach Brian Gamble, Louisiana Tech DB Coach Jeff Burris, Southern Miss OL Coach Ryan Stanchek, Kent State Safeties Coach Will Windham, Oregon Special Teams Analyst Chris Norris, and Missouri Special Teams Analyst Dave Ungerer. CI coaches have also made their mark at the FCS level with 10 currently on teams ranked in the AFCA Top 25: #4 Kennesaw State (Defensive Coordinator/LB Blake Harrell), #7 Villanova (Defensive Coordinator/DB Ola Adams, RB Coach Brian Jones), #15 Northern Iowa (Defensive Coordinator/Safeties Jeremiah Johnson), #20 Towson (Head Coach Rob Ambrose, Special Teams Coordinator/Safeties Lyndon Johnson, DL Coach Gus Kosmakos, Special Teams Assistant D.J. Bryant), and #24 Delaware (Head Coach Danny Rocco, Offensive Coordinator/QB Jared Ambrose). Keep reading for more highlights from Week 7.

Bombers get revenge in 35-24 win over Alouettes
When Winnipeg and Montreal met in September, the Alouettes rallied from a 20-point fourth quarter deficit to claim a 38-37 win. On Saturday, Winnipeg kicker Justin Medlock converted a 43-yard field goal in the third quarter to give the Bombers an 18-17 lead, and went on to add three more field goals, a point-after and a rouge to ensure there would be no comeback for the Als this time. Winnipeg DB Kerfalla-Emmanuel Exume recorded three special teams tackles to move him into a tie for second in the CFL in special teams tackles with 23. The league leader in the category, Michael Miller, also dons the royal blue and gold for Special Teams Coordinator Paul Boudreau (@bouqb2) and the Bombers. While Miller didn't record any tackles against Montreal, earlier this season he tied a CFL record with seven special teams tackles in one game and currently sits in second place all-time with 184 special teams tackles. In an article for the Winnipeg Sun, Boudreau credited the veteran Miller with taking the rookie Exume under his wing as far as becoming a dynamic play maker on special teams. Credit certainly also goes to Boudreau himself, who in addition to tutoring Miller and Exume, has also directed the Bombers to a first or second place ranking in the following categories: Punt Return, Kick Return Touchdowns, Punt Coverage, Net Punting, Kickoff Average and Opponent Starting Field Position. Congratulations to Boudreau on the win over Montreal and strong special teams performance! Boudreau is in his fourth season in Winnipeg following a four-year stint as the assistant special teams coach for the St. Louis Rams. He also has experience coaching quarterbacks, wide receivers and running backs during 16 seasons at the college level.

Miami stifles No. 19 Virginia in upset victory
The road getting there wasn't always pretty, but the end result was a thing of beauty for Miami RB Coach Eric Hickson (@CoachEHickson2) and the Hurricanes. Playing without injured starting QB Jarren Williams and with a new kicker, Miami gutted out a 17-9 win over the Cavaliers in a Coastal Division clash on Friday night. Describing the Hurricanes' mindset after the game, Miami Head Coach Manny Diaz remarked that his favorite aspect of his team is that it never panics when things don't go right. Instead, the team's leaders continue to fight and set the tone for everyone else. One of those leaders has been RB DeeJay Dallas, who earlier this season joked that he was changing his name to "Positive Nelly" in response to outside critics. Against UVA, Dallas once again led by example, getting things started by catching a 17-yard touchdown pass from QB N'Kosi Perry for the game's first points. Dallas went on to carry the ball 13 times for 63 yards, including a key 17-yard rush to UVA's 4-yard line in the game's closing minutes. Three plays later, Perry scored on the ground to put the exclamation point on the Canes' victory. Congratulations to Hickson on the win! Hickson is in his first year at Miami but is no stranger to the area, having coached at South Florida high schools 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. Hickson previously spent three years in the same role at Akron and has also served as the interim head coach at Garden City Community College in Kansas.

NC State sacks Syracuse for its first ACC win
On the other side of the conference, North Carolina State improved to 1-1 in Atlantic Division games with a 16-10 win over Syracuse. The Wolfpack's offense struggled to find its rhythm for much of the game, but three field goals and a trick play involving WR Thayer Thomas throwing a touchdown pass to RB Trent Pennix were more than enough for the NC State defense to take care of the rest. Despite starting the game without injured cornerbacks Nick McCloud and Taiyon Palmer, plus losing CB Chris Ingram to an injury in the first half, the Wolfpack frustrated the Orange offense throughout the game. Tight coverage in the secondary allowed NC State pass rushers to rack up eight sacks on the night. In particular, backup CB Teshaun took advantage of increased playing time by breaking up a pass and logging four tackles, including one tackle-for-loss. Fellow CB Kishawn Miller also had a solid outing, notching a season-high seven tackles. Congratulations to NC State Asst. Head Coach/CB George Barlow (@CoachGBarlow) on the win! Barlow is in his sixth season in Raleigh and has helped guide the Wolfpack to a bowl game in each of his first five seasons. He arrived at NC State following a two-year stint at Vanderbilt where he guided the Commodores to two top 25 finishes in pass defense. Barlow served as New Mexico's interim head coach in 2011 and has also coached defensive backs at Oklahoma. In 2004, he coordinated JMU's defense and helped the Dukes claim the FCS National Championship. 

UAB cruises over UTSA
In a conference defined by high flying offenses, UAB has forged its own identity and risen to the top of C-USA on the strength of its defense. In 2018, Defensive Coordinator David Reeves (@CoachReeves_UAB) directed a Blazer defense that pitched three shutouts and ranked in the top 10 nationally in Total Defense en route to winning the first C-USA championship in program history. This season, UAB's defense has picked up right where it left off, ranking seventh nationally in Total Defense and first in Fumble Recoveries while not giving up more than 20 points to any of its first six opponents. UTSA was UAB's latest victim, as the Roadrunners only mustered 220 yards of offense in a 33-14 win for the Blazers. The key moment for Reeves' defense on Saturday came late in the third quarter when UAB held a 23-14 lead but turned the ball over deep inside its own territory. UTSA advanced as far as UAB's six-yard line, but were denied on fourth down when safety Will Boler stuffed UTSA RB Sincere McCormick for a three-yard loss. For the game, Boler finished with three tackles while safety Dy'Jonn Turner and linebackers Kristopher Moll and Noah Wilder all tied for the team lead with seven tackles. Congratulations to Reeves on the win and stout defensive outing! A semifinalist for the Broyles Award in 2018, Reeves is in his sixth year at UAB and fourth as defensive coordinator after previously serving as the team's defensive line coach. Reeves served as the defensive line coach at Jacksonville State in 2013 and has also worked at UT Martin and Southern Arkansas. From 2005-06, he was a graduate assistant at Alabama.

Southern Miss rolls over North Texas, 45-27
As it turns out, the missing piece for Southern Miss against North Texas may have been OL Coach Ryan Stanchek (@CoachStanchek). After losing to the Mean Green each of the last three seasons, the Golden Eagles came out on top in front of a rowdy homecoming crowd of 25,225. A big reason for the turn of fortunes can be found in the play of the Southern Miss offensive line. Whether it was in the passing game or on the ground, the Golden Eagles' offensive line had its way with the North Texas defense. USM RB De'Michael Harris rushed 14 times for 103 yards (7.4 ypc) and two touchdowns while QB Jack Abraham completed 29 passes to seven different receivers for 421 yards and three touchdowns. Abraham dropped back to pass 36 times but Mean Green defenders failed to record a sack and only generated a single quarterback pressure. After the game, Abraham talked about the offense's success stating, "I feel great. I'm confident in myself, confident in my offensive line, confident in my receivers and confident in the game plan." In total, Southern Miss generated 563 yards of offense and didn't turn the ball over once. Sitting at 2-0 in C-USA, the Golden Eagles next travel to Ruston, LA to take on Louisiana Tech in what should be a great battle for first place in the West Division. Congratulations to Stanchek, who arrived at Southern Miss this year after five seasons at Alcorn State, including one as offensive coordinator. He helped guide the Braves to a division title in each of his five seasons and multiple top 10 national rankings in Rushing Offense. Prior to arriving at Alcorn, Stanchek served in off-field roles at Florida State and Indiana.

Morehead State ends 11-game skid against Jacksonville
Head Coach Rob Tenyer (@RobTenyerMSU) and the Eagles used a combination of creativity and resilience to improve to 3-3 on the year and 1-1 in the Pioneer League. The creativity came first. On the Eagles' first possession, Tenyer reached into his bag of tricks and dialed up a double pass for a touchdown. Backup QB DeAndre Clayton lateraled the ball back to starting QB Mark Pappas, who then fired a strike to RB Issiah Aguero for a 49-yard score that gave Morehead State a 7-0 lead. But Jacksonville responded and wound up taking a 22-16 lead early in the fourth quarter. That's when the resilience kicked in. First, Clayton capped an eight-play drive with a one-yard rushing touchdown to restore a one-point lead for the Eagles with 2:31 remaining. Then, after forcing a quick turnover on downs, Aguero scored from 24 yards out to seal the 30-22 victory. On the defensive side, MSU DL Coach Jerome Riase (@JRiase) saw DE Vaughn Taylor, Jr. post a career-high 2.5 sacks, five total tackles and one fumble recovery. For his efforts, Taylor was named the Pioneer League Defensive Player of the Week. Congratulations to Tenyer and Riase on the big win! Tenyer is in his seventh season as head coach and 19th season overall at MSU. He was a part of the program's four consecutive Pioneer League South Division titles from 2002-05 and has mentored over 100 all-conference selections during his tenure with the program. Riase is in his first season with the Eagles after spending the 2018 campaign as the defensive line coach at Georgia Tech. He previously spent four seasons in the same role at Wofford, where he helped the Terriers win the Southern Conference Championship in 2017 and reach the FCS Quarterfinals in 2016 and 2017. Riase has also coached at Butler, Ashland and Savannah State.

Nebraska-Kearney shuts out Lincoln, 44-0
No matter how big their team wins, most coaches will always find room for improvement when reviewing film. That being said, finding faults in his team's performances these past two weeks will be a difficult task for Nebraska-Kearney Head Coach Josh Lynn (@CoachJoshLynn). One week after dismantling Northeastern State by a 45-10 margin, the Lopers raised the bar even higher with a 44-0 shellacking of Lincoln. Contrary to what the final score may suggest, it took UNK over 11 minutes to hit pay dirt. Continuing the theme of the week for CI coaches, Lynn used some trickeration to get his team going, having RB Dayton Sealey toss a 33-yard pass to WR Aubrey Marschel-Parker on fourth down to set up the Lopers' first touchdown. From there, the rout was on. UNK added three touchdowns in the second quarter to take a 27-0 lead into halftime and cruised the rest of the way. In addition to his passing touchdown, Sealey gained 138 rushing yards on just seven carries, including a 71-yard rushing touchdown near the end of the first half. RB David Goodwin also eclipsed the 100-yard mark, as he carried the ball 11 times for 115 yards and two touchdowns. On defense, DE Tell Spies produced the biggest highlight when he returned a fumble 18 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Congratulations to Lynn on the win! After inheriting a program that won a total of one game from 2015-16, Lynn has steadily built UNK into a winner. The Lopers recorded three wins in 2017, five in 2018, and currently sit at 4-2. A specialist at rebuilding projects, Lynn spent the previous five seasons as the head coach at his alma mater, Eastern New Mexico. The Greyhounds went 3-7 in 2012, but turned things around the following season, winning the 2013 Lone Star Conference Championship with an 8-3 record while Lynn was named a finalist for national coach of the year. In 2011, he engineered a similar turnaround in one season as the head coach at New Mexico Military Institute, as the team improved upon a 3-8 record in 2010 to go 9-2 and finish the season ranked sixth in the nation.

West Alabama cruises by Shorter
It's safe to say that in his four seasons as West Alabama's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, Don Bailey (@dbails9) has had Shorter's number. Since 2016, the Tigers have collected four wins over the Hawks and have averaged over 48 points in the process. In the latest installment, West Alabama rolled to a 41-0 win. Several Tigers had big games, highlighted by RB James Smith who carried 10 times for a career-high 150 yards and one touchdown to go along with three receptions for 26 yards. QB Jack McDaniels completed 25-of-33 passes for 326 yards and three touchdowns. The biggest beneficiary of McDaniels' passing was WR Bayley Blanchard, who hauled in seven receptions for 109 yards and one touchdown. In total, UWA put up 555 yards of offense and improved to 4-2 with the win. Congratulations to Bailey on the dominant performance! Bailey has helped guide the Tigers to two playoff appearances and his offense has set several new program records along the way. He arrived at UWA after coordinating Hawai'i's offense in 2015. From 2011-14, he served as the associate head coach and offensive coordinator at Idaho State, where he revamped an offense that was one of the worst in the country into the second best nationally in 2014. Following that season, his work was recognized by FootballScoop, who named Bailey their FCS Coordinator of the Year.

Quick Hits
  • The Arizona Cardinals won for the second week in a row, defeating the Falcons, 34-33. Congratulations to Cardinals Asst. Special Teams Coach Randall McCray (@mccray_randall)!
  • Florida A&M scored with 1:08 remaining in the game to stun South Carolina State, 42-38, and remain perfect in MEAC games. Congratulations to Rattlers Head Coach Willie Simmons (@HCWillieSimmons) and Offensive Coordinator/OL Alex Jackson (@Coach_Ajax)!
  • Florida International scored four consecutive touchdowns in the first half en route to a 48-23 win over Charlotte. Congratulations to Panthers Special Teams Coordinator James Vollono (@CoachVollono)!
  • Monmouth improved to 4-2 with a 45-0 win over Presbyterian. Congratulations to Hawks Passing Game Coor./QB T.J. DiMuzio (@CoachTJD) and Special Teams Coor./RB Sam Dorsett (@CoachSamDorsett)!
  • UT-Martin TE Colton Dowell caught five passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns in the Skyhawks' 55-14 win over Tennessee Tech. Congratulations to Run Game Coordinator/TE/T Matt Jones (@CoachMattJones)!
  • Virginia Union improved to 5-1 with a 62-0 win over Lincoln. The Panthers have won their past two games by a combined score of 106-0. Congratulations to Asst. Head Coach/Defensive Coor. Marcus Hilliard (@Coach_MHilliard) and Co-Offensive Coor./OL Mike Morita (@CoachMorita)!
  • Christopher Newport improved to 1-1 in the NJAC with a 34-10 win over William Patterson. Congratulations to Captains Head Coach Art Link (@Coach_ArtLink)!
  • Grand Valley State RB Tariq Reid rushed for 287 yards and three touchdowns in the Lakers' 35-28 win over Saginaw Valley State! Congratulations to GVSU RB Coach Issac Mooring (@CoachMooring)!
  • IMG Academy improved to 7-0 and remained #4 in MaxPreps national rankings after defeating Life Christian Academy, 43-16. Congratulations to DB Coach Antonio Banks (@ImgDBcoachbanks)!

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