CI Week 7 Football Highlights

10/19/2020 There have been some strange shifts in the Top 25 this year but CI coaches have remained a constant presence in the rankings despite the volatility. Currently, five CI coaches have helped guide their teams to Top 25 spots in the AP Poll including: Florida CB Coach Torrian Gray (@togray14), UNC Special Teams Coor./OLB Jovan Dewitt (@Coach_Dewitt), Miami RB Coach Eric Hickson (@CoachEHickson2), Coastal Carolina Co-Offensive Coordinator/RB Newland Isaac (@coachisaacFB) and Oregon Special Teams Analyst Chris Norris (@coachnorris38). Congratulations to them on their strong starts as well as to Tony Coaxum, who made headlines off the field when he was recently announced as the head coach at Bluefield State College in West Virginia! Please keep reading for Week 7 Highlights.
Tigers bounce back against UCF for largest comeback in school history
In recent years, Memphis has produced some of the most successful seasons in program history, including a 2019 campaign that saw the Tigers win the AAC and reach the Cotton Bowl with a 12-1 record. However, the one achievement that has eluded the Tigers since 1990 is a win over the Golden Knights. Thanks to a wild comeback from a 21-point second half deficit, Memphis can check that item off their list now, too. Memphis WR Calvin Austin III put the finishing touches on the rally when he hauled in a 4-yard touchdown pass from QB Brady White to give the Tigers a 50-49 lead with just over a minute to play. The catch capped a stellar day for Austin, who finished the game with nine receptions for 151 yards and two scores. Fellow WR Tahj Washington also had a standout game, catching seven passes for 131 yards. Congratulations to Memphis Passing Game Coordinator/WR John Simon (@johnsimon31) on the win and great performances from Austin and Washington!
Desmond Trotter returns, leads South Alabama to 30-20 win over Texas State
It had only been six weeks since South Alabama opened its season with a road victory, but those six weeks seemed like an eternity given everything that transpired in the interim. Two hurricanes that battered the Gulf Coast, a scheduled open date and a postponed game versus Troy all served to sap any momentum that the Jaguars had hoped to carry from that opening win. To make matters worse, starting QB Desmond Trotter missed two games due to illness. But Trotter returned to action Saturday versus Texas State and helped get the team back on track. While his numbers weren’t gaudy, Trotter had a very efficient return, completing 18-of-22 passes for 187 yards and one touchdown. The Jaguars’ success through the air helped keep the Bobcat defense honest, allowing USA RB Carlos Davis to post a season-high 113 rushing yards and one touchdown on 32 carries. Davis played a pivotal role on the Jags’ most important drive of the game, carrying six times to setup a Trotter touchdown pass to WR Kawaan Baker that gave USA a 27-20 lead with seven minutes left to play. On Texas State’s ensuing drive, Jaguar CB Ryan Melton came up with a key third down stop to force a punt. Another USA field goal put the game out of reach, giving the Jaguars their first win in the history of brand new Hancock Whitney Stadium. Congratulations to South Alabama RB Coach Larry Warner (@coachWarnerRB) and CB Coach Josh Jones (@Coach_JonesUSA) on the historic win! Both Warner and Jones coached all-conference selections in 2019, including RB Tra Minter who also earned All-American honors. The pair are each in their third season in Mobile after holding their respective positions at Central Arkansas from 2016-17. With the Bears, Warner and Jones helped the program go 20-4 overall and 17-1 in Southland Conference games.
Legassey’s game-winning field goal lifts Troy past EKU
About 150 miles up I-65 from Mobile, Troy relied on some late-game magic to top Eastern Kentucky and improve to 3-1 on the season. With a 33-point win over MTSU and a 20-point win already under its belt, Troy entered Saturday’s clash riding high, but quickly realized that the Colonels were a game opponent. EKU went into halftime trailing by just four points, 21-17, and looked poised to take the lead on its first drive of the second half, driving deep into Trojan territory. But Troy CB Terence Dunlap had other ideas when he intercepted a pass in the end zone to end the drive. Eight plays later, the Trojans found the end zone to take a 28-17 lead. EKU rallied to go up 29-28, but a 47-yard field goal from Evan Legassey as time expired gave Troy the win. For the game, Dunlap finished with three tackles and broke up two passes to go along with the pick. Congratulations to Troy CB Coach Ray Brown (@CoachB212) on the win! Brown is in his second season at Troy following a three-year stint in the same role at Abilene Christian. With the Wildcats, Brown coached a secondary that helped set a new program record with 13 interceptions in 2018. He also boasts Power 5 experience with stints on staffs at Washington State and Arizona State.
CMU dominates Black Hills State
One of a handful of Division II programs playing this fall, Colorado Mesa is making the most of the opportunity. After narrowly escaping their first game with a 10-7 victory in overtime, the Mavericks improved to 2-0 in convincing fashion with a 56-7 win over Black Hills State. The conditions were snowy but they didn’t slow down CMU freshman QB Gavin Herberg, who accounted for two touchdowns, 143 passing yards and 87 rushing yards in his first career start. Herberg was one of four Maverick rushers who racked up at least 50 yards on the ground, as RB Jesse Rodriguez led the way with 158 rushing yards and one touchdown. Overall, CMU rolled to 549 yards of offense without yielding a single sack. Congratulations to Mavericks OL Coach Mike Barela (@Coach_Barela) on the win! Barela is in his third season in Grand Junction after spending his first two seasons coaching tight ends. He previously spent three seasons at Incarnate Word, where he worked on both sides of the ball including serving as the team's run game coordinator and tight ends coach in 2017. At UIW, he worked with First Team All-Southland Conference selection TE Cole Wick, who went on to play for the Lions and 49ers. Barela previously served on staffs at North Texas, Texas State and Sam Houston State.

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