CI Week 7 Highlights

Leading up to Week 7, many pundits predicted a slow week for college games as no top 25 teams faced off against one another at the FBS level. In reality, Week 7 turned out to be one of the most exciting of the season thus far as four teams ranked in the top 10 lost and a total of seven ranked teams went down. Throughout the chaos, the CI Family thrived as ranked FBS coaches largely avoided upset bids by going a combined 7-1 while a pair of defensive line coaches came through in underdog roles - Arizona State DL Coach Michael Slater (@mlslater) and Memphis DL Coach Paul Randolph (@CoachPRandolph). Please find more highlights from Week 7 below.

Kirk Cousins, Redskins hold off plucky San Francisco 49ers 26-24
After San Francisco starting QB Brian Hoyer was limited to completing just 4-of-11 passes for 34 yards in the first two quarters, Head Coach Kyle Shanahan turned to rookie C.J. Beathard to make his NFL debut. Few things can be more challenging for a rookie quarterback than going up against a Torrian Gray (@togray14) coached secondary. While Beathard initially had modest success, Washington's defense stood tall when it mattered most. Nursing a two-point lead with under a minute to play, Washington DB Kendall Fuller picked off Beathard at the Redskins' 32-yard line to end San Francisco's comeback bid. The interception was the second of the season for Fuller who is reunited with Gray after shining under his mentorship at Virginia Tech. Fuller was one of five All-Americans and eight NFL draft selections Gray worked with over the course of 10 years as the defensive backs coach for the Hokies. In 2016, Gray coached the secondary at Florida where he helped Teez Tabor garner All-American honors. Prior to his stint at Virginia Tech, Gray spent two seasons as the assistant secondary coach for the Chicago Bears.

Arizona State shuts down No. 4 Washington 13-7 in big PAC-12 upset
In a week full of upsets, none was bigger than the Sun Devils dethronement of the reigning PAC-12 champs. Washington entered Saturday night's tilt averaging 43 points per game and looked poised to continue that trend against an ASU defense that had struggled in recent weeks. But the Sun Devils bounced back in a big way and shut out the Huskies until the final minutes of the fourth quarter. Fueled by a raucous home crowd, ASU's secondary blanketed UW's receivers and the front seven took advantage with five sacks on the night. For the game, the Devils limited the Huskies to 230 total yards and just 3-for-14 on third down. Leading the way up front for Arizona State was DL Tashon Smallwood who finished with six tackles and one-half sack. Coupled with their win over Oregon three weeks ago, the Sun Devils have already defeated two ranked teams and currently sit in a tie for second place in the PAC-12 South at 2-1. Congratulations to Michael Slater (@mlslater) who is in his first season as the defensive line coach at ASU after serving in the same role at Kansas for the 2016 season. Prior to that, he spent seven years at Rice where he mentored three defensive linemen who went on to be drafted.

Mitchell leads Incarnate Word to first win, Lamar falls 33-24
Through the first several weeks of the season, the breaks have not gone UIW's way. After starting the season with back-to-back cross-country trips to California, the Cardinals returned to Texas in week 3 only to lose on a last-second fluke play at Stephen F. Austin. The law of averages dictated that eventually Head Coach Larry Kennan's team would receive some good fortune. The key for the players was to be ready to take advantage of the opportunities when they arose. Against Lamar, they did just that with a handful of big plays that swung the game in UIW's favor. The first of those big plays came with the first half winding down and UIW holding a 14-10 lead. RB Derrick Mitchell reversed field and broke numerous tackles on a 74-yard touchdown run that you need to see to believe. Mitchell finished with 137 rushing yards as Offensive Coordinator Kyle Kennan's (@CoachKyleKennan) running game racked up a total of 245 yards on the ground. Defensively, CB Cedric Lee accounted for another huge play when he picked off a pass in the end zone after Lamar had reached UIW's 2-yard line midway through the fourth quarter. The interception preserved UIW's three-point lead until QB Sean Brophy was able to seal the win with a one-yard scoring run with under a minute to play. Congratulations to the Kennans, Assoc. Head Coach for Defense/OLB Robert Lyles, and Run Game Coordinator/TE Mike Barela (@Coach_Barela) on the victory! Larry is in his sixth season at the helm for UIW following a 13-year stint as the Executive Director of the NFL Coaches Association. He was part of the L.A. Raiders staff that won Super Bowl XVIII and served as the head coach for the World Bowl Champion London Monarchs in 1991. Kyle, who also coaches wide receivers, is the longest tenured member of the staff having been with the program since its start in 2007. Lyles arrived at UIW in 2015 following one year at Jackson State and seven as the linebackers coach at Army. Barela is in his third year at UIW where he has also worked on the defensive side of the ball with the Cardinals' nickel backs. He previously served on staffs at North Texas, Texas State and Sam Houston State.

UConn upsets Temple behind strong showing from defense
In five seasons as the defensive coordinator at Villanova, Billy Crocker (@Coach_Crock) groomed a unit that had reached the top of the FCS by 2016 when they led the nation in Total Defense and Points Allowed. Now in the same role at UConn, Crocker has begun putting his stamp on the Husky defense. While it is still a work in progress and the Huskies aren't yet able to smother opposing offenses the way Crocker's units at Villanova did, they are making up for any deficiencies in the turnover department. Against Temple, UConn won on the road for the first time in nearly two years thanks in large part to its defense. The Huskies forced two turnovers and stopped the Owls on downs three times to pull off the 28-24 upset. The defense's biggest contribution came in the third quarter when safety Tyler Coyle intercepted a pass and returned it 34 yards for a touchdown to give the Huskies a 28-14 lead. The Owls managed to cut the lead to four, but UConn stopped them on downs on each of their last two drives to preserve the win. Congratulations to Crocker who spent a total of 12 seasons with the Wildcats in a variety of roles including coaching defensive line, linebackers and coordinating special teams. He also has experience coaching on offense from a stint at Albany where he served as running backs coach.

Rutgers piles up 274 rushing yards, 5 TDs in record-setting victory over Illinois
Four different running backs scored touchdowns for Rutgers as the Scarlet Knights snapped a 16-game losing streak against Big Ten opponents by defeating Illinois, 35-24. Make no mistake, the Rutgers defense did its part as well with DB Jawuan Harris leading the way with a team-high 11 tackles, an interception and forced fumble. Harris' breakout performance was all the more remarkable considering he is a converted wide receiver who was moved to defense last week in response to the rash of injuries that have decimated the Scarlet Knights' secondary. DB Damon Hayes, starting at corner in place of injured Blessaun Austin, also had a solid performance in recording three tackles and two pass-breakups against the Illini. Congratulations to Rutgers CB Coach Henry Baker (@CoachHB) on the win! A New Jersey native, Baker returned home to Rutgers this season after a six-year stint as the cornerbacks coach at Delaware. He has also worked on staffs at Maryland and East Stroudsburg in addition to completing Bill Walsh Minority Coaching Fellowships with the Dolphins, Lions and Giants.

Bobcat defense shines in 10-7 win over UVA-Wise
West Virginia Wesleyan Head Coach Del Smith's (@FBCoachSmith) defense put on a show for the homecoming crowd on Saturday. The Bobcat defense held the Cavaliers to just seven points, recorded three interceptions, had three sacks and scored the game's only touchdown. The touchdown came near the end of the first quarter when LB Gabriel Moultrie sacked UVA-Wise QB Jarome Johnson and forced a fumble that DL Aman Speed Jr. scooped up and returned 41 yards to give WVWC a 10-0 lead. Moultrie and Speed continued to wreak havoc for the Cavaliers the rest of the game as the former led the Bobcats with eight tackles while the latter finished with two sacks. As a unit, WVWC held UVA-Wise to less than 300 yards of offense and 2-for-16 on third downs. On offense, Bobcat RB Dante Satcher led all rushers with 70 yards and averaged 6.4 yards per carry. Congratulations to Smith who has a history of producing stalwart 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. He also has six years of experience as a head coach at the high school level.

Quick Hits
  • With Ottawa and Winnipeg's wins this weekend, all three of CI's CFL coaches have punched their ticket to the postseason. Congratulations and good luck to Ottawa Offensive Coordinator Jaime Elizondo (@CoachElizondo), Calgary DB Coach Kahlil Carter (@ThePplzChamp) and Winnipeg Special Teams Coordinator Paul Boudreau (@bouqb2)!
  • Arizona intercepted UCLA QB Josh Rosen three times in rolling to a 47-30 win over the Bruins. Congratulations to Wildcat LB Coach Scott Boone (@CoachScottBoone)!
  • Stanford forced three turnovers and held Oregon to its lowest scoring output in a decade in the Cardinal's 49-7 win. Congratulations to Defensive Assistant Toure Carter (@ToureCarter)!

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