CI Week 7 Highlights


The first wave of bowl eligible teams has started to punch their postseason tickets and the Coaches Inc. Family was among the first in line, represented by Liberty Co-Offensive Coordinator/RB Newland Isaac (@coachisaacFB) as the Flames picked up their sixth win of the season on Tuesday night, a 31-13 decision over Jacksonville State. Six more CI coaches followed suit on Saturday, including Oregon State DB Coach Blue Adams (@CoachAdamsOSU), Iowa Recruiting Specialist Christopher Browne (@CoachBrowne72), Missouri Special Teams Coordinator/TE Erik Link (@CoachErikLink), Toledo CB Coach Corey Parker (@CoachCParker), Miami (OH) Associate Head Coach/OL Coach James Patton (@Coachjpatton), and Miami (OH) Pass Game Coordinator/WR Coach Myles White (@M_White03). Congratulations to each of them on superb first halves of the season! Please keep reading for more highlights from Week 7.
Oregon State defense leads the way in win over UCLA
The College Gameday crew may have been drawn to Seattle by Starbucks or fish throwing at Pike Place, but Saturday’s game between Washington and Oregon wasn’t the only top 25 tilt in the Pacific Northwest. About 250 miles south, Oregon State and UCLA met as ranked teams for the first time since 2001. After a three-pick performance by Oregon State’s defense, the Beavers are on the cusp of their first top 10 national ranking since 2012. All three interceptions came in the first half and led to OSU points, starting with DB Akili Arnold’s takeaway on the Bruins’ opening possession that led to a Beaver field goal. After another pick by LB Andrew Chatfield, Jr. turned into an OSU touchdown, DB Ryan Cooper, Jr. saved the best for last, returning an interception 67 yards for a score right before halftime to send the hosts into the break with a 23-10 lead.  UCLA attempted to rally late but the Beaver defense forced turnovers on downs on each of the Bruins’ final two possessions to secure their sixth win earlier than any other bowl-bound Beaver bunch in program history. Congratulations to OSU DB Coach Blue Adams (@CoachAdamsOSU) on the win and ball hawking secondary! Adams is in his fifth season at Oregon State and last year helped guide the Beavers to a win in the LA Bowl and 10 overall wins, marking the first time the program has reached that milestone since 2006. Adams arrived in Corvallis after a two-year stint as the defensive backs coach at USF and one season at West Virginia. With the Mountaineers, he molded Rasul Douglas from second string to Second Team All-American and a third-round draft pick. Adams previously served as the assistant defensive backs coach for the Miami Dolphins and has also coached at Northern Iowa.
Green Wave gets long awaited road win at Memphis
Tulane is still one win away from locking up bowl eligibility but they had more pressing concerns on Friday night in Memphis. Thanks in part to a pair of interceptions from their defensive backs and solid special teams, the Green Wave improved to 5-1 overall, stayed perfect in AAC games and fought off a strong challenge from one of the biggest threats in their quest to repeat as conference champs. After the teams traded punts to open the game, Tulane DB Lance Robinson got the visitors jumpstarted when he picked off a Seth Henigan pass with just under eight minutes remaining in the first quarter. Nine plays later, Tulane RB Makhi Hughes converted Robinson’s takeaway into points when he plunged into the end zone from two yards out. The Green Wave appeared to be in good shape when they extended the lead to 10-0 on a field goal from Valentino Ambrosio, but a 21-0 run by the Tigers put the reigning Cotton Bowl champs on their heels. A one-yard scoring run by QB Michael Pratt brought Tulane back within striking distance at 21-17, and then a nine-yard scoring run by WR Yulkeith Brown on the first play of the fourth quarter put the Green Wave back on top. In a fitting bookend to Robinson’s opening interception, DB Kam Pedescleaux nabbed his first pick of the year, leading to seven more Tulane points and effectively sealing the Green Wave’s first win at Memphis since 1998. Congratulations to Tulane DB Coach Josh Christian-Young (@CoachJCY) and Special Teams Analyst Mike Krysl (@CoachKrysl) on the win! Christian-Young is in his fourth season at Tulane and third working with the defensive backs after shifting to outside linebackers in 2021. In 2022, he guided a Green Wave secondary that ranked second in the AAC in interceptions as the team enjoyed a breakout season, finishing 12-2 and ranked #9 nationally. Christian-Young arrived in New Orleans after a five-year stint at Army, during which time he helped guide the Black Knights to three bowl wins. From 2017-18, he served as the cornerbacks coach for Army teams that combined to go 21-5 and finished the 2018 campaign ranked eighth in the nation in Total Defense. In a similar role at Georgia Southern, he helped the Eagles win the 2014 Sun Belt Conference Championship. Krysl, who served as special teams coordinator on the Army staff in 2018 and the Georgia Southern staff in 2014, reunited with Christian-Young this season after coordinating special teams at Samford in 2022. With the Bulldogs, Krysl won the SoCon Championship and reached the FCS Quarterfinals while earning a #7 national ranking. From 2020-21, he assisted with special teams at Arkansas.
Colorado State shocks Boise State, 31-30, on last-second Hail Mary
It was around 1:30am eastern and while most of the college football world was shutting down shop, things were just heating up out West. In Fort Collins, CO, Boise State appeared to be heading towards maintaining its perfect record versus Colorado State, having opened up a 30-10 lead with under five minutes to play. Instead, the Rams had other ideas. After a pair of touchdown passes from QB Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi sandwiched around a recovered onside kick, Colorado State TE Dallin Holker tied the game when he corralled a deflected Hail Mary attempt in the end zone as time expired. As the clock was striking midnight in Fort Collins, 31-year-old English kicker Jordan Noyes was sending the CSU crowd into a frenzy as he knocked the extra point through the uprights on an untimed down for the Rams’ first win against the Broncos in 13 tries. While offense and special teams pulled off the late heroics, Colorado State would not have been in position to mount a comeback if its defense had not kept the game within reach in the early going. While the Ram offense struggled, managing just four first downs and zero points, the CSU defense limited the damage by forcing three turnovers in the first half, including interceptions by defensive backs Chigozie Anusiem and Henry Blackburn. For the season, the Ram defense has forced 14 turnovers which ranks first in the Mountain West and sixth nationally. Congratulations to Colorado State CB Coach Marcus Patton (@marcuspatton4) on the miraculous win! Patton arrived in Fort Collins in 2022 and last season helped the team finish third in the conference in pass efficiency defense. Patton previously spent six seasons as the defensive coordinator at Tarleton State, where he was instrumental in leading a seamless transition for the Texans from Division II to Division I. In the 2021 spring season, the Texans went 5-3 in their first games at the FCS level, limiting opponents to an average of 19.3 points per game and holding four opponents to under 200 yards of offense. In its final two years of competition in Division II from 2018-19, the Tarleton defense gave up only 16.4 points per game en route to back-to-back LSC titles, two undefeated regular seasons, a regional final appearance and a #3 national ranking. Patton previously served as the defensive coordinator at Colorado Mesa and Fairmont State and has prior FBS experience from stints at UCLA and USF.
No. 16 Montana beats No. 3 Idaho for statement victory
At the same time as the Rams were on the comeback trail in Fort Collins, Montana was in the midst of pulling off the biggest upset of the FCS weekend, stunning the Vandals in Moscow, ID. In a reversal from the Rams’ winning formula, the Grizzles jumped out to a fast start over Idaho. Montana’s defense became the first of the season to keep the Vandals from scoring on their first offensive possession, forcing punts on Idaho’s first three possessions as the visitors jumped out to a 20-0 lead in the second quarter. Idaho would get on the board before halftime but failed to carry any momentum into the third quarter as defensive backs Ryder Meyer and Jaxon Lee nabbed fourth-down interceptions on each of Idaho’s first two possessions of the third quarter. Lee returned his pick for 27 yards into Vandal territory, setting up a Montana field goal that increased the Grizzly lead to 23-7. Idaho would draw within two at 23-21 but could pull no closer as DE Kale Edwards came up with a strip sack that LB Levi Janacaro recovered to setup victory formation for the Montana offense. For the game, the Montana secondary logged three pass breakups and was strong in coverage all night, allowing the guys up front to tally six sacks, the most for the Grizzlies since 2021. Congratulations to Montana CB Coach Kim McCloud (@CoachKimMcCloud) on the win and strong play from the Grizzly secondary! McCloud is in his second season in Missoula and first as cornerbacks coach after serving as a defensive analyst in 2022. A veteran boasting over 25 years of coaching experience on both sides of the ball, McCloud has been on both sides of the Little Brown Stein rivalry after coaching defensive backs at Idaho from 1998-99. At the FBS level, he served as assistant head coach at Syracuse and Bowling Green, in addition to coordinating the Falcon defense. Overall, McCloud has been a part of 13 staffs that reached the postseason, mentored 26 all-conference selections, three All-Americans, three Biletnikoff Award semifinalists and 11 NFL players.
Southeast Missouri State scores 21 straight points to beat Eastern Illinois 35-28
Now in its sixth season with Jeromy McDowell (@CoachJMcdowell) as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, Southeast Missouri State has enjoyed a renaissance. From 2011-17, the Redhawks went 24-55 (.304) while never winning more than three OVC games in a season or finishing better than fifth in the conference standings. Following McDowell’s arrival in Cape Girardeau, the Redhawks went 35-22 (.614), never won fewer than four OVC games in a season or finished worse than fourth in the conference standings from 2018-22. They also claimed two OVC championships, made three playoff appearances and won the program’s first FCS playoff game in that stretch. In the summer of 2023, the OVC was radically transformed as a result of a merger with the Big South, designed to strengthen both conferences amidst a backdrop of near-constant realignment. Merger or no merger, there has been no slowing down McDowell and SEMO. The Redhawks improved to 2-0 in the Big South-OVC after a 35-28 win over Eastern Kentucky on Saturday. As he has done numerous times over the past four years, RB Geno Hess led the charge for the hosts. The reigning OVC Player of the Year and First Team All-American, Hess rushed for 129 yards and two touchdowns while adding 53 receiving yards to become the program’s all-time leader in all-purpose yards. Hess’ pair of scores came in quick succession at the end of the third quarter and beginning of the fourth, turning a 21-14 deficit for the Redhawks into a 28-21 advantage. Freshman RB Keveon Robbins provided some insurance midway through the quarter with a two-yard touchdown run, which proved to be critical as the Panthers clawed back within seven at 35-28. Through the air, SEMO QB Paxton DeLaurent completed 19 passes for 257 yards and one touchdown. Congratulations to McDowell on the win and Hess’ historic day! Following the Redhawks’ run to the second round of the playoffs in 2019, McDowell was named one of three finalists for AFCA Assistant Coach of the Year. He arrived in Cape Girardeau after a four-year stint at Colorado Mesa, including two as co-offensive coordinator and two as offensive coordinator. With the Mavericks, McDowell was part of three RMAC Championship winning teams.
The Black and Gold defeat Robert Morris on Homecoming
On the flip side of the Big South-OVC merger, Bryant arrived after spending the 2022 campaign in the Big South. Perpetual social climbers, the Bulldogs started football in 1999 as a Division II program, transitioned to Division I in 2008 and have continued to rise up the FCS ranks at a breakneck pace. In July 2024, Bryant is set to move again, this time to the CAA, one of the top conferences in the FCS. The constant rise in competition levels can pose formidable challenges to a coaching staff, but Run Game Coordinator/OL Steven Ciocci (@CoachCiocci) and the rest of the Bryant staff have handled the transitions deftly. Ciocci, in particular, has played a critical role in the transitions by virtue of his role as a recruiting coordinator, balancing recruiting classes that must match present and future levels of competition as well as reflect the changing geographies of conference affiliations. One player with the potential to contribute at almost any level is Bryant QB Zevi Eckhaus. The junior signal caller out of California ranked fourth in all of FCS with 3,228 passing yards in 2022. Against Robert Morris, Eckhaus delivered once more, completing 22-of-36 passes for 283 yards and three touchdowns in the Bulldogs’ first Big South-OVC conference game. Eckhaus was also the game’s leading rusher with 86 yards and one rushing touchdown as the Bulldogs jumped out to a 22-0 lead over the Colonials and never looked back, cruising to a 43-24 victory. Congratulations to Ciocci on the impressive win! Now in his fifth season at Bryant, Ciocci arrived in Smithfield after serving as the defensive line coach and co-special teams coordinator at Wagner from 2016-17. An All-NEC first team selection at offensive line for Wagner, Ciocci got his start in coaching as an assistant offensive line coach for the Seahawks and has also coached at FIU and Pace. In 2018, he helped guide FIU to a program-record nine wins.
Austin Peay never trails in beating Gardner-Webb 41-14 for 4th straight win
A former OVC member, Austin Peay joined the Atlantic Sun in 2022 and found immediate success, winning the third conference championship in program history. The Governors were bolstered by the top defense in the ASUN and a dynamic playmaker at wideout, Drae McCray, who led the conference in receptions and receiving yards while becoming just the fourth 1,000+ yard receiver in school history. This season, McCray is at Texas Tech and Austin Peay is in the newly formed United Athletic Conference, but neither of those changes has slowed down the Govs’ high-flying offense. With Co-Offensive Coordinator Lanear Sampson (@CoachSampson3) guiding the receivers, Trey Goodman and Tre Shackelford have stepped up to carry the load. Trey and Tre both rank in the top 10 of the UAC in receiving yards and against Gardner-Webb they combined to post their best game yet. Between the two of them, they hauled in 13 passes for 227 yards and each went over the century mark in receiving yards for the first time in their respective careers. While neither reached the end zone on Saturday, Jaden Barnes and Brenen Hawkins showcased the depth of Sampson’s receiver room as both recorded second-half receiving touchdowns as APSU scored 21 unanswered points to turn a 20-14 contest into a 41-14 rout. Overall, Governor receivers caught 31 passes and QB Mike DiLiello’s 372 passing yards marked the sixth most in a single game in APSU history. Congratulations to Sampson on the win and offensive explosion! Before arriving in Clarksville in 2022, Sampson apprenticed as an offensive analyst at Syracuse in 2021 and in a similar role at UCF in 2020. He has also coached his own receiver room at McNeese State and Missouri State. As a player, Sampson finished his career at Baylor ranking fifth in program history in receptions and tenth in receiving yards.
Abilene Christian pulls away in 4th quarter, beats North Alabama 30-13
Homecoming weekend has a way of bringing out the best in Abilene’s place kickers. On a windy, fall day in 1976, ACU’s homecoming crowd witnessed history as Sweden’s favorite son, Ove Johansson, set a college football record by booting a 69-yard field goal through the uprights in the Wildcats’ win over East Texas State. Johansson passed away two weeks ago but his memory lives on in the right leg of Kyle Ramsey. In front of 10,383 homecoming fans on Saturday, Ramsey became the first kicker in ACU history to convert on four 50+ yard field goals in a single season. Ramsey’s 54-yarder came in the first quarter to put the Wildcats up 6-0 and was one of three field goals he made on the day. The hosts would stretch their lead to 13-0 in the second quarter, but North Alabama responded with a 13-0 run of its own to tie the game midway through the third quarter. Any hope of a Lion comeback was extinguished, however, when Ramsey nailed his third field goal, followed shortly thereafter by ACU QB Maverick McIvor connecting with WR Tristan Golightly on a 30-yard scoring pass in the fourth quarter. For the game, McIvor threw for 206 yards and two touchdowns as the Wildcats improved to 3-3 and 1-1 in the UAC. Congratulations to ACU Special Teams Coordinator/QB Matt Clark (@Coach_MattClark) on the win and performances from Ramsey and McIvor!  Clark is in his second season in Abilene and transitioned to coaching quarterbacks this season after coaching tight ends in addition to coordinating special teams in 2022. Clark previously served as an offensive analyst at Texas Tech for two years and was the offensive coordinator and receivers coach at New Mexico Highlands for the two years prior to that. With the Cowboys, he directed an offense that averaged over 400 yards per game. Clark, who has coached every offensive position, also boasts experience at Louisiana-Monroe and Nicholls State. In 2018, he was selected to participate in the AFCA's 35 Under 35 Coaches Leadership Institute.
Quick Hits

  • Missouri punter Luke Bauer faked a punt and lofted a deep ball that gunner Marquis Johnson came down with for a 39-yard touchdown in the Tigers’ 38-21 win over Kentucky! Congratulations to Missouri Special Teams Coordinator/TE Erik Link (@CoachErikLink)!
  • UNC Pembroke set new program records for rushing yards (470) and rushing touchdowns (6) in a 49-7 win over Fairmont State. Congratulations to Braves Head Coach Mark Hall (@CoachHallUNCP)!
  • Central Missouri put up 638 yards of offense in a 63-24 win over Northeastern State to improve to 6-1 on the season. Congratulations to Mules Head Coach Josh Lamberson (@JoshLamberson)!
  • UCM and the rest of the MIAA are still chasing Pitt State as the Gorillas improved to 7-0 with a 31-21 win over Missouri Southern. Congratulations to Head Coach Brian Wright (@Coachbwright4)!
  • Shorter rushed for 251 yards in a 19-13 overtime win over Clark Atlanta to win its third game of the year – matching the most for the program since it moved to D2. Congratulations to Hawks OL Scott Curd (@coachcurd)!

Be sure to watch tonight as two more CI coaches will be in action when Los Angeles WR Coach Chris Beatty (@BeattyCoach) and the Chargers host Dallas Asst. TE Coach Chase Haslett (@Coach_Haslett) and the Cowboys on Monday Night Football.

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