CI Week 8 Football Highlights

Head coaches set the tone and lead the way for their programs and on Saturday, Coaches Inc.'s head coaches led the way for the CI Family. Just after 1pm on the east coast, Kutztown Head Coach Jim Clements (@KUHC_Clements) and the Golden Bears kicked off their game which they went on to win, 42-28. About an hour later, three more CI head coaches, Georgetown's Rob Sgarlata (@coachsgarlata), Morehead State's Rob Tenyer (@RobTenyerMSU) and Kansas Wesleyan's Matt Drinkall (@DrinkallKWU), all kicked off their games which resulted in three more triumphs. At 3pm eastern, New Mexico Highlands and Head Coach Marty Fine started their roller coaster path to a victory against South Dakota School of Mines. At 3:30pm, a trio of CAA head coaches got underway, William & Mary's Jimmye Laycock, Towson's Rob Ambrose (@Coach_Ambrose) and Delaware's Danny Rocco. Three more wins. On Saturday night, Howard's Mike London (@CoachMikeLondon) directed a fourth quarter rally to lead the Bison to a 36-25 win at Morgan State. Around the same time that Howard was putting the finishing touches on its comeback, Old Dominion and Head Coach Bobby Wilder (@ODUCoachWilder) were involved in one of the strangest endings to a game that you will ever see. Playing on the road at Western Kentucky, the Monarchs scored a touchdown to tie the score at 34-34 with nine seconds remaining. After WKU ran one play to get to its own 45-yardline with just two seconds left, overtime seemed inevitable. FOUR plays and three untimed downs later, ODU kicker Nick Rice drilled a game-winning 26-yard field goal to cap a sequence that you need to see to believe. When all was said and done, CI head coaches combined to post 10 wins on the day compared to just two defeats. At the assistant level, Purdue Defense/Special Teams Assistant Kevin Wolthausen (@kwolthausen) contributed to one of the biggest upsets of the season as the Boilermakers stunned #2 Ohio State, 49-20. Keep reading for more highlights from a wild Week 8 and see the attached spreadsheet for all the latest on the jobs front.

Bucs outlast Browns, 26-23, in overtime
When newly appointed defensive coordinator Mark Duffner first met with the media last Wednesday, he explained his vision for the Buccaneer defense as follows: "I believe our approach has always been we play defense as aggressively as we possibly can...Defense has no room for being soft." Any questions as to how Tampa Bay's defense would live up to Duffner's words were quickly put to rest. The Bucs forced the Browns to punt on their first six possessions and caused a turnover on downs on their seventh possession just before halftime. Later in the game, the Bucs forced another turnover on downs, this time by way of a goalline stand when they stuffed Browns QB Baker Mayfield at the 1-yardline to preserve a 23-16 lead. In overtime, the Buccaneer defense forced a punt on Cleveland's first possession but found itself right back on the field five plays later when the offense turned the ball over inside its own territory. Once again, the defense backed up Duffner's call for aggressiveness and toughness. On third-and-three from the Buccaneer 38-yardline, DE Carl Nassib exacted a measure of revenge against his former team when he sacked Mayfield for a seven-yard loss forcing the Browns to punt. Three minutes later, Tampa Bay kicker Chandler Catanzaro booted an NFL overtime record 59-yard field goal for the win. Congratulations to Duffner who had served as the Buccaneers' linebackers coach for the past two-plus seasons prior to his promotion. A 40-year coaching veteran, Duffner previously was the defensive coordinator for the Bengals and has also coached with the Dolphins, Jaguars, and Packers. At the college level, he has served as the head coach for Maryland and Holy Cross.

Nebraska defeats Minnesota, notches first win of Scott Frost era
Leading up to Minnesota's game at Nebraska, Minnesota Head Coach P.J. Fleck noted that after reviewing the Cornhuskers on film, they were a team that could've easily been 5-1 or 4-2. Despite the reassurance of knowing that they were getting better each week and a few unlucky bounces from winning multiple games, Nebraska needed a win. Against the Gophers, the Huskers got just that and did so without leaving anything to chance. RB Devine Ozigbo scored two touchdowns in the first quarter and QB Adrian Martinez accounted for two more in the second quarter to put Nebraska up 28-0. Minnesota slowly crept back into the game, though, and cut the lead to 28-22 early in the fourth quarter. The Huskers responded with 11 straight points of their own to go back up 39-22, and LB Dedrick Young II effectively put the nail in the coffin when he intercepted a Minnesota pass in the end zone midway through the fourth quarter. Three plays later, Martinez hit WR Stanley Morgan Jr. for a 67-yard touchdown pass to put the icing on the cake. Along with his interception, Young also added seven tackles and fellow LB Mohamed Barry led the Blackshirt defense with 11 tackles on the day. Congratulations to Nebraska Special Teams Coor./OLB Jovan Dewitt (@Coach_Dewitt) who celebrated his birthday on Sunday. Along with the rest of the Husker staff, Dewitt arrived in Lincoln after spending the past two years at UCF where he helped guide the Golden Knights to a perfect 13-0 record in 2017 including a win over Auburn in the Peach Bowl. He has also coached at Army, FAU and Northern Iowa among others. While at FAU, Dewitt was promoted to defensive coordinator during the 2013 season and saw the Owls improve from 79th to 2nd in the nation in total defense. In his three seasons as the defensive coordinator at Northern Iowa, Dewitt helped guide the Panthers to two Missouri Valley Championships.

Citadel survives late 2-point try to beat VMI, keep Silver Shako
Another CI coach who was able to celebrate his birthday weekend with a win was Citadel Defensive Coordinator/LB Blake Harrell (@Coach_B_Harrell). The Bulldogs withstood a late rally by VMI to win the Military Classic of the South, 34-32, and retain the Silver Shako trophy for the 12th consecutive season. While Citadel's defense gave up more yards than it is accustomed to, they rose to the challenge when it mattered most. On two occasions in the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs stopped two-point conversion attempts by the Keydets including one inside the final minute to preserve the two-point lead. Citadel's special teams also stepped up big with a blocked extra point and a blocked punt that led to a touchdown. Individually, LB Willie Eubanks III came up with one of the biggest plays of the game when he intercepted a pass late in the fourth quarter with the Bulldogs holding a 31-26 lead. Eubanks returned the interception to VMI's 17-yardline and four plays later Jacob Godek converted a field goal to extend Citadel's lead to eight. DB Aron Span III also logged an interception to go along with four tackles, one forced fumble and one pass breakup. Congratulations to Harrell who is in his third season as defensive coordinator and fifth overall on the Bulldog staff. In 2016, he mentored SoCon Defensive Player of the Year Kailik Williams and helped guide the team to its second consecutive conference championship and a #6 seed in the FCS playoffs. Prior to arriving in Charleston, Harrell spent seven years at Lenoir-Rhyne where he helped the Bears reach the 2013 Division II National Championship Game.

McAfee, Stoddard lead Wofford past ETSU, 30-17, in SoCon showdown
Elsewhere in the SoCon, Wofford reestablished itself atop the conference standings after an uncharacteristic loss a week earlier. In describing the team's mindset after falling to Furman, Head Coach Josh Conklin stated: "They were not happy about last week...Our guys had something to prove and they did." Against ETSU, the Terriers started fast, jumping out to a 17-0 lead thanks to touchdown runs from running backs Andre Stoddard and Lennox McAfee. The duo would add another two scoring runs in the second half and that was more than enough for the Wofford defense. Cornerbacks George Gbesee and Domo Lemon each intercepted passes and as a unit the Terriers only allowed 265 total yards. ETSU entered Saturday's game winners of five straight and unbeaten in SoCon games. Now, the teams are tied for first place at 4-1 in conference games with Wofford holding the tiebreaker. Congratulations to Wofford RB Coach Dane Romero (@Coach_romero18) and DB Coach Rob Greene (@CoachRGreene) on the win and impressive first two months to the season. The Terriers currently rank atop the SoCon in several categories including Rushing Offense, Total Defense and Pass Defense. Romero is in his fourth season as a coach with the Terriers and has been a part of two playoff appearances including last year's SoCon Championship. As a player at Wofford, Romero ended his career among the top 15 all-time leading rushers in program history. Greene, who also played for the Terriers from 2010-13, is in his second season on the coaching staff after serving as a defensive graduate assistant at Pitt in 2016.

Cowboys nip 'Rockers in shootout
When New Mexico Highlands RB Dion Alston was asked what his reaction was upon hearing that the Cowboys were going for a two-point conversion to win the game instead of an extra point to tie it, Alston replied: "We were lit because we had nothing to lose." While NMHU Head Coach Marty Fine and Offensive Coordinator/WR Matt Clark (@Coach_MattClark) may not have described themselves as "lit," their aggressive decision paid off when QB Danny Cameron connected with WR Zach Drew-Toles to give the Cowboys a 53-52 win. For the game, Cameron completed 23-of-46 passes for 366 yards and three touchdowns. Alston handled the bulk of the workload on the ground as he rushed 26 times for 210 yards and four touchdowns. Drew-Toles was one of two Cowboys receivers to pass the 100-yard receiving mark as D.J. McFadden hauled in five receptions for 109 yards and two scores to supplement Drew-Toles' six catches for 134 yards. Overall, the two teams combined for more than 1,300 yards of offense. With the win, the Cowboys improved to 3-5 on the year which matches their highest win total since 2014. Congratulations to Fine and Clark on the win! Fine is in his second season in Las Vegas, NM, after spending the previous 13 seasons as the head coach at Bryant. Fine left Bryant as the school's all-time winningest coach after compiling an overall record of 80-61 and two conference championships. He also served as the head coach at Sonoma State and has served on staffs at Iowa State and Indiana among others. Clark joined Fine's staff this season after spending the 2016-17 seasons as the run game coordinator and offensive line coach at Hutchinson Community College. Clark previously served as the tight ends coach at Louisiana-Monroe and has also coached at Nicholls State. Last year, he was selected to participate in the AFCA's 35 Under 35 Coaches Leadership Institute.

Late touchdown lifts Alcorn State over Grambling State
Despite being in different divisions, Alcorn State and Grambling State have become well acquainted with one another in recent years. The two teams have met in each of the last three SWAC championship games with Alcorn winning in 2015 and Grambling responding with wins in 2016 and 2017. After Saturday's game, the Braves remain in the driver seat to return to the title game for a fourth consecutive year, while the Tigers have their work cut out for them. In the early going, however, it looked as though the opposite would be true as Grambling jumped out to a quick start. The Tigers scored on their first two possessions to take a 10-0 lead and were poised to go up 17-0 with the ball in the red zone on their third drive. But Alcorn's defense held, forcing Grambling to settle for a field goal and a 13-0 lead. On the ensuing kickoff, Alcorn DB Javen Morrison got the Braves right back into it with a 60-yard kickoff return into Grambling territory. Four plays later, RB De'Shawn Waller scored from 12 yards out to pull the Braves within 13-7 at the end of the first quarter. Alcorn would carry that momentum into the second quarter as it outscored the Tigers 16-0 to take a 23-13 lead into halftime. Grambling rallied in the third quarter to retake a 26-23 lead, but Alcorn kicker Corey McCullough converted his second field goal of the game, this time from 46 yards out, to tie the score once more with 6:41 remaining. In the final minute, Alcorn QB Noah Johnson connected with WR Chris Blair for a 1-yard touchdown to set off the celebration among the Alcorn faithful. Congratulations to Braves Special Teams Coor./RB Lane Powell (@CoachLanePowell) who is in the first year of his second stint with the Braves. Powell was previously part of the Alcorn staff that won the 2014 SWAC Championship and HBCU National Championship. In over 20 years of coaching, Powell has coached at Alabama State, McNeese State and Austin Peay among others. In total, he has worked with 15 All-Americans, 10 players of the year and has been a part of 13 championship winning staffs.

Thilley hits late field goal to give Colby win over Hamilton
Time and time again, Colby found itself down against Hamilton. The Mules faced deficits of 7-0, 14-10, and 21-17. Each time, they responded until eventually they found themselves on top at the end with a 23-21 win. Most of the time, it was QB Matt Hersch who ensured that Colby stayed within striking distance of the Continentals. Hersch completed 27-of-38 passes for 288 yards and one touchdown. Colby RB Jake Schwern rushed the ball 19 times for 51 yards and scored a touchdown early in the third quarter to give the Mules a 17-14 lead. Hamilton responded with a touchdown near the end of the third quarter to retake a four-point lead, but Walter Thilley made two field goals in the fourth quarter, the second coming with just 13 seconds remaining, to give Colby its first win of the year. Congratulations to Colby Offensive Coordinator/QB Dave Dunn (@ColbyCoachD) on the win! Dunn joined the Mule staff in 2017 after spending one season as the tight ends coach at Marshall. From 2006-15, he served as the head coach at Catholic University where he guided the Cardinals to a share of the ODAC championship and a ECAC championship in 2008. At Catholic, Dunn's offenses consistently ranked in the top 15 nationally and he mentored an All-American quarterback selection. In addition to Marshall, Dunn also boasts experience at four other Division I programs: Florida Atlantic, Harvard, Indiana State and San Diego.

Quick Hits
  • The BC Lions defeated Edmonton, 42-32, to clinch a playoff spot. Congratulations to DL Coach Randy Melvin!
  • Washington State hosted ESPN's College Gameday and did not disappoint as the Cougars rolled to a 34-20 win over Oregon. Congratulations to OL Coach Mason Miller (@CoachMiller_)!
  • Marshall's defense recorded four interceptions and allowed just seven points in a 31-7 win over FAU. Congratulations to Thundering Herd LB Coach Byron Thweatt (@Thweattster32)!
  • Northern Iowa LB Duncan Ferch was named Missouri Valley Defensive Player of the Week after logging 13 tackles and three pass breakups in the Panthers' 24-9 win over South Dakota State. Congratulations to Defensive Coordinator/Safeties Jeremiah Johnson (@Coach_J_Johnson)!

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