CI Week 8 Football Highlights

We moved even closer to a full FBS slate of games this weekend with the Big Ten and Mountain West both kicking off their seasons. We’re still two weeks away from the PAC-12 returning to action but the postseason picture is already starting to take shape as Army became the first program to accept a bowl bid when they announced that they will play in the Independence Bowl. Congratulations to Army TE Coach Matt Drinkall (
@DrinkallCoach), OL Coach Saga Tuitele (@CoachTuitele) and ILB Coach Shiel Wood (@ShielWood) on the bowl bid and 6-1 start to the season! Keep reading for more highlights from Week 8.
UNC runs wild on NC State, 48-21
The Tar Heels continued their strong start to the season with a thorough dismantling of their in-state rival in Chapel Hill. While Carolina has been ranked as high as #5 this fall, up until Saturday’s clash they were struggling in one key metric – forced turnovers. That all changed against the Wolfpack as the Heels more than doubled their season total with four turnovers on the day. Safety Don Chapman started things off with a second-quarter interception in a goal-to-go situation for NC State. The second interception came as a result of some Tar Heel teamwork. With UNC holding a 17-7 lead, OLB Tyrone Hopper tipped a pass that was intercepted by ILB Chazz Surratt inside UNC territory. Four plays later, Tar Heel QB Sam Howell connected with WR Josh Downs for a 17-yard touchdown to extend the lead to 17. Later in the game, OLB Desmond Evans recovered a fumble that led to another UNC touchdown to blow the game open at 38-7. Congratulations to UNC Special Teams Coor./OLB Jovan Dewitt (@Coach_Dewitt) on the win and performances from his outside backers!  Dewitt is in his first season in Chapel Hill after spending the past two seasons in the same role at Nebraska, where he was nominated for the Orange Bowl Courage Award in 2019. He previously spent two years at UCF and 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.
Red Raiders get homecoming win over West Virginia
Since the majority of the current Texas Tech coaching staff arrived in Lubbock in 2019, one of its goals has been to develop a mindset among the players that they can win close games. While the Red Raiders had played well thus far in 2020, they had dropped two games in which they held leads in the fourth quarter. On Saturday night against West Virginia, they finally got over the hump and won the type of close game that can turn around a season. Midway through the fourth quarter with the game tied at 27-27, Texas Tech LB Jacob Morgenstern forced a fumble that CB Zech McPhearson scooped and took 56 yards for a touchdown and the game winning score. On WVU’s ensuing possession, TTU DL Eli Howard recorded a sack and the Mountaineers were forced to punt with 5:07 left to play. Red Raider QB Henry Colombi and RB Tahj Brooks accounted for two first downs on the next drive to salt away all but 42 seconds and secure the win. Congratulations to Texas Tech DL Coach Paul Randolph (@CoachPRandolph) and Offensive Analyst Matt Clark (@Coach_MattClark) on the win! Randolph is in his second season at Texas Tech after coaching the defensive line at Memphis from 2016-18, where he helped guide the Tigers to three bowl games and two division titles. In his 23-year coaching career, Randolph has coordinated defenses at Arizona State, Pitt, Tulsa and Rice, in addition to coaching defensive lines at Alabama and West Virginia. Clark arrived in Lubbock this offseason after a stint as the offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach at New Mexico Highlands. He previously served as the tight ends coach at Louisiana-Monroe and has also coached at Nicholls State. In 2018, Clark was selected to participate in the AFCA's 35 Under 35 Coaches Leadership Institute.
Second half surge carries Charlotte past UTEP, 38-28
Just about every FBS team has had to shuffle its schedule this fall and the 49ers are no exception. With two postponements and one canceled game already, Charlotte entered its home opener on Saturday with just three games under its belt. Not surprisingly, the 49ers showed some signs of rust in the early going, falling behind the Miners in the second quarter, 14-7. But with less than a minute remaining in the first half, Charlotte QB Chris Reynolds connected with WR Victor Tucker for a 22-yard touchdown to tie the game at 14-14. The 49ers carried that momentum into the second half, putting up 24 unanswered points to take control of the game. After another touchdown pass from Reynolds, Charlotte kicker Jonathan Cruz opened the scoring in the fourth quarter with a 32-yard field goal. The 49ers’ special teams units came up big again later in the quarter, recovering two onside kicks to thwart any comeback bid by UTEP. Congratulations to Charlotte Special Teams Coordinator Charles Bankins (@FBCoachBankins) on the win! Bankins is in his first season with the 49ers after a four-year stint as the special teams coordinator and running backs coach at Old Dominion. With the Monarchs, he worked with Isaiah Harper, who was named Conference USA Player of the Year in 2017 after returning three kickoffs for touchdowns. Bankins previously coordinated special teams at Vanderbilt, Maryland and Richmond among others. At Richmond, he was part of the staff that won the 2008 FCS National Championship.
Buffs overcome slow start to defeat Angelo State
In a rematch from their game last month in San Angelo, West Texas A&M exacted revenge against Angelo State with a 34-27 come-from-behind victory to even its record at 2-2. Against the Rams, WT Defensive Coordinator Joe Morris (@jbmorris_joe) and Special Teams Coor./DB Will Wagner (@Coachwillwagner) received several big contributions from their units to key the win. After falling behind 12-0, the Buffs forced three turnovers, including an 85-yard pick-six by DB Satchel Escalante that gave WT a 27-19 lead. Fellow DB Abrae Booker-Currin also returned an interception 58 yards and LB Eric Collins finished with a career-high 14 tackles, including 2.5 tackles-for-loss and one sack. Congratulations to Morris and Wagner on the win! Morris is in his second season as defensive coordinator after six years at Fort Lewis College, including the final two as the Skyhawks’ head coach. In 2018, he coached seven all-conference selections. He also served as the head coach at New Mexico Highlands and has FBS coaching experience from a stint at Colorado State. Wagner also boasts head coaching experience, having led Angelo State from 2011-18. He was named conference and regional coach of the year after leading the Rams to the playoffs in 2014. Wagner won three national championship in various roles at Northwest Missouri State, including the 2009 title when he served as the Bearcats’ assistant head coach and defensive backs coach.

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