CI Week 8 Highlights

With over a month still remaining in the regular season at the FBS level, 28 teams have already secured bowl eligibility. Of that group, six staffs have CI coaches including Georgia (Special Teams Analyst Scott Fountain & Defensive Assistant Will Windham), Memphis (DL Coach Paul Randolph), Michigan State (Co-Offensive Coordinator/TE Jim Bollman), NC State (Asst. HC/CB George Barlow), South Florida (DB Coach Blue Adams), UCF (Assoc. HC/SpecTeams/LB Jovan Dewitt). At the FCS level, five CI coaches have helped guide their teams to the top of their conference standings including James Madison (RB Coach De'Rail Sims & ILB Coach Byron Thweatt), Columbia (DL Coach Darin Edwards), Lehigh (Offensive Coordinator/QB Scott Brisson) and Wofford (DL Coach Jerome Riase). Congratulations to all 12 of these coaches on their success thus far! Please find more highlights from Week 8 below.

Rams lay it on Cardinals as Todd Gurley scores, eclipses 100 yards
Last week, Rams RB Todd Gurley made an important distinction in his comments to the media. While he hates the travel associated with playing in London, he loves putting on a show for his international fans. Against the Cardinals, Gurley did just that as he rushed for 106 yards and caught four passes for 48 yards in the Rams' 33-0 blowout victory. With the touchdown, Gurley retook the lead league in the category with eight scores - five rushing and three receiving. His touchdown run came with just over five minutes remaining in the second quarter and put the Rams up 12-0. With the win, the Rams are now 5-2 for the first time since 2003 and will enjoy their bye week before another long road trip to New York to face the Giants. Congratulations to RB Coach Skip Peete on the win and Gurley's performance!

No. 20 UCF beats Navy 31-21 for first 6-0 start
Leading up to Central Florida's trip to Navy, Head Coach Scott Frost stepped in as the scout team quarterback during practices. A former option quarterback himself, Frost noted that the uniqueness of option offenses made it easier for him to run the scout team himself as opposed to trying to train a backup quarterback on one week's notice. While Frost's move captured headlines, the responsibility for devising a scheme to actually stop the Mids' high powered option attack fell to Assoc. HC/SpecTeams/LB Jovan Dewitt (@Coach_Dewitt). As the only defensive coach on staff with experience defending Navy from his time at Army, Dewitt took over as de facto defensive coordinator for the week. The results spoke for themselves. Navy entered the game as the top ranked rushing offense in the nation averaging over 397 yards per game. Against the Knights, the Midshipmen were held to just 248 rushing yards. DB Brandon Moore led the UCF defense with a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and an interception. The loss was Navy's first home loss in 17 regular season games and on the flip side marked the Knights first 6-0 start in program history. Congratulations to Dewitt who has a successful history of filling in as a defensive coordinator on short notice. After he was promoted midseason to defensive coordinator at FAU in 2013, the Owls improved from 79th to 2nd in the nation in total defense. Before arriving at FAU, Dewitt won two Missouri Valley Championships during three seasons as the defensive coordinator at Northern Iowa.

Mizzou roars to life, wallops Idaho 68-21
Saturday was a special day for the Ungerer family. Dave Ungerer (@coachungerer) is assisting with Missouri's special teams this season while his son is a wide receiver for the Vandals. While the Tigers ended up winning handily, the game did not start out that way as Idaho jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead following a Missouri interception on the first play from scrimmage. After Missouri tied the score, the turning point came when Richaud Floyd returned a punt 85 yards for a touchdown to give the Tigers a 13-7 lead. The punt return was just the second return of any length in Floyd's career and was the third longest in program history (click here to see a replay). Floyd wasn't the only special teams standout for Missouri as backup kicker Nick Bartolotta stepped into the starting role and converted both of his field goal attempts. On the opposite sideline, one of the few highlights for Idaho was the play of David Ungerer who caught four passes for 58 yards and two touchdowns. Congratulations to Dave on the win and his son's performance! Ungerer spent the 2016 season as the special teams coordinator and running backs coach at Fresno State and has also coordinated special teams at Utah State, Washington State, Oregon State, Alabama, Cal and Maryland. In 2013, he led Utah State to a #1 national finish in overall kick coverage.

Minshew, Verity help East Carolina beat BYU 33-17, snap skid
In February, Jason Nichols (@CoachJMNichols) returned to the school where he set multiple receiving records as a player from 1994-97. While his first year as a coach for the Pirates hasn't always been a smooth one for the program, they took a huge step towards righting the ship on Saturday. East Carolina entered halftime tied 10-10 with BYU, but steamrolled the Cougars in the second half to begin their bye week on a high note. Despite losing starting quarterback Thomas Sirk to an injury in the third quarter, the Pirates didn't miss a beat as backup Gardner Minshew came on in relief and completed six of nine passes for 121 yards and two touchdowns. On the ground, RB Devin Anderson came off the bench to finish with 43 rushing yards. Congratulations to Nichols who spent the 2016 season as the running backs coach at Western Carolina. With the Catamounts, Nichols coached Detrez Newsome who led the FCS with 2,343 all-purpose yards. From 2010-15, he served as the wide receivers coach at UL-Monroe where he worked with five players who received All-Sun Belt honors.

Ally, Comis lead UMass past Georgia Southern
Prior to this weekend, the only two other times that UMass and Georgia Southern had met both occurred in the Division I-AA playoffs. The Minutemen defeated the Eagles in the National Championship Game in 1998 and the Eagles returned the favor the following season in the quarterfinals en route to their own national championship. Now both teams are in the FBS but are headed in very different directions. UMass rolled to its most impressive win as an FBS member with a 55-20 win over the Eagles in front of a homecoming crowd. RB Bilal Ally rushed for career highs of 116 yards and three touchdowns while QB Ross Comis threw for 193 yards and three touchdowns. Defensively, DL Da'Sean Downey and DB Tyler Hayes led the Minutemen with eight tackles apiece. As a unit, UMass forced five fumbles and recorded one interception. Congratulations to UMass Special Teams Coordinator/Rush Ends Mark Michaels! Michaels is in the third season of his second stint in Amherst after having been part of the national title winning team in 1998. In between, he has coached in the NFL with the Browns, Seahawks, Jaguars and at the college level at Fordham.

Holmes gets 51-49 win over Northeast on Homecoming
Holmes Community College improved to 6-2 on the year after winning a thriller over Northeast Mississippi. The Bulldogs showed their resolve by coming back from multiple deficits before finally pulling away in the fourth quarter. As they have all year, linebackers Lorenzo McCaskill and Vada King led the way for the Holmes defense recording 15 and 8 tackles respectively. For the season, the pair are tied for second in the MACJC with each averaging 10.9 tackles per game. McCaskill has also recorded three sacks, six tackles-for-loss and two forced fumbles in a standout freshman campaign. Congratulations to Holmes LB Coach Lane Powell (@CoachLanePowell) on the win and the development of his star linebackers! Powell spent the 2016 season working with defensive ends at Northeast Oklahoma and also has D1 coaching experience with stints at Alcorn State, Alabama State and McNeese State and Austin Peay among others. In over 20 years of coaching, he has worked with 14 All-Americans, 10 players of the year and has been a part of 13 championship winning staffs.

Quick Hits
  • Delaware rallied to knock off Richmond 42-35 in double overtime and is back in the top 25 for the first time since 2014. Congratulations to Head Coach Danny Rocco and Offensive Coordinator/QB Matt Simon (@RBsSaySimonSays)!
  • Columbia withstood a late rally from Dartmouth in a battle of first place teams to improve to 6-0 for the first time since 1996. Congratulations to DL Coach Darin Edwards (@CoachDEdwards)!
  • Southern put up 400 yards of offense in a 35-17 win over Jackson State. Congratulations to Asst. Head Coach/OffCoor/OL Chennis Berry (@CoachBerry77)!

One more CI coach will be in action tonight when Washington DB Coach Torrian Gray (@togray14) and the Redskins travel to Philadelphia to take on the NFC East leading Eagles.

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