CI Week 8 Highlights


We are still six weeks away from the college bowl game lineup being announced but 10 CI FBS coaches have already secured bowl eligibility: Air Force WR Coach Ari Confesor, Alabama Senior Defensive Analyst Mark Orphey, Baylor Defensive Coor./ILB Ron Roberts, Cincinnati RB Coach Darren Paige, Coastal Carolina Co-Offensive Coor./RB Newland Isaac, Ole Miss Defensive Analyst Elijah Sandweiss, Oregon Special Teams Analyst Chris Norris, Oregon Defensive Analyst Kwame Agyeman, San Diego State Senior Defensive Analyst Kevin Wolthausen and UTSA LB Coach Brad Sherrod. Congratulations to that group and good luck to several others who are closing in on their sixth win! Please find more highlights from Week 8 below.

Bombers clinch first place and home playoff game with blowout win over Lions
In 2019, Winnipeg ended a 29-year drought by winning the franchise's first Grey Cup since 1990. On Saturday, the Blue Bombers ended an even longer streak by claiming their first West Division title since 1972. If it's possible for the end of a 49-year wait to feel anticlimactic, that was the case for the Bomber faithful as the club holds a 3.5 game lead over second place in the West and still has three more regular season games to play. As it has all season, Winnipeg showed why it is the top team in Canada, dominating in all three phases for a 45-0 win over the B.C. Lions. In particular, Winnipeg's special teams units had one of their best performances of the season as Janarion Grant returned a punt 63 yards for a touchdown and Bomber returners as a whole racked up 212 return yards. Punter Marc Liegghio scored two singles and kicker Ali Mourtada made all six of his convert attempts and had a single on a kickoff. Special teams ace Mike Miller, who earlier this season became the CFL's all-time leader in special teams tackles, logged two more against the Lions, giving him 22 for the season, six more than any other player in the league. Congratulations to Winnipeg Special Teams Coordinator Paul Boudreau (@bouqb2) on the win and division crown! Boudreau is in his fifth season in Winnipeg and in 2019 his units were critical to the Bombers winning the Grey Cup. Winnipeg finished the season ranked first in blocked kicks, second in kick return touchdowns, and third in both punt and kickoff return in 2019. Boudreau joined the Bombers following a four-year stint as the assistant special teams coach for the St. Louis Rams. He also has experience coaching quarterbacks, wide receivers and running backs during 16 seasons at the college level.

USF finds groove on the ground in a record performance
South Florida took a major step forward in its rebuilding effort with a huge win over Temple on Saturday night in Tampa. Despite a 1-5 start to the season, the Bulls' effort level has remained high throughout the season and it was on full display from the beginning against the Owls. After the USF offense took its first possession down to the Temple 5-yard line, adversity struck when a snap over the holder's head on a field goal attempt led to the Owls recovering the loose ball and heading the other way. Not giving up on the play, USF TE Chris Carter took off and managed to catch the Temple ball carrier five yards short of the end zone. Carter's perseverance paid dividends when four plays later, CB Christian Williams deflected a pass that safety Mekhi LaPointe intercepted to give the Bulls the ball back. USF's offense would score on its next six possessions and ultimately run away with a 34-14 win. By the end of the night, the Bull defense had posted its most dominant performance of the season, limiting the Owls to just eight first downs, 48 rushing yards and 231 total yards. Congratulations to USF CB Coach George Barlow (@CoachGBarlow) on the win! Barlow is in his first season with the Bulls after six as the assistant head coach and cornerbacks coach at NC State, where he helped guide the Wolfpack to five bowl games. Barlow arrived at NC State following a two-year stint at Vanderbilt where he mentored a Commodore secondary that earned two top 25 finishes in pass defense. Barlow served as New Mexico's interim head coach in 2011 and has also coached defensive backs at Oklahoma. In 2004, he coordinated JMU's defense and helped the Dukes claim the FCS National Championship.

Georgetown rallies with a pair of late TDs to edge Bucknell
For the second time this season, Georgetown used late game heroics to come away with a key road victory. In Week 2, the Hoyas overcame a 14-0 deficit at Delaware State and scored in overtime to secure a 20-14 win. Against Bucknell, Georgetown jumped out to a 7-0 lead just 25 seconds into the game when QB Pierce Holley connected with WR Cameron Crayton on a 70-yard scoring strike. However, the Bison would go on a 21-6 scoring run to take a 21-13 lead midway through the third quarter. After Connor Hunt converted his third field goal of the day to draw the Hoyas within five, Holley took matters into his own hands, scoring on an 8-yard touchdown run with 5:13 remaining to put GU back on top. The Georgetown defense forced a three-and-out on the Bison's ensuing possession and then RB Herman Moultrie III provided some breathing room with a 33-yard touchdown rush to increase the lead to 29-21. Bucknell had one more chance to mount a game-tying drive, but DB Jovone Campbell ended matters when he recorded his first career interception. For the game, Crayton stood out for the Hoya offense with six catches for 136 yards while DB David Ealey III shone brightest on defense, logging six tackles, two tackles-for-loss and a fumble recovery. Congratulations to Georgetown Head Coach Rob Sgarlata (@coachsgarlata) on the win! Sgarlata is in his eighth year as head coach and 27th year overall as a coach at his alma mater. In 2018, he guided the Hoyas to a 4-2 conference record and a second-place finish in the Patriot League. Sgarlata arrived at Georgetown in 1990 as a player and has bled blue and gray ever since - he served as a team captain in 1993 and remains among the leading rushers in program history.

Northern Iowa topples #6 South Dakota State, 26-17
On the road against last spring's national runner-up, Northern Iowa delivered one of its best performances of the season. The Panthers knocked off the Jackrabbits thanks in large part to a stout, playmaking defense and a huge game from kicker Matthew Cook. On just the sixth play of the game, UNI DB Korby Sander sacked SDSU QB Chris Oladokun and forced a fumble that LB Bryce Flater recovered and returned to SDSU 14-yard line. Six plays later, the Panther offense cashed in on the short field and went up 7-0 to set an early tone for the game. UNI only mustered one more touchdown on the day, but four field goals from Cook, including two from beyond 50 yards, proved to be enough for Jeremiah Johnson's (@Coach_J_Johnson) defense. LB Alfonzo Lambert led UNI with 10 tackles and three different Panthers recorded sacks. As a unit, UNI held the Jackrabbits to just 60 rushing yards and 7-of-25 on third and fourth downs. Flater's fumble recovery marked the Panthers' 18th turnover on the season which is good for second nationally. Congratulations to Johnson on the win and stalwart defense! Johnson is in his 15th season at UNI and ninth as defensive coordinator. As coordinator, his units have finished in the top 15 nationally in Total Defense on four occasions and in 2019 he was named a finalist for FootballScoop FCS Coordinator of the Year. On a team level, he has been a part of four conference championships and nine playoff appearances while at UNI.

Bearkats roll over Jacksonville State, 42-7
The reason why South Dakota State finished the spring as national runner-up and not champion was because of Sam Houston State. The Bearkats lifted the trophy last May in Frisco, TX after defeating the Jackrabbits, 23-21, in an all-time classic. The national championship capped off a perfect 10-0 season for SHSU, and through six games this fall, they still have yet to lose. Against Jacksonville State, the Bearkats fell behind 7-0 midway through the first quarter but a 33-yard touchdown rush by RB Ramon Jefferson leveled the score and SHSU was off to races from there. RB Noah Smith scored on a two-yard rush with 6:52 remaining in the half and then All-American CB Zyon McCollum snatched his second interception of the season, setting up another Bearkat touchdown to take a 21-7 lead into the halftime break.  SHSU continued to pour it on in the third quarter with three more touchdowns, the last of which came from Jefferson again, capping a 14-carry, 110-yard day for the redshirt junior. Jefferson has now eclipsed the 100-yard mark in four games this season despite missing time with injuries. In addition to McCollum's strong outing, the Bearkat defense also received contributions up front as defensive linemen Jahari Kay and Jevon Leon each logged sacks, Leon's coming in the form of a strip-sack in which he recovered his own forced fumble. Congratulations on the win and incredible year to Sam Houston State Special Teams Coor./CB Gary McGraw (@DBCoachMcGraw), RB Coach Chris Buckner (@coachcbuckner) and DL Coach Joe Morris (@jbmorriscoach)! The longest tenured of the trio, McGraw is in his sixth season at SHSU following a five-year stint as the defensive backs coach at Midwestern State. In the last 10 seasons, he has been a part of six playoff teams including this spring's national championship and a semifinal appearance with SHSU in 2017. Buckner joined the SHSU staff in 2020 after spending the 2019 season coaching the running backs at Southern Miss. He has experience working with wide receivers from a stint at Arkansas State and also served as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Western New Mexico from 2016-17. Since beginning his coaching career in 2010, Buckner has mentored 14 all-conference selections, including two All-Americans and two named either conference offensive player or receiver of the year. The newest member of the staff, Morris arrived in Huntsville this spring and had an immediate impact in the championship run as the Bearkat defense finished the season ranked first in total takeaways and fumble recoveries, while ranking 12th in the nation in total tackles-for-loss. He has excelled in a variety of roles across multiples levels, including two head coaching stints at New Mexico Highlands and Fort Lewis, multiple defensive coordinator posts and FBS experience from a two-year stop at Colorado State where he assisted with the defensive line and linebackers.

Tarleton holds off Midwestern State, 17-14
In front of a school record 16,216 fans, Tarleton renewed its rivalry with Midwestern State on Saturday night. Before Tarleton left the Lone Star Conference for the WAC in 2020, the Texans and Mustangs had met 36 times, with Tarleton having won the three most recent contests. The Texans made it four consecutive victories after coming out on top in a tight, defensive battle. With little separating the teams on the stat sheet, a pair of timely interceptions by Tarleton DB Devin Hafford proved to be the difference. Hafford's first interception came in the third quarter with the game tied at 7-7 and the Mustangs driving in Texan territory. The teams remained deadlocked until 12:12 remaining in the fourth quarter, when Tarleton QB Steven Duncan hit TE Max Maxfield for his second touchdown of the night to put the Texans up seven. A field goal from Tarleton kicker Adrian Guzman extended the lead to 10 but Midwestern State responded with a touchdown of its own to cut the Texan lead back to three with 2:18 left to play. The Mustangs got the ball back with one more chance to tie or win, but Hafford stepped up with another pick to send the homecoming crowd into celebration. For the season, Hafford leads Division I with six interceptions to go along with two fumble recoveries. Congratulations to Tarleton Defensive Coordinator/DB Marcus Patton (@marcuspatton4) on the win and Hafford's performance! Now in his sixth season directing the Texan defense, Patton has been instrumental in leading a seamless transition to Division I from Division II. In the 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, 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 Division I experience from stints at UCLA and USF.

South Carolina State won a hard-fought battle against Delaware State, thanks in large part to a career day from WR Shaquan Davis. With the 13-7 victory on Saturday, the Bulldogs stay undefeated in MEAC conference play and improve to 3-4 on the season. SCSU Offensive Coordinator/QB Bennett Swygert (@OC_RunandShoot) had Davis and QB Corey Fields Jr. on the same page all game as they connected for 114 yards through the air. Just before halftime, Fields hit Davis for a 50-yard chunk play to set the Bulldogs up deep in the red zone. RB Jacoby Benson polished off the drive with a gritty three-yard touchdown run to put the Bulldogs up 13-0. The Hornets scored on a punt return touchdown to draw within six in the third quarter, but Swygert’s offense snuffed out any comeback possibility with a bruising, 14-play drive that took 7:50 off the fourth quarter clock and left DSU with just 34 seconds left by the time they finally regained possession. Congratulations to Swygert on the win and great start to conference play! Prior to arriving in Orangeburg in 2018, Swygert spent seven years at Newberry College, including the last five as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach after working with the running backs from 2011-12. During his time at Newberry, the Wolves made where they made three playoff appearances and set school records for points, total yards and total offense in a single game.

On a special day to commemorate the OPSU team that finished the 1981 season undefeated and ranked 5th nationally, the 2021 Aggies put up over 50 points for the second time this season to claim their fourth win. In the wake of their 52-18 win, the Aggies have a lot to be proud of. On top of that list for Head Coach Bob Majeski (@CoachMojo4) has to be totaling over 500 yards of offense. Freshman QB Brandon Stephens only needed 15 completions to record 267 passing yards and three touchdowns. Junior WR Willie McCline hauled in two of those completions for 87 yards and a touchdown. In the run game, Jamalrian Jones led the pack with 71 total yards on 12 carries, while Stephens, a true dual threat, added 45 yards on the ground. The defense did their part as well, holding the Buffaloes to merely half the total yards the Aggies tallied. In suffocating fashion, the defense forced three fumbles, snagged two interceptions, including one pick-six, allowed only one third down conversion and recorded five sacks. DE Naim McMillian and DB Nathan Alvarado combined for all of the sacks and forced a total loss of 50 yards. Congratulations to Majeski on the statement win! Majeski took over the reins at OPSU in 2019 after coaching the linebackers at Stetson from 2015-18. In his final season with the Hatters, he helped the program tie for second place in the Pioneer League with an 8-2 record, its most wins since 1951. A 34-year coaching veteran, Majeski has prior experience as a head coach at Dodge City Community College and Black Hills State. In 2011, he was named the Kansas Jayhawk Conference Coach of the Year after leading Dodge City to the conference playoffs.

Quick Hits
  • Florida A&M WR Jah'Marae Sheread racked up 229 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns in the Rattlers' 31-28 win over Mississippi Valley State. Congratulations to FAMU Head Coach Willie Simmons (@HCWillieSimmons) and Co-Offensive Coor./OL Ryan Stanchek (@CoachStanchek)!
  • Hawai'i scored twice on pick-sixes and Matthew Shipley was true on all his kicks as the Rainbow Warriors beat New Mexico State, 48-34. Congratulations to Special Teams Analyst Ryan Matviko (@RMatviko)!
  • Capital University DB Balor Appiarius accounted for six tackles to help the Comets upset Ohio Northern, 35-28. Congratulations to Asst. Head Coach/Co-DefCoor/DB Joe Nemith III (@JoeNemith3)!
One more CI coach will be in action tonight when the Saints travel to Seattle to face the Seahawks on Monday Night Football. Good luck to New Orleans Offensive Coordinator Pete Carmichael!

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