CI Week 9 Football Highlights

As we head into the final month of the regular season at the FBS level, the postseason picture is beginning to take shape. While most teams still have four or five games still to play, nine CI coaches have already secured bowl eligibility: FIU Special Teams Coordinator James Vollono (@CoachVollono), Florida TE Coach Larry Scott (@UFCoachLScott), Georgia Special Teams Coordinator Scott Fountain (@CoachSFountain), Louisiana Tech DB Coach Jeff Burris (@JeffBurris93), Louisiana Tech LB Coach Brian Gamble (@CoachBGamble), UAB Defensive Coordinator David Reeves, USF DB Coach Blue Adams (@CoachAdamsUSF), Utah WR Coach Guy Holliday (@eagle88me), and Washington State OL Coach Mason Miller (@CoachMiller_). Congratulations to that group and good luck to several others who are closing in on their sixth win! Please find more highlights from Week 9 below.

Jared Goff and Rams outduel Aaron Rodgers and Packers for 29-27 victory
Before Sunday, the Rams had started 7-0 despite not playing a home game in over a month thanks to the league's most prolific offense. Against the Packers, the Rams made their home fans wait a little longer to see their explosive offense find its rhythm, but at the end of the day the offense came to life and the team secured its best start at 8-0 since 1969. The Rams fell behind 10-0 in the second quarter and while a safety got them on the board, the offense wasn't able to put up any points until QB Jared Goff hit WR Josh Reynolds for a one-yard touchdown pass with 21 seconds remaining in the first half. The second half was a different story. The Packers struck first with a field goal to extend their lead to 13-8, but Los Angeles quickly responded with two more touchdown passes from Goff, the first a 30-yard pass to RB Todd Gurley and the second coming on another strike to Reynolds. A pair of fourth quarter field goals from kicker Greg Zuerlein kept the Rams in front, and Gurley provided the finishing touch when he eschewed what would have been an easy touchdown and instead went down in-bounds to run out the clock. Even without the extra touchdown, Gurley remains at the top of the league in touchdowns, rushing yards and all-purpose yards. Against Green Bay, the all-pro running back finished with 114 rushing yards on 25 carries to go along with six receptions for 81 yards and one touchdown. Congratulations to Rams RB Coach Skip Peete who is in his third season in Los Angeles and 20th overall coaching in the NFL. In addition to Gurley, Peete guided Matt Forte to the 2013 Pro Bowl during his time with the Bears and did the same with Marion Barber at the Cowboys in 2007.

Columbia powers past Yale 17-10 in rainy conditions
There's an old adage that a football team can never have too many quarterbacks. Few teams have tested that idea to the extent that Columbia has this season. Already missing their top three quarterbacks, the Lions turned to their fifth-string signal caller on Saturday after fourth-stringer Ryan Suitt had to be carted off the field after suffering a head injury. Along with its woes at quarterback, Columbia also entered its game versus Yale without the services of its top two receivers, top running back and nine other players who had started games this year. While it's nice to have a fifth string quarterback and other capable backups, it's even nicer to have a stout defense that can shut down the team that was picked to win the Ivy League. To be fair, Yale was able to gain its share of yards, but the Lions defense didn't give an inch when it mattered most. After Yale converted a field goal to take a 10-3 lead into halftime, Columbia's defense shut the Bulldogs out in the second half despite the fact that Yale had three fourth quarter drives into Columbia territory. Individually, DL Cooper Wilson led the way up front for the Lions, as he finished with six tackles and one sack. Columbia also held a significant edge in special teams which proved to be critical in the rain. Columbia kicker Chris Alleyne made a 51-yard field goal and punter Drew Schmid pinned the Bulldogs inside their own 20-yardline on 7 of his 11 punts. Congratulations to Lions DL Coach Darin Edwards (@CoachDEdwards) on the win! Edwards is in his fourth season at Columbia after coaching the defensive line at Fordham in 2014. From 2008-13, he coached at Sacred Heart where he served in a variety of capacities including coaching running backs, outside linebackers, defensive line and coordinating special teams.

Skelton's 2 TDs spark Southern romp past Jackson State, 41-7
The month of October was a good one for Southern Asst. Head Coach/OffCoor/OL Chennis Berry (@coachberry77) and the Jaguars. Southern won all three of its games by a combined score of 100-14 to solidify its position atop the SWAC West. The three-game win streak has coincided with the emergence of QB Ladarius Skelton, who made his first career start in the Jaguars' 38-0 blowout win over Prairie View A&M on October 13th. Against Jackson State, the sophomore quarterback once again had a stellar performance as he threw for 61 yards and one touchdown, and rushed 13 times for 89 yards and another score. Skelton's touchdowns came on back-to-back possessions, the first on a 15-yard rush to put the Jaguars up 7-0 and the second via a 27-yard pass to WR Trey Smith. In the second quarter, Southern DB Demerio Houston returned a fumble 42 yards for a touchdown to put the Jaguars up 21-0 and the game's result was never in doubt from that point forward. Congratulations to Berry who has guided the Jaguars to two appearances in the SWAC title game and the 2013 SWAC Championship in his five years with the program! Under his direction in 2016, Southern finished fifth nationally in Scoring and 11th in Total Offense. Berry previously coordinated offenses at Howard, North Carolina A&T and Morgan State and has a wealth of NFL experience having completed internships with the Jaguars, Colts, Browns, Lions, Chargers and Bears.

Texas Southern gets first SWAC win, 42-14 over MVSU
Elsewhere in the SWAC, QB Devin Williams provided just the spark that Texas Southern needed in his first career start. Williams completed 14-of-25 passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Tigers to a blowout win over the Delta Devils. RB Tylor Cook got things started when he scored from one yard out on TSU's first possession to midway through the first quarter to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead. On their next possession, Williams connected with WR Bobby Hartzog on a 22-yard scoring strike to extend the lead to 14-0. On MVSU's ensuing possession, TSU LB Patrick Howell scooped up a fumble that he returned 80 yards for a score and the floodgates were open. The Delta Devils finally got on the board midway through the third quarter, but TSU immediately responded when Williams and Hartzog struck again on a 26-yard touchdown pass to restore the Tigers' 21-point lead and effectively put the game away. For the game, the TSU outgained MVSU by a margin of 391-223, including a 168-83 advantage on the ground. Congratulations to TSU OL Coach Matt Jones (@CoachMattJones) who is in his second season at Texas Southern as offensive line coach and run game coordinator following a one-year stint serving in a similar role at Jackson State. From 2014-15, he was an offensive graduate assistant coach at Tulane and has also coached at Villanova. Last winter, Jones was selected to participate in the AFCA's 35 Under 35 Leadership Institute.

Mavs rumble past Dixie, 45-24
Colorado Mesa started off the season on a roll, winning its first three games and attaining a national ranking as high as #14. However, those achievements were put into perspective when a CMU player passed away in late September. Suddenly, team building and the life lessons learned on the football field became more important than wins and losses. The Mavericks went on to drop four of their next five games along with their national ranking and a shot at an RMAC championship. Through it all, though, the team has persevered. Speaking to reporters after CMU's win over Dixie State, QB Eystin Salum commented, "When you are down, and we've had some things that can put us down this year, you either welcome the challenge and get after it, or you curl up in a ball and do nothing." Salum has clearly welcomed the challenge and did so again on Saturday as he completed 18-of-30 passes for 303 yards and three touchdowns. His most frequent target was WR Peter Anderson who caught eight passes for 126 yards and one touchdown. On the ground, RB Jonathan Beverly rushed for 131 yards and scored on a 28-yard run late in the third quarter to break a 24-24 tie and put the Mavericks ahead for good. Congratulations to Colorado Mesa TE Coach Mike Barela (@Coach_Barela) who is in his first season with the program. Barela arrived in Grand Junction after a three-year stint at Incarnate Word where he worked on both sides of the ball including serving as the team's run game coordinator and tight ends coach in 2017. At UIW, he worked with First Team All-Southland Conference selection TE Cole Wick who currently plays for the 49ers. Barela previously served on staffs at North Texas, Texas State and Sam Houston State.

UWA downs Florida Tech to keep playoff hopes intact
The Division II playoffs don't start for another three weeks, but they've already begun in Livingstone, Alabama for the Tigers. After dropping a heartbreaking 27-25 decision to #3 West Georgia last week, West Alabama found itself at 5-3 with no margin for error in its final three games. After rallying in the fourth quarter to beat Florida Tech, the Tigers have accomplished step one. West Alabama jumped out to a 14-0 first quarter lead in front of a homecoming crowd thanks to a 43-yard touchdown pass from QB Harry Satterwhite to WR Bayley Blanchard and a 17-yard scoring run by RB Derrick Underwood. Florida Tech would not go away, though, and responded with 13 straight points to close within 14-13 early in the second half. A one-yard touchdown rush by RB Tyler Rogers extended UWA's lead back to eight, but FIT answered the bell again and took a 22-21 lead on a field goal midway through the fourth quarter. With their backs against the wall, the Tigers came through in the end when WR Jonnas Spivey caught his first career touchdown pass with 4:23 remaining. A successful two-point conversion proved to be the final points of the game as UWA's defense closed out the 29-22 victory. For the game, Satterwhite completed 16 passes for 204 yards while Rogers and Underwood combined for 145 rushing yards. Congratulations to Offensive Coordinator/QB Don Bailey (@dbails9) who is in his third season at UWA. Last year, his offense set five school records en route to helping the team reach the second round of the playoffs. Bailey arrived at UWA after coordinating Hawai'i's offense in 2015. From 2011-14, he served as the associate head coach and offensive coordinator at Idaho State and was named's FCS Coordinator of the Year in 2014.

Quick Hits
  • Mississippi State's defense held #16 Texas A&M to just 61 yards rushing in a 28-13 upset win for the Bulldogs. Congratulations to DL Coach Brian Baker (@MSUCoachBaker)!
  • Oklahoma State put up 502 yards of total offense in a 38-35 upset of #6 Texas. Congratulations to Offensive Analyst Brian Rock (@Coach_Rock)!
  • Vanderbilt rushed for 250 yards in its 45-31 win over Arkansas. Congratulations to Commodores OL Coach Cameron Norcross (@CoachCNorcross)!
  • Florida A&M remained unbeaten in MEAC games and moved one step closer to its first undisputed conference championship since 2001 with a 38-3 win over Morgan State. Congratulations to Head Coach Willie Simmons (@HCWillieSimmons)!
  • With its 49-28 win, Georgia Tech became the first team to win three consecutive games at Virginia Tech since Miami accomplished the feat in 1992. Congratulations to Yellow Jacket Special Teams Coordinator/A-backs Lamar Owens(@GTCoachOwens), Safeties Coach Shiel Wood (@ShielWood) and DL Coach Jerome Riase (@JRiase)!
  • Lafayette posted a season-high 280 rushing yards in its 21-13 win over Fordham. Congratulations to OL Coach Gordie Sammis (@CoachSammis)!

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