CI Week 9 Highlights

10/30/2023 As we head into the final third of the regular season at the FBS level, more teams are positioning themselves for the postseason. Three more CI coaches secured bowl eligibility with wins in Week 9. In addition to the wins for Kansas WR Coach Terrence Samuel (@CoachTSamuel) and Kansas State Special Teams Quality Control Chili Davis (@CoachChiliDavis) covered below, Troy also picked up its sixth win on a big stage, beating Texas State to take over sole possession of first place in the Sun Belt West. Congratulations to Trojans Defensive Assistant/Safeties David Mackie (@Coach_DMACK)! Please keep reading for more highlights from Week 9.
Panthers win first game of season on late field goal
Taking over at their own 9-yard line, down two with 6:17 remaining, rookie QB Bryce Young and Offensive Coordinator Thomas Brown, making his debut as an NFL play caller, looked like they had been in the same situation a thousand times. Working in tandem with Brown calling the shots and Young executing, the Panthers methodically marched down the field to setup a game winning field goal as time expired. The drive started with Young spreading the ball around, finding RB Chuba Hubbard, WR Jonathan Mingo and WR Adam Thielen for short to medium gains to establish a rhythm. After eight consecutive drop backs by Young to start the drive and enter Houston territory, Brown started working the body, calling five consecutive runs from Hubbard to wear down the Texan defense and establish field goal position. When it was all said and done, the Panthers had traveled 86 yards over 15 plays, using up all 6:17 on the clock before Eddy Pineiro converted his third field goal of the day to give Carolina its first win of the season and Brown a 1-0 record as play caller. In the much anticipated showdown between the top two picks of the 2023 Draft, Young outdueled Houston QB C.J. Stroud, throwing for 235 yards compared to just 140 passing yards for the former Buckeye. Young’s favorite target on the day was Thielen, who finished with a game-high eight receptions for 72 yards. Congratulations to Brown on the debut win! Brown arrived in Carolina this season after three seasons in Los Angeles, where he worked with tight ends and running backs in addition to holding the title of assistant head coach from 2021-22. In 2021, he helped guide the Rams to the fourth Super Bowl in franchise history as the offense finished in the top 10 of the league. Brown spent the 2019 season coaching running backs at South Carolina and the three seasons before that as the offensive coordinator and running backs coach at Miami. In total, he boasts six seasons coaching running backs at the Power 5 level with additional stops at Wisconsin and Georgia. With the Badgers, Brown was instrumental in the development of Melvin Gordon, who finished runner-up in Heisman voting in 2014.
KU holds on to beat No. 6 Oklahoma in Lawrence
There was no shortage of storylines for the Jayhawks after knocking off the Sooners. Take your pick from the following: first win over Oklahoma since 1997; first win over an opponent ranked as high as #6 since the 2008 Orange Bowl; first home win over a top 10 team since 1984; or only the second time in program history that the Jayhawks have been bowl eligible in back-to-back seasons. While not an official stat, Saturday also marked the second time in as many years that the Memorial Stadium goalposts ended up floating in Potter Lake. It didn’t take long for the goalposts to begin their journey to the lake after Kansas DB Kwinton Lassiter broke up a last-second desperation heave into the end zone by Oklahoma QB Dillon Gabriel. Just a few minutes earlier, however, it would have been hard to predict the mayhem that was to come. Trailing by one and facing a 4th-and-6 near midfield with just over a minute remaining, Kansas QB Jason Bean found WR Lawrence Arnold for a 37-yard gain to the OU 9-yard line. On the very next play, RB Devin Neal found the end zone to put the Jayhawks back on top for good in a back-and-forth affair that had already seen six lead changes. On the day, Arnold led all receivers with 79 yards on three receptions. Congratulations to Kansas WR Coach Terrence Samuel (@CoachTSamuel) on the historic win! Samuel is in his second season in Lawrence after helping the Jayhawks reach the 2022 Liberty Bowl, their first bowl appearance since 2008. Samuel coached the 2021 season at Syracuse and the season before that he was the passing game coordinator at UNLV. He previously spent nine seasons at Michigan State, including eight as the Spartans’ receivers coach. Under Samuel’s guidance, MSU receivers earned All-Big Ten recognition on eight occasions with two being named Big Ten Receiver of the Year. Overall, Samuel won five bowl games in seven postseason appearances while at Michigan State. He previously worked with the receivers at Central Michigan and has also coached at North Dakota State, Nebraska-Omaha, Southeast Missouri and Arizona.
Kansas State dominates UH in shutout win
The Jayhawks weren’t the only Sunflower State program celebrating a huge win on Saturday afternoon. As Kansas was sending the Sooners out of the Big 12 unceremoniously, about 85 miles west of Lawrence, K-State was rolling out the red carpet in Manhattan to welcome Houston into the conference. The Cougars may be having second thoughts about accepting the invitation. The Wildcats outclassed their new Big 12 rival in every phase of the game, cruising to a 41-0 win to improve to 6-2 overall and 4-1 in Big 12 contests. QB Will Howard was efficient in completing 15-of-17 passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns, while RB D.J. Giddens added a pair of scores on the ground. Once again, K-State was dominant defensively, recording its second shutout of the season. The Wildcats have now gone nine consecutive quarters without allowing a touchdown, only yielding a single field goal in last week’s win. Not to be overlooked, however, K-State has also been solid on special teams which has put the Wildcat offense and defense in positions to succeed. It was a similar story against the Cougars as K-State’s kickoff coverage unit gave up an average of only 11.7 yards on three kickoff returns and just one punt return for four yards. For the season, the Wildcats rank in the top five of the Big 12 in both Kickoff Coverage and Net Punting. Congratulations to K-State Special Teams Quality Control Chili Davis (@CoachChiliDavis) on the win and special teams play! Last year as the special teams coordinator at Florida A&M, Davis’ punter and place kicker both earned First-Team All-SWAC and HBCU All-American honors as the Rattlers went 9-2. He previously coached special teams at Washington, New Mexico State and Campbell with additional stops at Fordham and Louisiana Tech. While at New Mexico State, Davis also worked with the inside receivers and tight ends as the Aggies snapped a 57-year bowl drought and won the 2017 Arizona Bowl.
ASU’s offense comes alive as Sun Devils get first Pac-12 win vs. Washington State
Take one look around the Sun Devil football facility and youth is everywhere. In addition to featuring the youngest head coach at the Power 5 level and a roster with 47 freshmen, ASU can also claim Ra'Shaad Samples (@CoachSamp), who last season was the youngest position coach in the NFL as the running backs coach for the LA Rams. Now the passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach for the Devils, Samples has helped kickstart a rebuilding effort in Tempe that is being measured in weeks rather than years. After a rocky start to the season, ASU’s growth could be seen in back-to-back three-point losses to Cal and Colorado before taking #5 Washington to the wire in Seattle last week. But while signs of growth can be encouraging, moral victories ring hollow at this level if they’re not soon backed up by bonafide wins. That progression was undeniable after Saturday night in the desert. Bolstered by a 51-yard field goal by Dario Longhetto that gave the hosts a 17-14 lead as time expired in the first half, the Devils rode that momentum into the second half, outscoring the Cougars by a 14-6 margin in the second half to pull away for a 38-27 victory. Given Samples’ experience working with both running backs and receivers at the highest level, it is little surprise that one of his top weapons, Elijhah Badger, is equally adept at running routes as he is at taking handoffs in the backfield. Badger scored on a jet sweep in the third quarter, one of his four carries on the night, to go along with four receptions for 60 yards. His most electric play came in the second quarter when he collected a pass behind the line of scrimmage before eluding several defenders while zig zagging his way to a 26-yard gain. For the season, Badger has already racked up 11 plays of 20+ yard gains which is good for fifth in the PAC-12. Congratulations to Samples on the win and Badger’s dazzling night. Samples’ rapid ascent up the coaching ranks can be traced back to his first coaching position as a student offensive assistant at Houston from 2016-17. In 2018, he made the move across US 290 West to Austin, where he joined the Texas recruiting department while also assisting with the Longhorn receivers. From there, he moved back east to his hometown of Dallas to take an assistant position at SMU in 2019. With the Mustangs, he coached multiple All-Americans while coordinating the Mustangs’ recruiting efforts en route to being recognized as the top recruiter in the nation at the Group of 5 level by 247Sports. In 2020, he was named to 247Sports’ 30-Under-30 list and was on Dave Campbell’s 40-Under-40 list in 2021.
No. 22 William & Mary wins thriller vs. Monmouth, keeps playoff hopes alive
Sometimes a strong performance on special teams can be obscured in hidden yardage such as William & Mary punter Will Whitehurst averaging 46 yards on four punts and the Tribe’s coverage team only giving up nine punt return yards. Other times, special teams can be a neon yellow sign with flashing lights. The latter was the case when freshman DL Gent Veizi bull-rushed Monmouth’s field goal protection unit, forcing a deflection on what would have been a game-tying field goal by the Hawks with under 10 seconds left, preserving a 31-28 win for the Tribe. Veizi’s heroics ensured that a late rally by W&M’s offense would not go to waste. Capping a career-best performance, QB Darius Wilson flipped a four-point deficit into a three-point lead when he connected with WR J.T. Mayo for a 10-yard touchdown pass with 6:14 left in the game. On the day, Wilson threw for 283 yards and two scores while adding 28 yards on the ground. Tribe RB Malachi Imoh broke the century mark for the fifth time this season, tallying 112 yards and one touchdown on just 15 carries. Defensively, there was no shortage of standout performances. OLB John Pius registered five stops with a half-sack and three quarterback hurries while CB Ryan Poole extinguished a Monmouth threat in the second quarter with an interception in the red zone to keep the game tied at 7-7. Anchoring the back end, W&M safeties Marcus Barnes and Malcolm Spencer combined to log seven tackles and one pass breakup. Congratulations to W&M Head Coach Mike London (@CoachMike London), Special Teams Coordinator/OLB Darryl Blackstock (@CoachBlackstock) and Safeties Coach Billy Parker (@CoachBParker17) on the win! Now in his fifth season in Williamsburg, London led the Tribe to one of the best seasons in program history in 2022 as the team won the CAA championship, secured the #5 national seed, tied a school record with 11 wins and reached the FCS Quarterfinals for just the fifth time. Following the season, London was named a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award. London took over the Tribe after previous head coaching stints at Virginia, Richmond and Howard. With the Cavaliers, he was named the ACC Coach of the Year in 2011 after guiding the team to the Chick-fil-A Bowl. The 2008 campaign was another special one for London as he guided his alma mater, Richmond, to the school’s first national championship and was named AFCA National Coach of the Year. Blackstock, who played at Virginia when London was an assistant, enjoyed a seven-year playing career in the NFL before beginning his coaching career as a defensive assistant at W&M in 2019. He was promoted to a full-time position in 2020 and added special teams coordinating responsibilities this season. In 2022, Pius rose to national prominence under Blackstock’s watch, earning First-Team All-American honors and finishing second in Buck Buchanan Award voting for national defensive player of the year. Blackstock completed the Bill Walsh Coaching Fellowship with the Rams in 2022. Parker returned to his alma mater this year after three seasons at VMI, most recently as the Keydet’s interim head coach after previously filling the roles of assistant head coach, cornerbacks coach and running backs coach. In the 2021 spring season, he helped the program win its first SoCon championship since 1977. Before arriving in Lexington, Parker coached the tight ends for South Carolina State and coached safeties for the Tampa Bay Vipers of the XFL in 2020. A standout defensive back as an NFL and CFL player, Parker has also coached the position for the Montreal Alouettes and completed the Bill Walsh Coaching Fellowship with the Colts in 2019.
Morgan State back in the win column after win over Norfolk State
You can call it a comeback. Having just gone down 28-10 with 11 minutes left in a game in which Morgan State’s passing attack had struggled to get going, prospects looked bleak for the Bears. Special teams and defense came to the rescue. Keith Jenkins, Jr. got the rally started when he returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards for a score to pull Morgan State within 10 after a two-point conversion. Next, Antone' Sewell's (@CoachSewell_MSU) defense went to work. DB Ja’son Prevard broke up a pass on the Spartans’ next possession to force a three-and-out. One play later, a turnover put the Morgan State defense right back on the field but they were up to the challenge. Taking matters into his own hands, DB Erick “E-40” Hunter cut the deficit to three when he picked off an NSU pass and took it back 60 yards to the house. Sensing blood in the water, the Bears kept their paws on the gas. Hunter and LB Sam Alsheimer combined to stuff a Spartan run for no gain to force another three-and-out and give Morgan State’s offense an opportunity to complete the rally. Backup QB Tahj Smith did just that when he came into the game and sparked a nine-play, 67-yard drive to give the Bears the lead in the final minute. Congratulations to Sewell on the win and the fourth quarter dominance! Sewell is in his second season as the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator for the Bears. He had an immediate impact in resurrecting the Morgan State defense as the Bears finished the 2022 regular season with the following national rankings: 1st in Defensive Touchdowns, 5th in Tackles-for-Loss, 10th in Fumbles Recovered, 16th in Turnovers Gained, 19th in Sacks and 24th in Total Defense. Sewell arrived in Baltimore after spending the previous 12 years engineering one of the most dominant defenses in Division II at nearby Bowie State. The Bulldogs compiled a perfect 14-0 conference record from 2019-21, culminating in the program's first trip to the quarterfinals in 2021. Defensively, Bowie State finished in the top 5 nationally in multiple defensive categories, including first places finishes in Defensive Touchdowns and Tackles-for-Loss. On an individual level, Sewell mentored the 2021 Division II National Defensive Player of the Year and the 2019 HBCU Gameday Defensive Player of the Year. Sewell has also worked with defensive backs at Prairie View A&M and Fort Valley State.
Interceptions key in Senior Day win over Dragons
It didn’t take long for Fort Valley State Head Coach Shawn Gibbs (@CoachShawnGibbs) and the Wildcats to set the tone in Saturday’s tilt versus Virginia Lynchburg. On the game’s very first play from scrimmage, FVSU LB Malik Harp intercepted a pass from VUL QB C.J. Brooks to give the Wildcats possession in the red zone. Four plays later, QB Donovan Anthony connected with WR Corintheus Edmonds for a five-yard touchdown to put the hosts up 7-0. The formula worked so well that the Wildcats would repeat it again in the third quarter. After VUL had pulled to within eight points at 24-16, it was LB Jadyn Walker’s turn to snare the interception deep in Dragon territory. Two plays later, Anthony again found Edmonds in the end zone, this time from 14 yards out, to put the Wildcats back up 30-16. Later in the quarter, RB Kentrelle Williams added a five-yard touchdown run to effectively seal the Wildcats’ seventh win of the season. For the game, Williams rushed for 62 yards and was one of three Wildcats to register at least 50 yards on the ground. Defensively, Harp and Walker paced FVSU with seven tackles apiece to go along with their interceptions. Congratulations to Gibbs on the win and another great season! Now in his second year leading the Wildcats, Gibbs is looking to match last year’s 8-2 regular season, which marked the program’s best season in over a decade. Before taking over at Fort Valley, Gibbs earned a reputation as one of the preeminent running back coaches at the FCS level. In 11 years coaching the position at North Carolina A&T, there was only one season in which one of Gibbs’ backs did not reach the 1,000-yard mark and in seven of the program’s final eight seasons in the MEAC, an Aggie led the league in rushing. He coached the all-time leading rusher in NCA&T history and did the same during a four-year stint at North Carolina Central. Additionally, during four years at Grambling, Gibbs helped the Tigers post the 12th ranked rushing attack in the nation in 2009. Not surprisingly, before beginning his coaching career, Gibbs was a star running back in his own right and remains one of all-time leading rushers in North Carolina Central history.
Sewell, Howard lead Alcorn State’s 24-3 win over Mississippi Valley
From 2014-19, Alcorn State was the king of the SWAC, winning six division titles and four conference championships. The Braves didn’t compete in 2020 and hit a bit of a lull over the past couple years, but have reemerged this season as a contender in the West Division race. Alcorn State won its fourth consecutive game on Saturday to improve to 4-1 in the conference and head into next week’s showdown versus Southern with first place on the line. With two games in the four-game win streak being decided by three points or less, including a 23-20 overtime win over Alabama State, the Braves have relied heavily on the right leg of kicker Noah Kiani. Just a sophomore, Kiani entered Week 9 leading the SWAC with eight made field goals. While Alcorn State’s win over the Delta Devils didn’t provide the high leverage situation of an overtime field goal to win the game, Kiani nevertheless went about his business, converting his only field goal attempt and nailing all three extra points. Behind rushing touchdowns from QB Aaron Allen, RB Jacorian Sewell and RB Jarveon Howard, along with a lights-out defensive effort, the Braves cruised to a 24-3 win in Lorman, MS. For the game, Alcorn State outgained their guests by a robust 385-163 margin. Congratulations to Braves Special Teams Coordinator Lane Powell (@CoachLanePowell) on the win and Kiani’s big year! Powell is in the sixth year of his second stint with the Braves. In his first stint, he was 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 16 All-Americans, 11 players of the year and has been a part of 15 championship winning staffs.
Quick Hits
  • With the top seed in the CFL West Division already secured, Winnipeg sent a message to their potential opponent in the Western Final, defeating Calgary, 36-13. Congratulations to Blue Bombers Special Teams Coordinator Paul Boudreau (@bouqb2)!
  • Florida A&M Head Coach Willie Simmons (@HCWillieSimmons) defeated his former team, Prairie View A&M, as the Rattlers clinched the SWAC East with a 45-7 win. Congratulations to Coach Simmons!
  • Three weeks after shocking Miami, Georgia Tech pulled off another stunner by upsetting #17 North Carolina, 46-42, for its fourth win of the season. Congratulations to Yellow Jacket Defensive Line Coach Marco Coleman (@Coach_MColeman)!
  • #3 Furman intercepted three passes and held ETSU to just 230 yards in a 16-8 win. Congratulations to Paladins DL Coach Kevin Lewis (@CoachKLewDL)!
  • #10 North Carolina Central scored at least 60 points for the first time since 2016 in a 62-28 win over South Carolina State. Congratulations to Eagles Run Game Coordinator/OL Coach Cedric Williams (@CWilliams8076)!
  • #11 Southern Illinois outgained Western Illinois by a 474-152 yard margin in a 63-0 blowout win. Congratulations to Salukis Special Teams Coordinator/DB Gary McGraw (@DBCoachMcGraw) and RB Coach Larry Warner (@coachWarnerRB)!
  • Richmond RB Savon Smith ran for two touchdowns as the Spiders won their fourth game in a row by beating Campbell, 44-13. Congratulations to UR RB Coach Justin Poindexter (@FBCoachDex)!
  • Ferris State took another step towards defending its national title as the Bulldogs dismantled American International, 56-0. Congratulations to FSU Asst. Head Coach/QB Brian Rock (@Coach_Rock)!

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