NCF Nation: Jake Coffman

2010 non-AQ All-Bowl team

January, 14, 2011
Our final look at the 2010-11 bowl season leaves us with the non-AQ all bowl team:


[+] EnlargeCorey Robinson
AP Photo/Patrick SemanskyTroy quarterback Corey Robinson threw four touchdown passes in the New Orleans Bowl.
QB Corey Robinson, Troy: There were plenty of candidates to choose from, but Robinson gets the nod. He went 32-of-42 for 387 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions in a dominating 48-21 win against Ohio in the R + L Carriers New Orleans Bowl.

RB Adonis Thomas, Toledo: His team might have lost, but it wasn’t really Thomas’ fault. He did all he could to help the Rockets, rushing for 193 yards and 2 touchdowns (averaging 8 yards a carry) in a 34-32 loss to FIU in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.

RB Ronnie Hillman, San Diego State: Hillman ran for a Poinsettia Bowl-record 228 yards in a 35-14 win against Navy. He also scored three rushing touchdowns and caught the first touchdown pass of his career, and set the school record for rushing yards by a freshman.

OL Matt Reynolds, BYU: Helped the Cougars run for 219 yards on the ground in a 52-24 win against UTEP. The Cougars also did not give up a sack in the game.

OL Nate Potter, Boise State: Helped the Broncos rush for 202 yards in a 26-3 win against Utah in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas.

OL Logan Pegram, Northern Illinois: He was part of a terrific effort from a Huskies' offensive line that totally dominated the Humanitarian Bowl. The Huskies shut down the Fresno State passing attack, holding the best sack duo in the country in Chris Carter and Logan Harrell without a sack.

OL Joe Pawlak, Northern Illinois: Also part of the Huskies' offensive line that opened holes for Chad Spann and Chandler Harnish, and allowed the Huskies to run for 203 yards.

C Trask Iosefa, San Diego State: Helped the Aztecs pile up 279 yards on the ground in a win against Navy, and held the Midshipmen without a sack.

WR Greg Salas, Hawaii: The Warriors looked terrible on offense, and Salas was the only player who seemed to show up. You have to give a nod to a guy who led all receivers during bowl season with 214 yards on 13 catches. He added two scores in a 62-35 loss to Tulsa in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.

WR Cody Hoffman, BYU: Had eight catches for 137 yards and three touchdowns in a 52-24 win against UTEP in the New Mexico Bowl for the first 100-yard game of his career.

TE Virgil Green, Nevada: Had 62 yards on four catches in a 20-13 win against Boston College in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. He helped open up the offense early in the game.


DE Jake Coffman, Northern Illinois: Set a Humanitarian Bowl record with three sacks, added another 1.5 tackles for a loss and forced a fumble en route to a 40-17 win against Fresno State.

DE Jonathan Massaquoi, Troy: Had eight tackles, including three for a loss, and a New Orleans Bowl record 2.5 sacks in a 48-21 win against Ohio in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl.

DL Bruce Miller, UCF: Led the best defensive effort of the season, helping hold Georgia to 82 yards rushing, while notching eight tackles and 1.5 sacks in a 10-6 win against the Bulldogs in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl.

DL Shea McClellin, Boise State: The Broncos had a dominating performance against Utah, holding the Utes to 200 total yards. McClellin had one of the team’s four sacks.

LB Tank Carder, TCU: He only had the biggest play of the game, swatting down a 2-point conversion with two minutes left to save a 21-19 win against Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl presented by Vizio.

LB Curnelius Arnick, Tulsa: He had two interceptions, including one that was returned 54 yards for a touchdown in a 62-35 win against Hawaii in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.

LB Stephen Anderson, Army: Had 10 tackles, one interception and half a sack in Army’s 16-14 win against SMU in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. The defensive effort was its best of the season and allowed the Black Knights to finish 2010 with a winning record for the first time since 1996.

S Colin Jones, TCU: He had a career-high 10 tackles and also added two pass break-ups in the 21-19 win against Wisconsin.

S Kreg Brown, FIU: Brown had the first two interceptions of his career, but they were mighty big ones in a 34-32 win against Toledo in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. His second interception in the fourth quarter set up a touchdown that gave FIU a 28-24 lead.

CB Dayonne Nunley, Miami (Ohio): His 52-yard interception return for a touchdown early in the third quarter gave Miami its first lead of the game en route to a 35-21 win against Middle Tennessee in the Bowl. He also had a fumble recovery.

CB Josh Robinson, UCF: Not only did he have an interception, he helped keep A.J. Green in check, allowing him just 77 yards in receptions – and a long of only 18 yards in a win against Georgia.


P Brian Stahovich, San Diego State: He might have only punted three times in a win against Navy, but all three of his punts landed inside the 20, and he averaged 40.3 yards a kick. Navy didn’t return a punt.

PK Jack Griffin, FIU: Nailed a 34-yard field goal with no time left to give FIU the win against Toledo in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. He made his other field-goal attempt in the game, a 31-yarder, and all his extra-point attempts.

PR Rishard Matthews, Nevada: His 72-yard punt return for a touchdown ended up making a huge difference in a 20-13 win against Boston College in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. It was Nevada’s first punt return for a touchdown since 2001.

KR T.Y. Hilton, FIU: His 89-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the third quarter helped spark the Panthers’ rally in the win against Toledo in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. Hilton finished with 174 yards on five kickoff returns.

*AP Damarius Johnson, Tulsa: Had to add in the all-purpose category to give a nod to Johnson, who had 329 all-purpose yards and set the NCAA career record in that category in the win against Hawaii.
Northern Illinois had an easy time dispatching Fresno State 40-17 in the uDrove Humanitarian Bowl on Saturday. Here is a quick instant analysis:

How the game was won: Northern Illinois dominated everywhere, but it all started with the way the Huskies came out. Though they are the No. 7 rushing team in the country behind running back Chad Spann, Northern Illinois set the tone with the pass behind quarterback Chandler Harnish. That seemed to catch Fresno State off guard, and Northern Illinois receivers consistently got behind coverage. The Northern Illinois offensive line dominated, holding the top sack duo in the nation in Chris Carter and Logan Harrell completely in check. That plan opened everything up, and Northern Illinois finally had a breakout game in a bowl. The Huskies had scored 20 combined points in their past three bowl appearances.

Turning point: After going down 26-10 in the third quarter, Fresno State mounted one of its best-looking drives of the game. The Bulldogs faced a third-and-6 from the Northern Illinois 8, hoping to cut the deficit to single-digits and get back into the game. But Devon Butler stripped Fresno State quarterback Ryan Colburn from behind, and Tommy Davis recovered for the Huskies.

Stat of the game: 0-7. That is Fresno State's bowl record against teams from non-automatic qualifying conferences since 1990.

Player of the game: Chandler Harnish. We knew the junior quarterback was a dual-threat, and he showed that against Fresno State with one of his best performances of the season. His passing made a huge difference in the game -- he had 300 yards through the air for the first time this season -- and he ended with 372 total yards of offense and three touchdowns.

Unsung hero of the game: Northern Illinois defensive end Jake Coffman. The former member of the U.S. Marine Corps was everywhere and keyed an impressive defensive performance for the Huskies. He had a Humanitarian Bowl-record three sacks, and the defense harassed Colburn all game long. Plus, the Huskies limited the Bulldogs to 2.1 yards a carry.

What Fresno State learned: The Bulldogs simply cannot get up for games against non-AQ opponents. They beat Cincinnati early and Illinois to close the regular-season and have a great record against teams from AQ conferences under Pat Hill. But three years in a row now, Fresno State has lost to non-AQ teams in a bowl game. This was the Bulldogs' worst loss in its 20 bowl appearances, but they had plenty of stinkers this year. Ole Miss and Boise State, anyone?

What Northern Illinois learned: The Huskies had something to prove for several reasons. First, they got upset in the MAC championship to Miami (Ohio), losing with 33 seconds left. Then coach Jerry Kill left for Minnesota. Interim coach Tom Matukewicz did a fantastic job getting this team ready and motivated to play. It was the school's first bowl win since 2004, but next season could be a rebuilding year under new coach Dave Doeren. Harnish returns, but Spann and seven starters on defense are gone.

Record performance: Northern Illinois kicker Michael Cklamovski kicked a 51-yard field goal in the third quarter, the longest of his career and a Humanitarian Bowl record. That certainly made up for a missed extra point in the first quarter. One more record -- Northern Illinois won 11 games for the first time in school history.

The preseason expectations were there for the Huskies. They were favored from the outset to reach the MAC championship game. But adversity struck right away. Coach Jerry Kill decided to go with DeMarcus Grady at quarterback in the opener against Iowa State. He was not productive, so Kill benched him and went with Chandler Harnish. That proved to be a wise move, though there was another bit of adversity to overcome. Kill was hospitalized for nearly a week after a setback following gallbladder surgery, but returned in time to watch his team lose to Illinois. After that 1-2 start, Northern Illinois started its rally with a win over Minnesota and ended up winning nine straight en route to the MAC title game. The Huskies got their first ranking since 2003 and were heavy favorites to beat Miami (Ohio). But they fell short after the RedHawks threw the game-winning touchdown pass with 33 seconds remaining. Still, they are headed to their third straight bowl game, unprecedented for the program. Kill deserves all the credit, but he won’t be there to coach the team in the uDrove Humanitarian Bowl against Fresno State. He accepted a job at Minnesota, leaving Northern Illinois after three seasons. Still, he left the program in far better shape than he found it. Despite the disappointment over the way the season ended, the Huskies have a chance to win a program-record 11th game.

Offensive MVP: RB Chad Spann. The MAC Offensive Player of the Year broke the school’s record for single season rushing touchdowns with 20 and has gained 1,293 yards on 243 carries. He averaged 5.3 yards per carry, and Northern Illinois ranks No. 7 in the country in rushing offense.

Defensive MVP: LB Alex Kube. This is a tough one, because Sean Progar, Sean Smith and Jake Coffman had outstanding seasons. But Kube led the team in tackles, and Kill has had nothing but glowing remarks about him, saying he has made the most strides of anyone and developed into an “excellent leader.”

Turning point: Losing in the MAC title game has to be a turning point. The Huskies were so close, the way they were in 2005 before losing. How the team responds against the Bulldogs, without their head coach, is going to be important to watch.

What’s next: Northern Illinois plays Fresno State in the Humanitarian Bowl on Dec. 18 and must begin the search for a new head coach.

Non-AQ Players of the Week

November, 29, 2010
Here are your non-AQ players of the week, as selected by each conference.

Conference USA

Offense: Tulsa QB G.J. Kinne. Completed 62 percent of his passes and was 23-of-37 for a career-best 406 yards and four touchdowns in a 56-50 win over Southern Miss. He also ran for two scores.

Defense: Marshall LB Mario Harvey. Recorded a career-high 21 tackles, had two sacks, forced a fumble, and recorded five pass breakups in a 38-23 win over Tulane.

Special teams: Southern Miss KR Francisco Llanos. Returned seven kickoffs for 197 yards, including an 87-yard return for a touchdown the first time -- his first-ever kickoff return for Southern Miss.


East Division

Offense: Miami RB Thomas Merriweather. Ran for a career-high 182 yards on 22 carries and one touchdown in a 23-3 victory over Temple. His 96-yard touchdown tied for the second-longest run in Miami history.

Defense: Kent State LB Cobrani Mixon. Had eight tackles, one sack, 1.5 tackles for loss, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, two pass breakups and a hurry in a 28-6 win over Ohio.

Special Teams: Ohio P Paul Hershey. Averaged 46.7 yards per punt on three kicks at Kent State.

West Division

Offense: Toledo QB Terrance Owens. Went 24-of-32 passing for a career-high 304 yards and three touchdowns in a 42-31 win over Central Michigan in his third career start.

Defense: Northern Illinois DE Jake Coffman. Had five solo tackles, one sack, two tackles for loss and a forced fumble in a 71-3 win at Eastern Michigan.

Special Teams: Toledo KR Eric Page. Became the first Rocket in history to return two kickoffs for touchdowns, a 99-yarder in the first quarter and a 95-yarder in the third quarter, in a 42-31 win over Central Michigan.

Mountain West

Offense: San Diego State QB Ryan Lindley. Completed 22 of 30 passes for 338 yards and four touchdowns in a 48-14 win over UNLV. It was his sixth 300-yard passing game of the season.

Defense: Utah DB Brian Blechen. Had seven tackles, one sack, an interception and a pass breakup in a 17-16 victory over in-state rival BYU.

Co-Special Teams: Utah DB Brandon Burton, UNLV K Marcus Sullivan. Burton blocked a 42-yard field goal attempt on the final play of the game, helping preserve the victory over the Cougars. Sullivan set a new UNLV single-game record for kick return yards with 224 yards and an average of 37.3 yards per return.

Sun Belt

Offense: North Texas RB Lance Dunbar. Set a career-high and had the sixth-best rushing performance in the nation this season with 270 yards and three touchdowns in a loss to Kansas State.

Defense: Middle Tennessee LB Darin Davis. Set a Sun Belt record with 101 yards on his two second-half interception returns in a win over FAU.

Co-Special Teams: Louisiana SS Cooper Gerami, North Texas WR Brelan Chancellor. Blocked an extra point attempt to preserve a victory for the Cajuns over their in-state rivals. Gerami also added five tackles on the night. Chancellor returned a kickoff for a touchdown for the second game in a row, taking one back 93 yards against Kansas State. He is one of seven players in the nation this season to have two or more kickoff returns for a touchdown.


Offense: Hawaii RB Alex Green. Ran for a school-record 327 yards and three touchdowns on just 19 carries in a 59-24 win at New Mexico State.

Defense: Fresno State LB Travis Brown. Made five tackles and returned an interception for a touchdown in a 23-20 win over Idaho.

Special teams: Louisiana Tech KR/PR Phillip Livas. Returned a punt a career-long 88 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter of Louisiana Tech's 45-38 win at San Jose State. It was his eighth career return (kick or punt) for a touchdown, tying an NCAA record set by five others. He had a total of three punt returns for 103 yards and added a kickoff return for 27 yards against the Aggies.
On this day we salute veterans everywhere, please take a moment to recognize Northern Illinois defensive end Jake Coffman and his incredible journey.

Coffman, 26, served two tours in Iraq as a member of the U.S. Marine Corps. He enrolled in the service right after high school and advanced to the rank of corporal, serving as an engineer. While there, he set up power grids and communications lines for his unit. Coffman even played a little football at Camp Pendleton, where he was named the 2005 Mike Anderson Defensive Player of the Year.

[+] EnlargeJake Coffman
Scott Boehm/Getty ImagesJake Coffman, who served two tours in Iraq with the Marines, has seven tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks for the Huskies.
He walked on at Northern Illinois in 2006 because he loved the game, and was hopeful to get a chance. Coffman has more than done that, emerging as one of its best players on defense.

He always leads the team onto the field carrying an American flag. But on Senior Day this past Tuesday against Toledo, Coffman carried a special flag -- the one his mom flew over their house every day he was in Iraq.

That moment almost didn't happen. After the bowl game last year, Coffman decided to leave the team. Injuries had taken their toll, and he was on pace to graduate in May. After coming out to a few practices in the spring, he realized he couldn't leave his teammates behind.

His father and grandfather told him point blank: "You have always finished everything you have started in life. Why not football?"

Now Coffman is tied for the team lead with seven tackles for loss and has 2.5 sacks. He was selected MAC West Defensive Player of the Week last week after four tackles and an interception in a win over Western Michigan. Northern Illinois needs one more win to clinch a spot in the MAC championship game.

Coffman also is a finalist for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, which honors the loyalty of seniors who give a four-year commitment to their schools, along with their athletic and community achievements.

“Here now, I just appreciate playing the game for what it is,” Coffman told the DeKalb Daily Chronicle earlier this year. “I love football. It’s a big part of my life. I have so much fun playing it. I have fun hanging out with the guys. I try to bring them into the same mindset that I am. I just appreciate it every day, walking out onto the field.”

Navy quarterback Ricky Dobbs is also a finalist for the award, and it is only appropriate to honor the players at the service acadamies today, too. Army coach Rich Ellerson, Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo and Air Force coach Troy Calhoun know their players have many more risks ahead, and are playing the game because of their passion.

"I found what ends up happening here is you realize it’s an incredible opportunity just to be a part of college football," Calhoun said several weeks ago. "In our place, these guys aren’t just playing football for the sake of their scholarship. They aren’t playing football to get in a bidding war for a certain agent. They play football because they love the sport and they love the camaraderie that’s part of it and being able to represent the Air Force Academy."

Non-AQ Players of the Week

November, 1, 2010
Here are the non-AQ players of the week, as selected by each conference:

Conference USA

Offense: UAB running back Pat Shed, UCF running back Ronnie Weaver. Shed ran for a career-best 176 yards and a pair of touchdowns in a 50-49 double overtime win against Southern Miss. He finished with 235 all-purpose yards as the Blazers posted their first win in Roberts Stadium. Weaver ran for a career-high 180 yards on 30 carries with two touchdowns in a 49-35 win against East Carolina.

Defense: Tulsa linebacker Shawn Jackson. His interception with 37 second left in the first half gave Tulsa the momentum in its 28-27 win against Notre Dame. He also had six tackles, a sack and two quarterback hurries.

Special teams: Tulsa punt returner Damaris Johnson. Had a 59-yard punt return for a touchdown, the second of his career in the win. He is 25 yards shy of tying the Conference USA all-time kickoff return record.


East Division

Offense: Miami receiver Nick Harwell. Had eight receptions for 97 yards and two touchdowns in a 21-9 win at Buffalo.

Defense: Bowling Green defensive tackle Chris Jones. Had six tackles, five tackles for loss, three and a half sacks and recovered a fumble in a 17-14 win at Central Michigan.

Special Teams: Kent State punter Matt Rinehart. Averaged 52 yards on four punts as the Flashes posted a 43-yard net in a 33-14 win against Ball State.

West Division

Offense: Western Michigan receiver Jordan White. Had a career-high 14 receptions for a career-high 180 yards and one touchdown in a 28-21 loss to Northern Illinois.

Defense: Northern Illinois defensive end Jake Coffman. He had four tackles and the game-saving interception on Western Michigan’s final offensive play to seal the win.

Special Teams: Toledo punter Vince Penza. Averaged 40.6 yards on five punts in the Rockets' 42-7 win at Eastern Michigan.

Mountain West

Offense: San Diego State receiver DeMarco Sampson. Had seven receptions for 175 yards and two touchdowns in a 48-38 win against Wyoming. He has three straight 100-yard games.

Defense: Utah safety Brian Blechen. Had a career-high nine tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery in a 28-23 win at Air Force.

Special teams: San Diego State punter Brian Stahovich. Kicked the longest punt in San Diego State history at 89 yards in the second half against Wyoming. It was his only punt of the day.

Sun Belt

Offense: North Texas running back Lance Dunbar. Ran for a season-high 215 yards and three touchdowns in a 33-6 win at Western Kentucky. The 215 yards was the most by any player in the Sun Belt this season and the third-highest rushing total in the nation this week.

Defense: ULM Darius Prelow. Had six tackles and an interception in a 28-14 upset win against Troy. The defense held Troy to its lowest point total in a Sun Belt game since 2006.

Co-Special Teams: Louisiana kicker Brett Baer, North Texas kicker Zach Olen. Baer made a field goal and four extra-point attempts, and had two perfectly placed onside kicks in a loss at Ohio. Olen made two field goals, including a 48-yarder, the longest by a North Texas kicker since 2005.


Offense: Hawaii quarterback Bryant Moniz. Went 27-of-38 for 326 yards and three touchdowns in a 45-10 win against Idaho. He also rushed seven times for 43 yards and another score. Moniz is the first quarterback in the nation to reach 3,000 yards this season (3,247).

Defense: Hawaii S Mana Silva. Had nine tackles (six solo), including one for a loss of 13 yards, and intercepted a pass in the win against Idaho.

Special teams: New Mexico State kicker Tyler Stampler. Went 3-for-3 on field goal attempts in a 29-27 win against San Jose State. He made a 42-yard field goal as time expired in the first half and then added a 25- and a career-long 43-yarder in the fourth quarter of a tight game.
Navy quarterback Ricky Dobbs and Northern Illinois defensive end Jake Coffman were among 10 football players selected as finalists for the 2010 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award.

To be eligible, a student-athlete must be classified as a senior and have notable achievements in four areas -- community, classroom, character and competition. The winner will be announced Jan. 10, 2011, on ESPN before the BCS national title game.

Here is the list of finalists:

Sam Acho, defensive end, Texas
Sean Bedford, center, Georgia Tech
Anthony Castonzo, offensive tackle, Boston College
Jake Coffman, defensive end, Northern Illinois
Ricky Dobbs, quarterback, Navy
Ras-I Dowling, cornerback, Virginia
Kendall Hunter, running back, Oklahoma State
Christian Ponder, quarterback, Florida State
Ryan Pugh, center, Auburn
Stefen Wisniewski, offensive guard, Penn State
Northern Illinois defensive end Jake Coffman has changed his mind.

[+] EnlargeJake Coffman
Andy Jacobsohn/Icon SMIJake Coffman had 8.5 sacks last season.
After telling coach Jerry Kill in January that he was leaving the program to focus on graduating and beginning his post-football career, Coffman, one of NIU’s best defensive players, missed football and has opted to return.
“I thought I was ready to be done with it, but I realized that after 18 years of playing a sport that I love, I wasn’t ready to quit yet,” Coffman said in a statement released by the school. “Right after the season, I thought I did everything that I wanted to do with [football], and then [a couple months later] I talked to my father and grandfather, and they pointed out that I finish everything that I start; and why not football? That was the first time they had weighed in on it, and that hit me.

“I spent a whole week thinking about it. I talked to Coach Kill and he was receptive [to me coming back]. As soon as I got the green light from him that it was an option to come back, I wanted to. I talked to the players and coaches, and they were receptive to it and here I am.”

Coffman played both defensive end and defensive tackle last season and finished the season with 39 tackles, 8.5 sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss. He also was responsible for a 79-yard interception return against Western Michigan, which was one of the defensive highlights of the 2009 season.

Following last season, the Touchdown Club of Columbus awarded Coffman its 2009 Male Athlete of the Year Award. He was also selected as the defensive MVP by his teammates.

Coffman joined the Huskies as a 22-year-old freshman in 2006 after serving in the Marine Corps out of high school. He completed two tours of duty in the Middle East and rose to the rank of corporal. When he returned to his native Illinois, he decided to walk on to the NIU football team. Coffman’s background has made him respected as one of the team’s leaders.

His return means that Northern Illinois will have 11 defensive players with starting experience returning in 2011. The Huskies ranked first in the Mid-American Conference in total defense and 30th nationally.

“It is great for our football team to have a young man like Jake Coffman decide to remain in our program for another year,” Kill said. “He brings instant respect among our players and is an extra boost to our defense. We are thrilled he has decided to return.”