WEEK 1 – College Football Crisis Management Award Winners

Welcome back college football.  Week 1 is now in the books and we have two teams to recognize as the first recipients of our Safe Harbor Consulting – College Football Crisis Management Award.  But first, let’s take a look at what transpired in week 1.


Of the 75 college football games with at least one FBS level team competing in it over the first week of the college football season, 39 were won by teams that were, at one time or another, trailing in the game.  Of those 39 teams that overcame a deficit at some point in the game, ten teams trailed by more than 7 points before rallying to win their respective game.

A number of teams that won their games convincingly still trailed early in the contest before taking control of the game.  For example: Eastern Illinois was trailing San Diego State by 6 points into the 2nd quarter before winning by three touchdowns, 40 – 19; Idaho scored the first touchdown (and missed the extra point) to lead by 6 points before North Texas scored 40 unanswered points to win 40 – 6;  New Mexico State scored the first touchdown (and made the extra point) before Texas hung 56 points on the scoreboard for a 56 – 7 victory; Marshall beat Miami (OH) by 38 points after trailing by 7 at the end of the 1st quarter and being tied 14 – 14 at halftime; Murray State scored the first 7 points against Missouri and lead 14 – 13 at the end of the 1st quarter before Missouri went on a 45 point run to win 58 – 14; South Florida scored the first touchdown and lead 7 – 2 at the end of the 1st quarter before McNeese State surprisingly won by 32 points, 53 – 21; and, Ball State won by 23 points over Illinois State, 51 – 28, despite trailing by 12 points (21 – 9) with less than 10 seconds left in the 1st half!

Of the 36 teams that won their games without ever trailing in the contest, only four of those teams were the visiting team in that football game: Texas Tech (41 – 23 winners over SMU); Northern Iowa (28 – 20 over Iowa State); LSU (37 – 27 over TCU); and, as the visiting team on a neutral field, Alabama (35 -10 over Virginia Tech).

But, at the end of it all, no team came from as far behind as the North Dakota State University Bison and Troy Trojans who each overcame a 14 point deficit to win their games and secure the first ever Safe Harbor Consulting – College Football Crisis Management Award.

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Little did we suspect when we established the parameters of our award to include all football games with at least one FBS member participating in the game, that a non-FBS football team would win our first certificate of achievement – but the Bison from North Dakota State University did just that.

It is quite an accomplishment for a FCS football team to come into a FBS team’s stadium and walk away with a victory.  It is even more impressive when you consider the FBS team they beat is from a BCS conference and one of the better teams in that conference.  And, when you consider the fact that they had to rally from a 14 point deficit to achieve that victory … well, that is just down right SPECTACLUAR!!  (And, why you’ve just got to love college football.)

North Dakota State rolled into Bill Snyder Stadium in Manhattan, KS, 12.5 point underdogs to kick off their college football season with a Friday night contest against the Kansas State Wildcats, the reigning Big 12 Champions.  And, they did so with a belief that they could compete against the big boys and ready to show the college football world just what these Bison are made of.

The Bison received the opening kickoff for a touchback and started their first game of the new season from their own 25 yard line.  If Kansas State was thinking that this FCS team was just going to roll over and play dead, the first play from scrimmage was a resounding wakeup call as Ryan Smith rushed for 18 yards and a first down – and the game was on.  The Bison did not manage to gain another first down on this opening drive but they gave notice that they were here to play.

The teams then traded a few possessions without much offensive productivity.  After its second possession of the game, Kansas State punted from its own 29 yard line and North Dakota State’s Christian Dudzik returned it 49 yards to the Kansas State 23 yard line and the Bison were in business.  Five plays later, Brock Jensen completed a pass to Ryan Smith for 5 yards and a Bison touchdown.  North Dakota State had a shocking, early, 7 – 0 lead over the home town Wildcats.

This touchdown, however, appeared to wake up the Wildcats as, on the next series, the Wildcat’s quarterback, Jake Waters completed passes of 12, 12, and 11 yards down to the Bison 33 yard line when the 1st quarter came to an end.

When the 2nd quarter started, Kansas State tried to continue their drive and, after gaining 7 yards on the 1st three plays went for it on 4th and 3 and were held 2 yards shy of a first down by the mighty Bison defense.

Kansas State then held the Bison to a three and out and got the ball back on their own 22 yard line.  Four straight completed passes later, culminating with a 45 yard strike from Jake Waters to Tramaine Thompson, the Wildcats found the end zone and tied the game at 7 – 7.

The teams then played the remaining of the 2nd quarter and 1st half to a stalemate, with North Dakota State missing a 34 yard field goal attempt following an interception by Marcus Williams, and went into the locker rooms at halftime tied up at 7.

Kansas State came out of the locker room for the second half of football looking like they were ready to put these pesky Bison to bed.  Kansas State’s first possession of the second half was another quick strike for a touchdown.  Two passes of 7 yards each from Jake Waters to Tramaine Thompson was followed by a 56 yard strike to Tyler Lockette and, just 1:01 into the 3rd quarter, Kansas State had its first lead of the game 14 – 7.

Two plays later, in the pursuing possession, Kansas State’s Dante Barnett intercepted a Brock Jensen pass and the Wildcats were back in business at the North Dakota State 36 yard line.  Three minutes and six seconds later, Daniel Sams rushed in from 17 yards out and the Wildcats were up by 14 before most of the fans had returned back to their seats from getting a half time snack.

You might think that a FCS school, facing a stellar FBS program, finding itself down by 14 points in the 3rd quarter, might start thinking about the trip back home – but, not these Bison.  Down 21 – 7, in unfriendly confines, the Bison started their next drive from the 25 yard line following a touchback on the kickoff and proceeded to venture on an 11 play, 75 yard drive that ended with a Brock Jensen to Kevin Vaadeland 9 yard pass for a touchdown.

Kansas State’s next drive stalled out at the North Dakota State 47 yard line and the following punt pinned North Dakota State in at their own 2 yard line.  On 1st down, Sam Ojuri broke off a 66 yard run and, just like that, North Dakota State was back in Kansas State territory.  Four plays later Adam Keller booted a 41 yard field goal and North Dakota State was now trailing by only 21 – 17 as the 3rd quarter came to an end.

Kansas State started the 4th quarter with a promising drive, but they stalled out at the North Dakota State 35 yard line and, following a delay of game penalty, punted the ball back to the Bison.

Trailing now by only 4 points; with 8:58 remaining on the clock; and, the ball on their own 20 yard line – the FCS Bison’s offense lined up against a powerhouse FBS Kansas State defense and went on, what has to be, the drive of the week for week 1.

The Bison put together an impressive 18 play, 80 yard drive that ate up 8:30 of the game clock.  During this drive, North Dakota State converted on four 3rd downs – the longest being a 3rd and 7.  With the longest plays of the drive being an 11 yard pass from Brock Jensen to Derrick Lang and an 11 yard pass from Jensen to Ryan Smith – the Bison methodically marched down the field.  With 28 seconds left on the game clock, Brock Jensen took the ball in from 1 yard out to give North Dakota State a 24 – 21 lead over the stunned Wildcats.

When Grant Olsen intercepted Jake Waters’ pass on the first play of Kansas State’s last ditch attempt to salvage a victory, the upset was complete and North Dakota State had rallied back from a 14 point deficit to win the first Safe Harbor Consulting – College Football Crisis Management Award – an honor they would share with Troy University.

Certificate - Week 1 - NDSU




The Trojans of Troy University would kick off their 2013 college football campaign by hosting the University of Alabama at Birmingham Blazers on what would promise to be one of the most exciting football games on the first Saturday of the new season.  And, when the dust had settled, the Trojans would be one of two teams to receive the first ever Safe Harbor Consulting – College Football Crisis Management Award.

Troy would receive the kickoff to start the game and the excitement would begin from the very first play from scrimmage as Deon Anthony raced 52 yards on a screen pass from Corey Robinson.  Three plays later, Robinson completed a 24 yard pass to Brandon Burks down to the Blazers’ 4 yard line.  Following a rush for a loss, a small gain and a 5 yard penalty, Brandon Burks rushed the ball in from 10 yards out and a Trojan touchdown.  And, just 2:46 seconds into the game, Troy had a 7 – 0 lead over the Blazers.

But, the celebration would be short-lived as the Blazers marched the ball down field on their first possession for a game tying score of their own.  The Blazers’ drive included a 4th down conversion on 4th and 5 from the Troy 40 yard line on a 7 yard completed pass from Austin Brown to Jamari Staples.  The equalizer came on a 21 yard toss from Austin Brown to Jamarcus Nelson and, before the crowd had a chance to settle down into their seats, the football game was tied 7 – 7.

Troy’s next possession started off with a 10 yard penalty and ended with a fumble by Khary Franklin recovered by Derek Slaughter of UAB on the Troy 42 yard line.  As often happens following a quick turnover, UAB immediately went for a big play and hit it with a 42 yard touchdown pass from Austin Brown to Jamari Staples.  And, just like that, UAB had themselves a 14 – 7 lead.

Things then settled down a bit as the two teams exchanged punts the next few possessions going into the 2nd quarter.  UAB mounted a little bit of a drive early in quarter 2 but missed a 49 yard field goal attempt.  A few series later, Troy missed a field goal of their own from 38 yards out.

On the last possession of the 1st half, UAB moved the ball down to the Troy 33 yard line and, living up to his name, Ty Long booted a 50 yard field goal to put the Blazers up 17 – 7 at halftime.

UAB mounted a sustained drive to start the second half, ending at the Troy 29 yard line, but this time, Ty Long missed his field goal attempt.  Troy then marched down the field and scored a touchdown on a 23 yard pass play from Corey Robinson to Eric Thomas to bring the Trojans back to within 3 points.

Once again, however, the Trojans’ celebration was cut short as Jamarcus Nelson returned the pursuing kickoff 97 yards for another UAB touchdown putting the Blazers back on top by 10.

UAB then tried to surprise the Trojans with an on-side kick but the men of Troy were up to the task and secured the ball at the UAB 46 yard line.  The Trojans proceeded to march the ball down field to the UAB 1 yard line, where they were stymied and had to settle for an 18 yard field goal by Will Scott.

UAB answered right back again, however, and had another quick strike with a 62 yard touchdown pass from Austin Brown to Jamarcus Nelson.  And, UAB had their biggest lead of the game, 31 – 17, as the gun sounded ending the 3rd quarter.  But, the 4th quarter would belong to Troy.

With possession of the ball to start the 4th quarter, Troy completed a 12 play 67 yard drive with a Jordan Chunn 11 yard rush up the middle for a touchdown, bringing the Trojans back to within 7.

UAB punted on their next possession pinning the Trojans in on their own 6 yard line.  From there, Corey Robinson hit Eric Thomas for 17 yards; Jordan Chunn for 7 yards; and, Chandler Worthy for 15 yards before Wilson Van Hooser fumbled the ball following another completed pass, recovered by UAB and returned to Troy’s 46.

Aided by a couple of costly UAB penalties, the Troy defense stiffened up and forced UAB to punt the ball from their own 48 yard line.  Hunter Mullins shanked an 11 yard punt and the Trojans were back in business from their own 41 yard line with 5:45 left on the game clock.

On 1st down, Jordan Chunn rushed up the middle for 19 yards to the UAB 40.  Three plays later, Troy found themselves at 4th and 3 from the UAB 33 yard line with 3:36 left in the game.  Following a time out to discuss the play, Corey Robinson completed a 31 yard bomb to Chandler Worthy to the UAB 2 yard line.  Following a 1 yard, roughing the passer penalty, Deon Anthony punched it in from 1 yard out and the Trojans had tied the score at 31 – 31.

Jamarcus Nelson fumbled the UAB kickoff return but UAB was able to recover it on their own 27 yard line to avoid a disaster.  UAB was just able to cross midfield before the game clock ran out following a false start penalty.  With the game tied at 31, Troy had rallied back from a 14 point deficit to force overtime.

In the first OT period, UAB started on offense and were held without a first down by a toughened Troy defense before botching the snap on a 37 yard field goal attempt.  The Trojans then ran for 16 yards on 1st down in their possession and set up for a game winning, come from behind victory, 30 yard field goal by Will Scott.

As the stats sheets were tallied, this game included some amazing accomplishments.  Troy’s Corey Robinson finished the game 30 for 32 in passing, setting an NCAA record for completion percentage in a game with at least 30 passing attempts and UAB’s Jarmacus Nelson had amassed an amazing 367 all-purpose yards to set a UAB team record.

And, at the end of a truly epic and exciting 1st game of the 2013 college football season, the men of Troy are recipients of the first Safe Harbor Consulting – College Football Crisis Management Award.  An honor they share with the Bison from North Dakota State University.

Certificate - Week 1 - Troy


Businesses, just like college football teams, can experience huge deficits from business interruption events in which they must rally from behind to stay in the game.  In the area of Crisis Management, game day is the arrival of the tornado; the coming floods; the day the hurricane strikes; a fire; a regional pandemic; technology failures; or any of a variety of risks and threats that can interrupt your business processes and/or the technologies that support them.  And, just like college football teams, your ability to overcome these deficits is directly related to the time and effort you put into planning your strategies and practicing your emergency response, business continuity and disaster recovery plays.

Safe Harbor Consulting has assisted companies and organizations, large and small, in preparing and exercising their crisis management and business continuity playbooks.  To learn more about how Safe Harbor Consulting can help you prepare for your greatest comeback, please visit our website at www.safeharborconsulting.biz; visit us on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Safe-Harbor-Consulting/204353729604053; or, call us at (253) 509-0233.

So, congratulations to the North Dakota State Bison and Troy Trojans for overcoming adversity and rallying back from the largest deficit faced by a winning team during week 1 of the 2013 college football season.   Now, let’s get ready for Week 2 – we can hardly wait.

Week 1 – Honorable Mentions

Fresno State coming from 13 behind to beat Rutgers 52-51 in overtime

UTSA coming from 13 behind to beat New Mexico 21 – 13




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