WEEK 2 – College Football Crisis Management Award Winner

Another week of excitement, entertainment, upsets, nail-bitters and head-scratchers has come to an end.  In other words – another week of college football is in the books.  In Week 1, 52% of the games had the winning team overcome a deficit of some sort at some point in the game.  In Week 2, that percentage dropped way down to 31%.  Week 1 saw 8 FCS teams beat FBS teams.  In Week 2 that number dropped to only 3.  Fewer come-from-behind victories and fewer big upsets, but the winner of this week’s Safe Harbor Consulting College Football Crisis Management Award overcame a larger deficit than our Week 1 co-recipients.


Like Week 1, Week 2 included 75 contests with an FBS Team participating in the game.  Unlike Week 1, where 39 games were won by teams that trailed at one point in the game, Week 2 included only 23 games in which the winning team had to overcome a deficit.  Of those 23 games, 6 required the winning team to come back from more than 7 points at some point in the game; 4 fewer than in Week 1.

Week 2 did include a game in which Tulane came all the way back from a 21 point deficit to take a 33 – 31 lead over South Alabama, only to see the Jaguars rally back and hold on to a 41 – 39 victory when Tulane failed on a two-point conversion with a little over 1 minute left in the game.

And, when the gun sounded ending the final game of Week 2, late Saturday night, no team had come back from as far down as the Southern Methodist University Mustangs in their 31 – 30 victory over Montana State.  Once again, for the second week in a row, a FCS team figures in our award winning game.  But, unlike Week 1, the FCS foe ended up on the losing side of the scoreboard in Week 2.

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The Montana State Bobcats rolled into Gerald Ford Stadium in Dallas, TX as the number 3 ranked team in the FCS.  SMU was looking to rebound from a Week 1, 41 – 23 loss to state rival Texas Tech.  With the showing that the FCS had in Week 1, the Bobcats came in confident and the Mustangs knew they could not take their opponent lightly.  Under the hot Texas sun, with game time temperatures hovering around 98 degrees, the teams were ready to square off in what would become the Safe Harbor Consulting College Football Crisis Management Award winning game for Week 2.

SMU started off the contest with a nice 40 yard kickoff return by JaBryce Taylor, but could only move the ball to the Montana State 48 yard line before having to punt the ball away.  The punt, however, was downed at the Montana State 1 yard line and the Bobcats had to start their first drive with their backs against the wall.  And, on their first play from scrimmage, the wall collapsed on the Bobcats and SMU had a safety and a 2 – 0 lead when Cody Kirk was tackled by Stephon Sanders in the end zone.

SMU then received the free kick following the safety and drove the ball down field looking to take it to the Bobcats right from the start.  But, on 3rd and goal from the Montana State 3 yard line, quarterback Garrett Gilbert fumbled the ball at the 2 where Montana State’s Robert Marshall recovered it and returned it to the 11 yard line, stopping SMU from adding to their lead.

The teams then traded punts on back to back possessions.  A personal foul penalty following SMU’s punt for a touchback set Montana State up on their own 35 yard line where they started their next drive.  On a 3rd and 15 from their own 40 yard line, DeNarius McGhee tossed a 40 yard pass to Brian Flotkoetter for a first down on the SMU 20 yard line.  Two plays later Cody Kirk rushed in from 1 yard out and, following a successful two-point conversion, Montana State had an 8 – 2 lead.

On SMU’s next possession a roughing the passer penalty set them up at their own 44 yard line where they subsequently had two penalties of their own.  On 1st and 25 from their own 29 yard line, Garrett Gilbert rushed for 26 yards and a first down.  SMU moved the ball down to the Montana State 28 yard line where Chase Hover connected on a 45 yard field goal and the 1st quarter came to an end with the unusual score of 8 – 5 in favor of the visiting Bobcats.

Montana State started the 2nd quarter with a 7 play 67 drive ending with a 13 yard touchdown pass from DeNarius McGhee to Jon Ellis.  Following the conventional extra point, the Bobcats had a 10 point lead, 15 -5.

SMU started their next possession at their own 19 yard line and were quickly back in punt formation following three straight incomplete passes.  The punt just made it past mid-field and the Bobcats were back on offense at their own 49 yard line.  Three minutes and twenty-seven seconds later, the Bobcats were back in the end-zone on a 2 yard run by Shawn Johnson and the FCS Montana State Bobcats were on top of the FBS SMU Mustangs 22 – 5 with just over 8 minutes left in the first half.

But, SMU was not going to throw in the towel.  Down by 17 points, the Mustang went on a 10 play, 76 yard drive to score a touchdown on a 2 yard K. C. Nlemchi run to cut the deficit to 10.

Both teams then had quick, three and out series.  Then, with the clock running out on the 1st half, Montana State had to punt from their own 20 yard line with just 14 seconds left on the clock.  SMU’s JaBryce Taylor received the punt at his own 45 yard line and returned it 55 yards for the touchdown with 00:00 left on the scoreboard clock.  With two quick touchdowns before the half, SMU trimmed Montana State’s 17 point lead down to 3 and entered half time trailing only 22 – 19.

Montana State started the 3rd quarter in the same fashion as they had started the 2nd quarter with a long, sustained drive ending in a touchdown.  This time, the touchdown came on a 12 yard run by Cody Kirk.  The Bobcats then converted their second 2 point conversion of the game and were back on top by 11, 30 – 19.

SMU answered with a 46 yard drive culminating in a 42 yard Chase Hover field goal and the Mustang were back to within 8 points.

Montana State could not mount a drive on their next possession but did pin SMU back on their own 9 yard line with a downed punt.  On 3rd and 7 from their 12, Garrett Gilbert connected with Jeremy Johnson for a 66 yard pass play down to Montana State’s 22 yard line.  Three plays later, however, the Mustang turned the ball over and had to trot the defense back out on the field, still down by 8 when the 3rd quarter came to an end.

Montana State punted the ball back to SMU where the Mustang started again from their own 30 yard line.  Garrett Gilbert completed 5 passes in a row, moving the ball down to the Montana State 22 yard line, before misconnecting on 3 in a row and settling for another Chase Hover field goal – this one from 39 yards out.

Up by 5, Montana State went on a 10 play drive, but could not move the ball close enough for a field goal attempt and punted the ball over to SMU with 4:00 left on the game clock.  The Mustang took over, 81 yards away from a needed touchdown, with time running out.

The 1st play of the SMU drive did not start off well as Garrett Gilbert was sacked for a 6 yard loss.  A pass interference penalty on the next play, however, got the Mustang going in the right direction and Garrett Gilbert went to work.  After running for 6 yards, Gilbert connected on 6 passes in a row to move the Mustang down to the Bobcat 30 yard line.  Then, on a 3rd and 4, K. C. Nlemchi rushed for 16 yards and a 1st down at the Bobcat 8.  Following a run for no gain, SMU took a time out with 36 ticks left on the clock.  On 2nd and goal from the 8, Garrett Gilbert hit Jeremy Johnson for 4 yards.  And, on 3rd and goal from the 4, he hit Darius Joseph for the go-ahead touchdown!  Unsuccessful on their 2 point attempt, SMU had a 1 point lead with under 30 seconds left in the game.  When Montana State failed to score on their final play of the game, a multi-lateral pass play, the SMU come back was complete and they were the Safe Harbor Consulting College Football Crisis Management Award winners for week 2.


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.

Congratulations to the Southern Methodist University Mustang for overcoming adversity and rallying back from the largest deficit faced by a winning team during Week 2 of the 2013 college football season.   We can hardly wait to see what is in store for Week 3.

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Week 2 – Honorable Mentions

Central Michigan coming from 14 behind to beat New Hampshire 24-21

Akron coming from 13 behind to beat James Madison 35 – 33


Week 1 – Winners (To read the Week 1 article, click here.)

North Dakota State coming from 14 behind to beat Kansas State 24 -21

Troy coming from 14 behind to beat UAB 34 – 31

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