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Tim Harris Jr. is New UCF Co-Offensive Coordinator and Running Back Coach

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Tim Harris, Jr. joins UCF football from FIU. Photo: Joe Hauserman for FIU Athletics.

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – Source: UCF Athletics // Tim Harris Jr., an integral part of Florida International’s football success the last half-dozen years as running back coach and recently promoted to offensive coordinator and play-caller, has been named co-offensive coordinator and running back coach on Gus Malzahn’s new football coaching staff at UCF.

 

In 2020 Harris Jr. tutored a Florida International running attack led by Phil Steele third-team all-league selection D’vonte Price, the league leader in rush yards per carry (6.84). Price also ranked 11th in the nation for rush yards per game this past season, after averaging 116.2 yards per contest. He also finished over the century mark for rushing in all but one game in 2020, while earning a career-high 178 yards rushing against Florida Atlantic.

 

Harris oversaw a balanced rushing attack in 2019 that produced a pair of NFL rookie free agents in Anthony Jones and Napoleon Maxwell. The duo’s highlight of the season came in the win over Charlotte, as Jones (117) and Maxwell (114) rushed over the century mark. It was just the seventh game in Florida International history that the Panthers had at least two players go over 100 yards rushing in the same game. Harris has overseen five of Florida International’s seven games in program history with two or more running backs over the century mark. Jones continued his success over the course of the season as he strung together a streak of three games over 100 yards rushing, becoming just the second Panther ever to achieve that feat.

During the 2018 season, Harris Jr. developed his unit into one of the most productive ground attacks in Conference USA and one of the most successful in program history. Florida International broke the school’s single season record for rushing touchdowns (27) and rush yards per carry (4.8), while also logging the second-most rushing yards (2,286) in program history and the second-highest rush yards per game (175.8).

In 2018 Florida International finished third overall in Conference USA in total rushing yards, rush yards per game, and rushing touchdowns, while also averaging the second-highest rush yards per carry in the conference. Under Harris, running backs Anthony Jones and Napoleon Maxwell finished first and third on the team with eight and seven touchdowns, respectively. Harris developed junior running back Anthony Jones into a 2018 All-Conference USA honorable mention selection despite only having him available for six games. Harris implemented a balanced ground attack that helped running backs Maxwell, Price, and Shawndarrius Phillips all finish with a top 20 ranking in Conference USA rushing yards. Maxwell and Price also finished third and fourth on the team, respectively, with 771 and 743 all-purpose yards.

The 2017 season was a banner year for the Panther offense, with Florida International amassing 5,100 total yards to come just 37 yards shy of setting a program record. Florida International scored 333 points in 2017, which ranked second in program history for a single season. The Panthers were masters at moving the chains as well, with Florida International setting a school record for most first downs (269) in a season. Florida International also ranked first in the NCAA for red zone offense, after scoring on 40 of 41 attempts (97.6%).

On the ground, the Panthers earned the second-most rushing touchdowns (20), yards (2,069) and yards per game (159.2) in school history, while earning nine games over the century mark as a team. Overall, Florida International finished with four games over 200 yards on the ground, while the 379 yards against Massachusetts ranks as the third-most for a single-game in school history. Under Harris Jr.’s guidance, three players gained over 450 yards rushing in 2017 with Alex Gardner leading the running back stable with 719 yards on the ground.

Harris Jr., came to Florida International after one year as the head coach of Booker T. Washington High School in 2014. In his first season as head coach, Harris Jr., the Class 4A Coach of the Year and the son of legendary Washington coach and two-time Florida Dairy Farmers Coach-of-the-Year Tim “Ice” Harris (2012, 2013), led the Tornadoes to their second-straight 14-0 record, their third-straight Florida 4A state title and a No. 2 final national ranking (USA Today). The Tornadoes capped the title run with a 54-35 state championship win over Jacksonville Bolles. Harris Jr., was named the 2014 Florida Dairy Farmers Football Coach of the Year, the 2014 Miami Dolphins George Smith South Florida High School Football Coach of the Year, the 2014 NIKE Football State Coach of the Year and a finalist for the 2014 U.S. Army All-American National Coach of the Year.

Prior to taking over the reins in 2014, Harris Jr., was the offensive coordinator for the Tornadoes for five seasons. During that time he also coached wide receivers and quarterbacks. In 2013, Harris, Jr., helped Booker T. Washington win the 2013 national championship, averaging 41.9 points per game. He also served as the Tornadoes’ head track and field coach from 2010-2014. During that time, Harris Jr., won the 2014 Florida 2A Boys Track & Field State Championships and was the state runner-up in 2013. He was awarded the Miami-Dade County Boys Track & Field Coach of the Year in 2013.

Harris Jr., was a four-time NCAA All-American and Atlantic Coast Conference champion for the University of Miami’s track and field team. He earned a degree in English and creative writing from Miami in 2008. His wife, Nicolette, has been an athletic trainer and assistant clinical professor in the Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing and Health Sciences at Florida International.

Coaching Experience
2009-13 Booker T. Washington (Florida) High School Offensive Coordinator/Receivers/QBs
2014 Booker T. Washington (Florida) High School Head Coach
2015-20 Florida International Running Backs

2021 Florida International Offensive Coordinator/Running Backs

2021 UCF Co-Offensive Coordinator/Running Backs

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College Football

2023 Cheez-It Citrus Bowl: LSU Routs Purdue University 62-7

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LSU wide receiver Malik Nabers (#8) runs the ball against the Purdue University Boilermakers during the 2023 Cheez-It Citrus Bowl at Camping World Stadium Monday, January 2, 2023. Photo: Harry Castiblanco/Florida National News.
LSU wide receiver Malik Nabers (#8) runs the ball against the Purdue University Boilermakers during the 2023 Cheez-It Citrus Bowl at Camping World Stadium Monday, January 2, 2023. Photo: Harry Castiblanco/Florida National News.

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – The LSU Tigers faced the Purdue University Boilermakers in the 2023 Cheez-It Citrus Bowl at Camping World Stadium Monday. The Tigers made their sixth Citrus Bowl appearance, last appearing in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl back in 2018 and LSU’s current coach, Brian Kelly, was ironically the head coach of the opposing team that year, Notre Dame. Needless to say LSU came into Monday’s game with considerable experience.

For Purdue’s part, their team is still working on gelling together with new head coach Brian Brohm, who admitted during the head coaches press conference Sunday that “everything is still in flux” for his team with his brother Jeff Brohm, who had coached for six seasons, leaving to coach the Louisville Cardinals.

The quick version: The LSU Tigers absolutely devoured the Purdue Boilermakers in Monday’s Citrus Bowl match. The Purdue defense was nearly non-existent in the first half, allowing a whopping 35 points before halftime. 35 points.

Want to see the carnage unfold in detail? Keep reading.

 

First Half

Halfway through the first quarter (7:01) LSU got on the board with a touchdown with running back John Emery Jr.’s one-yard scramble into the end zone.

With 1:06 left in the first quarter, LSU scored again with running back Noah Cain rushing the ball nine yards, making the score 14-0.

With 1:01 left in the first, on Purdue’s next possession, wide receiver Ben Van Noord fumbled the ball, which LSU safety Major Burns recovered, giving LSU the ball again–in the same spot just 20 yards away from the end zone. However, after review, the call was overturned, giving Purdue the ball back.

The Boilermakers remained scoreless, however.

LSU’s carnage continued in the second quarter. The Tiger scored their third touchdown early in the quarter (13:03) with Daniels’s 32-yard pass to tight end Mason Taylor, creating a point canyon for Purdue to have to cross, 21-0.

With 8:32, LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels chose to keep the ball and nearly broke away for the touchdown rush, but was tackled

Cain finished the job for LSU, rushing in the final nine yards for the touchdown, 28-0 after the extra point.

Halfway through the second quarter, on Purdue’s possession, they were set up to punt, but instead successfully made the fourth down conversion with a first down.

With 3:11 left in the second quarter, LSU devastated Purdue. Purdue quarterback Austin Burton’s end zone pass intended for Paul Piferi got intercepted by LSU’s Camdyn Childers. LSU then made good on the pick and got their fifth touchdown in five plays for 87 yards, blowing out the score to 35-0 with 1:07 left in the first half. By the 0:14 mark, after both teams used a time out, both teams let the clock run out and headed to the locker room. The official halftime score: 35-0.

In the first half, LSU clocked 249 passing yards to Purdue’s 73 and 115 rushing yards to Purdue’s 15. LSU was five of seven on third down conversions compared to Purdue’s three of nine. LSU’s defense sacked Purdue’s quarterbacks three times for a total loss of 21 yards and made six Purdue tackles for a total loss of 28 yards.

Purdue quarterback Austin Burton was 11 of 21 on passes for 73 total yards in the first half. Running back Devin Mockabee led Purdue in rushing with eight for a total of 73 yards.

 

Second Half

LSU showed no signs of stopping in the third quarter. On LSU’s possession, Purdue’s defense broke up a touchdown pass on the first down. However, LSU made up for it on second down with wide receiver Malik Nabers’ five-yard pass to Jayden Daniels, making the score 42-0.

At 9:17 in the third, LSU safety Greg Brooks, Jr. intercepted Purdue quarterback Michael Alaimo’s attempted touchdown pass, after which LSU players ran to the sideline to celebrate with Cheez-It mascot Ched Z and jumped on the Cheez-It bed set. As expected, they earned an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Interestingly, so did head coach Brian Kelly a few seconds later.

Ironically, with 5:23 left in the third, Purdue finally fed LSU a taste of their own medicine. LSU quarterback Garrett Nussmeier’s attempted touchdown pass intended for wide receiver Kyren Lacy was intercepted by Purdue cornerback Jamari Brown.

Purdue didn’t capitalize on their next possession, though, and as soon as LSU got the ball back, Nussmeier passed to Nabers, who ran the ball 75 yards for LSU’s seventh touchdown, making the score 49-0.

Purdue finally hammered their way to a touchdown at the start of the fourth quarter with an eight-play scoring drive for 75 yards, making the score 49-7. Alaimo made the successful 16-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver TJ Sheffield.

With 8:47 left in the game, LSU answered Purdue with another touchdown. Safety Derrick Davis Jr. ran the ball 12 yards to the endzone for the 56-7 score.

At 6:01 in the fourth, Purdue wide receiver Deion Burks was running to catch a pass when LSU safety Sage Ryan, attempting to break up the pass, fell on him, causing Burks to get injured. the clock stopped.

While scoring stalled for most of the fourth, LSU managed one last major stinger. LSU safety Quad Wilson intercepted Purdue’s punt return and ran it all the way across to the other end zone–99 yards–for LSU’s ninth touchdown. The extra point attempt failed, but LSU was able to secure their 10th season win as the 2023 Cheez-It Citrus Bowl Champions with a 62-7 final score.

 

2023 Cheez-It Bowl Postgame Press Conference

Purdue head coach Brian Brohm, and wide receivers TJ Sheffield and Elijah Canion as well as LSU head coach Brian Kelly, wide receiver Malik Nabers and cornerback Jarrick Converse spoke with the media.

 

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Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. | mellissa.thomas@floridanationalnews.com

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VIDEO: 2022 Cheez-It Bowl Postgame Press Conference

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Florida State Seminoles football head coach Mike Norvell (right) holds the 2022 Cheez-It Bowl trophy after the Seminoles defeated the Oklahoma Sooners 35-32 at Camping World Stadium Thursday, December 29, 2022. Photo: Harry Castiblanco/Florida National News.
Florida State Seminoles football head coach Mike Norvell (right) holds the 2022 Cheez-It Bowl trophy after the Seminoles defeated the Oklahoma Sooners 35-32 at Camping World Stadium Thursday, December 29, 2022. Photo: Harry Castiblanco/Florida National News.

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – The head coaches from Oklahoma Sooners and Florida State Seminoles, as well as both quarterbacks and players from both teams talk with the press after FSU’s 35-32 victory over Oklahoma during the 2022 Cheez-It Bowl at Camping World Stadium.

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2022 Cheez-It Bowl: FSU Secures 25th 10-Win Season with 35-32 Win Over Oklahoma

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Florida State Seminoles quarterback Jordan Travis dodges the Oklahoma Sooners defense as he searches for a pass target during the 2022 Cheez-It Bowl Camping World Stadium Thursday, December 29, 2022. Photo: Harry Castiblanco/Florida National News.

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – The Florida State Seminoles entered Thursday’s Cheez-It Bowl hungry for a win to make this another 10-win season for the university, which hasn’t happened since 2016.

 

First Half

At just 11:26 in the first quarter, FSU got on the board first with a 23-yard field goal, making the score 3-0.

Oklahoma quarterback and former UCF Knight Dillon Gabriel answered back with a 22-yard touchdown pass to Jalil Farooq, giving Oklahoma a 7-3 lead with 7:01 left in the first.

On their next drive, FSU attempted a fourth down conversion, but Oklahoma’s defense prevented it, allowing them to get the ball back.

At the start of the second quarter, Gabriel, seeing the defense crowding out any passing chances, scrambled and flipped over two Seminole players to land in the right corner of the end zone for Oklahoma’s second touchdown, quickly widening their lead to 14-3 after the successful extra point.

With 9:53 left in the first half, Oklahoma made a field goal attempt, but it failed.

With 7:24 left in the first half, FSU finally made their first touchdown with quarterback Jordan Travis’ 16-yard touchdown pass to Ontaria Wilson. Immediately following the touchdown, FSU successfully made a two-point conversion, shrinking Oklahoma’s lead to 14-11.

FSU defensive back Shyheim Brown was down, lingering on the field during the final timeout of the first half. With some help, he was able to walk off the field. To close out the first half, Oklahoma nailed a 41-yard field goal, making the score 17-11.

FSU tried to make a score on its next possession with 15 seconds left in the first half, but it didn’t quite happen. Travis rushed the ball himself 26 yards for a first down, and on the next play kicker Ryan Fitzgerald attempted a 45-yard field goal, but it fell just short of the goal post, cementing Oklahoma’s 17-11 lead at halftime.

Oklahoma’s offense was much more proactive in the first half, going five of nine on third down conversions compared to FSU’s one of six.

 

Second Half

FSU running back Treshaun Ward scrambled the ball one yard into the end zone for FSU’s next touchdown, snatching the lead by one point, 18-17.

With roughly a minute left in the third quarter, during FSU’s attempt to make good on a fourth down, Travis passed the ball directly into Oklahoma defensive back Billy Bowman’s hands, forcing what was already going to happen anyway: Oklahoma’s next possession.

The score remained 18-17 at the end of the third quarter.

Oklahoma changed that at the start of the fourth, with Sawchuk running the ball three yards for their next touchdown, followed by their own successful two-point conversion, propelling them far ahead again, 25-18.

On FSU’s next possession, Ward came through clutch again, rushing straight up the middle and breaking away from the crowd to freely rush 38 yards for their next touchdown, tying the score at 25.

At 9:41 in the fourth quarter, FSU’s Omarion Cooper forced Oklahoma’s Sawchuk to fumble the ball, which was recovered by FSU’s Jammie Robinson. The drive ended in Travis’ pass to Markeston Doulas for the touchdown. After the extra point, FSU led 31-25 with 7:22 left in the game.

Oklahoma was able to tie the game again with another touchdown.

FSU broke the tie on fourth down with Ryan Fitzgerald’s 32-yard field goal with 55 seconds left in the game.

The game ended with another sack on Dillon Gabriel, his seventh for the night.

FSU got their 25th 10-win season with Thursday night’s Cheez-It Bowl victory, 35-32.

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Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. | mellissa.thomas@floridanationalnews.com

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