COASTAL CAROLINA UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL
CHANTICLEERS vs. PHOENIX
Coastal Carolina's Brooks Stadium (7,312) ~ Conway, South Carolina
Saturday, September 2, 2006 ~ 7 p.m.
The Opening Game: For the second consecutive year, the Coastal Carolina football program will open the season against the Elon Phoenix. Coastal has had three different opponents for the season opener in four years.
Series vs. Elon: Coastal owns the victory in the only meeting between the two schools, having won 17-10 in last year's season opener for both teams in Elon. Overall, CCU is 1-1 against the Southern Conference, also suffering a loss at national champion Appalachian State last year.
Last Year's Meeting: In the opening game of its third season, Coastal Carolina defeated a pesky Elon squad, 17-10, Sept. 3 in Elon, N.C.
The game was back and forth throughout, as Coastal held a 10-7 lead at the break and led 17-10 late. After CCU took that lead, Elon returned the ensuing kickoff 78 yards, though kicker Josh Hoke saved the touchdown. Elon apparently scored on a 15-yard run in the drive, but it was called back on a penalty and after a penalty and two other plays, Elons 42-yard field goal attempt sailed wide right. Coastals defense stood firm the rest of the game, as the Chants held on for the victory. (Complete recap and stats are on page 14.)
The Coaches: Coastal Carolina Head Coach David Bennett (Presbyterian, '84) is in his fourth season at Coastal with a 25-8 record at CCU and 88-25 overall in 10 seasons. At Catawba, he led the Indians to three consecutive appearances in the NCAA Division II playoffs, including a run into the national semifinal round in 2001.
Elon Head Coach Pete Lembo (Georgetown, '92) is in his first season as head coach of the Phoenix, posting a 44-14 record in five years as a head coach overall.
Preseason Rankings: CCU has been recognized for their success and returners by being ranked in several preseason polls and rankings. The highest mark comes in the Any Given Saturday poll, with the Chanticleers in 18th. Don Hansen's National Weekly Football Gazette also places CCU at 28th, while The Sports Network has CCU currently at 25th.
Coastal In Season Openers: The Chanticleers are a perfect 3-0 in season openers. CCU opened its history with a 21-14 win at home over Newberry in 2003, and followed it up with road wins at Morehead State and Elon in 2004 and 2005, respectively.
Date Opponent Score
9-6-03 Newberry W, 21-14
9-4-04 at Morehead State W, 28-7
9-3-05 at Elon W, 17-10
Home Winning Streak: Coastal Carolina won its Big South record 12th-straight home game, Nov. 12, 2005, with its 71-8 victory over Mansfield. This streak surpassed the previous Big South record for consecutive home wins of 11, set by Gardner-Webb from August 31, 2002 to Nov. 15, 2003. CCU's 13 wins are currently the third longest active streak in I-AA, behind Appalachian State with 15 consecutive home wins.
In that span, the Chanticleers have scored 591 points, for an average of 45.5 per game. They have held their opponents to 209 points, or 16.1 per contest during the streak.
Brooks Stadium Openers Are Good: CCU has had some great, and dramatic, wins in its home openers in the first three years. In the inaugural season, the Chants scored with seven seconds to play to win their first ever game, 21-14 over Newberry. The 2004 home opener was 31-24 victory over a game Davidson team, but last year's was a milestone win for the young program. Coastal hosted defending champion and then No. 1 James Madison, where quarterback Tyler Thigpen connected with wide receiver Perry Parks in the back of the end zone for a touchdown with 30 second to go, propelling CCU to a 31-27 win over the Dukes.
Returning In The Fourth Year: The Chanticleers return 73 letterwinners and 21 starters (seven offense, nine defense, five special teams) to the squad this year.So This Is Senior Leadership: Coastal returns more seniors than any program in I-AA football this year. After spending the first season practicing, the Chanticleers start the 2006 season with not one, but two classes of seniors, as the 2002 and 2003 recruiting classes will wrap up their eligibility this year. Among the 37 seniors on the roster, 32 of them are in at least their third year with the program and 14 are starting on offense or defense, along with four starting specialists.
Working Deep Into The Night: Out of 33 games in its history, Coastal Carolina has played 16 under the lights. At night, the Chanticleers are an impressive 13-3, including a 9-2 mark at Brooks Stadium. Coastal is also 12-5 in day games, but the numbers continue on the road, as CCU is 7-4 in day games away from Conway.
Winning at Halftime: CCU is impressive when leading at the half with a 21-2 mark. Coastal is a perfect 12-0 at home when taking a lead into the intermission, while posting a 9-2 mark when leading at the half on the road. The only losses have occurred at Liberty in 2003 after leading 14-7 at the intermission and last year's double-overtime thriller at Charleston Southern.
Winning When Scoring FIrst: Coastal has been a stellar team when scoring first, holding an 18-1 mark in three seasons of play. Last season, Coastal was 4-0 when lighting the scoreboard first. The Chants were 8-0 in 2004 when scoring first, including a perfect 6-0 when scoring first on the road.
When Its Natural: Coastal has played 29 of its 33 games in its history on natural grass. CCU is 23-6 on natural grass, with its only games on artificial turf at Liberty in 2003 in a tough loss, the 2004 season opening win at Morehead State, an early 2005 season loss at Appalachian State and the triple-overtime win at Liberty last season.
Back-To-Back: The Chanticleers will be looking to become the first Big South school to capture three league titles in the brief history of the conference. Gardner-Webb won the first two championships, while Coastal won the 2004 crown and shared the 2005 title with Charleston Southern.
The Magic Number is 200: The magic answer to the question for Coastal is 200, as the Chanticleers are now 18-1 lifetime when rushing for 200 yards or more in a game. The only loss came in last season's finale at Charleston Southern, when Coastal ran for 222 yards in the double-overtime loss.
Leading the Nation in Attendance: Coastal has been one of the standouts in I-AA in attendance based on capacity in its first three seasons. Ranking in the top seven in the nation in each of the first two years, the Chanticleers set a new Brooks Stadium record in the home opening win over No. 1 James Madison, packing 8,533 fans into a stadium that seats 6,408. Coastal finished the season as the top I-AA team in attendance based on capacity at 114.3 percent.
Red Zone Making Opponents See Red: Or see more lights for Coastal on the scoreboard in this case. Coaches often say that red zone execution is a key to success for a football team, and Coastal Carolina follows that philosophy. In 2005, the Chanticleers were 43-for-50 (86.0 percent) in the red zone (32 touchdowns, 11 field goals) while opponents were limited to just 69.4 percent (25-for-36).
I Will Pick Your Pocket: Defensive back Quinton Teal has been cashing in on quarterback 'checks', having picked off a league-leading five passes last season, including one at Savannah State that he returned for a school-record 74 yards to set up CCUs first score. He tied for 15th in the country in interceptions (0.45 per game) and is also tied for 32nd in passes defended per game at 1.09. The senior led the league in picks in 2004 with a league-record six INTs, as well as being the Big South's all-time interception leader with 13.
Kicking/Kickoffs: And that is what kicker Josh Hoke did for the Chanticleers again in 2005 and in an improved fashion. Out of 57 kickoffs this year, Hoke has had 28 go for touchbacks, a very impressive 49.1 percent. He also hit 14 field goals on the year, tying for 12th in I-AA football at 1.27 made per game. He had three from 45 yards or beyond, with a career-long 49-yarder in the home win over Delaware State.Coastal on TV: Coastal Carolina's football team will make a league-record five appearances on television this season. CCU will play three televised home games (South Carolina State, Furman and Charleston Southern) and two on the road (Georgia Southern and Gardner-Webb). In its brief history, CCU is a stellar 8-1 in television appearances, including dramatic wins last year at then No. 17 South Carolina State, Oct. 1, and against Gardner-Webb, Oct. 15.
Finding The Promised Land: Senior running back Aundres Perkins has shown he has a nose for the end zone in his career. In just three seasons, Perkins already is the Big South Conference's career touchdown leader with 38 scores. Last year, Perk scored 12 touchdowns to match his 2004 total, while he tallied 14 scores his freshman season. He also is just 256 yards from becoming the second CCU rusher, and fourth in the Big South, ever to reach the 2,000-yard mark in his career.
The Leader of the Pack: CCU Head Coach David Bennett has continued where he left off at Catawba with his winning ways now at Coastal. Bennett had gone 34-5 his final three seasons at Catawba, making him now 59-13 (81.9 percent) in his last 72 games as a head coach.
Stadium Expansion: Saturday marks the first game with the new seating capacity of CCU's Brooks Stadium. The school added 914 seats to the facility to bring seating capacity up to 7,322 for the 2006 season.
Making the Aerial Assault Fly: Junior quarterback Tyler Thigpen grew in the passing game last season. With his school-record 287-yard passing output against then No.1 James Madison, he became the first passer in CCU history to surpass the 2,000-yard mark in his career and also passed 3,000 yards after the Savannah State game. Thigpen had his second-highest career output with 241 yards at Liberty and now its at 3,302 yards heading into the Elon game. He also broke the schools single-season passing mark in just seven games, a mark that wrapped up at 1,589 yards.
Going Long and Far: Coastal has not been afraid to chew up the yardage en route to putting points on the scoreboard. Of last season's 46 scoring drives, the Chanticleers have had 24 scoring drives (20 touchdowns, four field goals) of 50 yards or more, including 15 of 70-plus yards, and only 15 of 35 yards or less (seven touchdowns, eight field goals - including the overtime game winners against Gardner-Webb (FG) and Liberty (TD)). Additionally, Coastal had 14 scoring drives of nine plays or more.
Making the Catch: Junior wide receiver Jerome Simpson continues to show that with his play on the field. Against No. 1 James Madison last season, the Reidsville, N.C. native tied a school record with 10 receptions and set a new mark with 162 receiving yards. He also had two touchdown receptions, but his most memorable catch was an acrobatic, one-handed 27-yard catch that put CCU at the JMU 13 and led to the game-winning score. Simpson has already taken over on the CCU career charts as well. Last season, he moved into the top spot for yardage and receptions, starting at 59 catches for 946 yards. The 946 yards rank 10th in the history of the Big South, as he stands just 54 yards from hitting the 1,000-yard mark in his career. He already was the CCU career leader in touchdown receptions, a mark that currently stands at 17. Additionally, Coastal is a perfect 10-0 in games that Simpson has a touchdown reception.
Additionally, Simpson surpassed his own single-season school records last season in the three main receiving categories. This year, he has 33 receptions for 527 yards and nine touchdowns, bettering last year's marks of 26 receptions for 419 yards and eight touchdowns.
Just Tell Him You Don't Want To Do The Bootleg: However, the bootleg didn't hurt senior quarterback Tyler Thigpen against VMI, Oct. 29, 2005, as he scampered a school-record 77 yards for final score in the Homecoming victory over the Keydets. Thigpen rushed for a career-high 112 yards, the ninth-best performance and 14th 100-yard game in Coastal history. In addition, the 77-yard touchdown run was the third longest rushing play from scrimmage in Big South history.Thigpen starts his senior season just 30 yards away from 1,000 career rushing yards, as he could become just the second quarterback in league history to reach the milestone. He is currently second behind former Gardner-Webb quarterback Nick Roberts with 1,182 rushing yards.
He Makes The Stops: The answer is definitely yes in the case of senior linebacker Jamar Leath. In 2005, Leath ranked third in the Big South and tied for 31st in I-AA nationally in total tackles at 9.82 tackles per game, while setting a new school record with 108 total tackles, the second CCU player to record 100 tackles in a single season. He set a new career best with 15 tackles and has then tied it twice more during the season. He also tied for 29th nationally with three forced fumbles in 2005.
Too Much Drama: Coastal Carolina had a flair in 2005 for the dramatic in making the most of its opportunities. The Chanticleers have four wins where they were trailing by eight or more during the final quarter, two against nationally-ranked opponents, along with the first two conference games.
CCU has put together three fourth-quarter rallies for the history books this season. In the home opener Sept. 10 against defending national champion and current top-five James Madison, the Chanticleers came back from a 27-17 deficit, scoring 14 points in the final 5:54, including the game winner with just over 30 seconds remaining for a 31-27 victory.
To only outdo themselves, the Chants scored 14 points in the last 9:51 at then No. 17 South Carolina State, Oct. 1, to steal a dramatic 24-23 win over the host Bulldogs. In that contest, Coastal scored with just 17 seconds to play for the win.
In the Big South opener, Coastal came from behind in the fourth quarter against Gardner-Webb, including driving 41 yards in the final 22 seconds. That set up a 45-yard, game-tying field goal with no time remaining to send it to overtime, where the Chanticleers eventually pulled out the 34-31 victory.
Add the Liberty game, Oct. 22, which ranks up there, as the Chanticleers fought through three overtimes to escape with a 27-21 win. Coastal trailed 14-6 with just under 10 minutes left in the game. CCU scored twice in the final quarter of regulation and found itself in overtime after a LU drive late in the contest. After a combined three missed field goals and a turnover, Coastal won on a five-yard touchdown run and a forced turnover by the CCU defense.
Big South In Action: All five Big South schools are in action this week, starting with Liberty hosting St. Paul's Thursday night. The games on Saturday include Gardner-Webb at Jacksonville, VMI hosting Davidson and Charleston Southern at Presbyterian to go with Coastal hosting Elon.
This Week's Injury Report: On this week's injury report for the game against Elon, Adrain Grady (right shoulder), Kenneth Joshen (right hamstring) and Tony Williams (left ankle) are probable. Brett Porterfield (left leg) and Parez Riley (right knee) are questionable, while Allen Parker (left quad) is doubtful. Out for the contest are Ren McKinnon (right ankle) and James Sims (left foot), while Brandon Whitley (knee) is out for the season.
Working Overtime in 2005: After playing its first-ever overtime game in the Big South opener against Gardner-Webb, Oct. 15, Coastal Carolina came back the next week for a second, even larger helping with a triple-overtime win at Liberty, Oct. 22. The team then played its third extra-period game at Charleston Southern, going double overtime in that one. The amazing part about it is that the Chanticleers held their opponents to just 10 points in the six overtimes, forcing three turnovers and one missed 42-yard field goal. Coastal is played more overtime games (3) and more overtime periods (6) than any team in I-A or I-AA football last season.
Weekly Big South Teleconference: Each Tuesday during the 2006 season, all five Big South head coaches will participate in a one-hour teleconference call, beginning at 10:30am ET. CCU Head Coach David Bennett is on from 11:20-11:30 each Tuesday. Each call will be recorded and available for playback beginning Tuesday afternoons on the Conferences website, www.Big SouthSports.com. THIS CALL IS OPEN TO MEDIA ONLY. If you would like information to tune in live and ask questions, please contact either John Martin (email@example.com) or Mark Simpson (firstname.lastname@example.org) for the dial-in phone number and code.
They Say (Radio) Networking Is Everything: Coastal Carolina Universitys Chanticleer Sports Network continues its growth in 2006. Coastal Carolina University has joined forces with Cumulus Broadcasting and "The Team" 93.9 FM, 93.7 FM, and 1050 AM, the Grand Strands only sports radio stations to deliver unprecedented coverage of the Chanticleers.
Adding to the Chanticleers local coverage are network affiliates scheduled to clear all football broadcasts. With those affiliates, fans can hear TOUCHDOWN COASTAL CAROLINA!! across South Carolinas Coastal Plains from Columbia to Conway.
2006 Football Radio AffiliatesWJXY-FM 93.9 -- Grand Strand Flagship; WXJY-FM 93.7 -- Georgetown/ Mt. Pleasant, S.C.; WIQB-AM 1050 -- Conway, S.C.; W241AE-FM 96.1 -- Conway, S.C.; WCRE-AM 1420 -- Cheraw, S.C.; WANS-AM 1280 -- Anderson, S.C.; WHRM-FM 107.1 -- Rock Hill, S.C.*; WRIX-FM 103.1 -- Anderson, S.C./ NE Georgia*
* Partial schedules carried (as of June 30, 2006)
Now This is What I Would Call a Motley Crew: The Coastal Carolina broadcast crew is back in its entirety to lend its expertise for a fourth season of Chanticleer Football. Matt Hogue is in his 10th year as "Voice of the Chanticleers." A 17-year broadcast veteran, Hogue has built a diverse play-by-play resume, including serving as the broadcast voice of the official Big South Conference basketball TV package.
Layne Harris, a veteran of local high school football and basketball broadcasts along with the original Charlotte Hornets Sports Network, will handle the color commentary. Rounding out the broadcast talent is Joe Cashion who will serve as the gameday host and sideline reporter. Cashion is Sports Director of WPUB-FM and WCAM-AM Radio in Camden, S.C. where he handles play-by-play duties in several sports, including local high school football.
Talk to Me -- But Only on Thursdays: Head Coach David Bennett will be on the Chanticleer Call-In on the Chanticleer Sports Network throughout the football season. The show, hosted by "Voice of the Chanticleers" Matt Hogue will originate each Thursday night fom 6-7 p.m. from Logan's Steakhouse at Coastal Grand Mall. After football season, the show will feature Chanticleer coaches and student-athletes, as well as phone calls from Chanticleer fans! The show debuts on Aug. 31 and will go throughout the 2006-07 school year.