COASTAL CAROLINA UNIVERSITY FOOTBALLCHANTICLEERS vs. HORNETS
Opening the 2007 Campaign: The Coastal Carolina football squad will start its fifth season of play, going on the road to take on
The Coaches: Coastal Carolina Head Coach David Bennett (Presbyterian, '84) is in his fifth season at Coastal with a 34-11 record at CCU and 97-28 overall in his 12th year as a head coach. 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.
Delaware State Head Coach Al Lavan (Colorado State, '68) is in his fourth season as head coach of the Hornets, posting a 19-14 record at DSU, while he is 21-15 overall after having served as interim head coach at Eastern Michigan for three games. Last season, DSU finished 8-3 and 6-2 in the MEAC, tying for second.
Last Time Versus
DSU forced five Coastal turnovers, but the CCU defense was a difference maker. The Hornets were limited to just six points and 190 yards of total offense, while CCU churned out 297 total yards, 213 of them on the ground. Coastal is now 15-0 when rushing for more than 200 yards in a game. The game was also marred by penalties, as DSU was penalized 17 times for 144 yards and Coastal had seven penalties for 68 yards.
Coastal was led by Fordham, who posted his first collegiate 100-yard rushing game with 109 yards and one touchdown on 22 carries. Quarterback Tyler Thigpen had nine carries for 50 yards, while going 7-for-17 for 84 yards through the air.
Against the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference: Coastal has been a perfect 4-0 against teams currently in the MEAC. The Chanticleers took both games in a home-and-home with
Road Openers: Coastal has opened the season on the road twice in its history and won both contests, defeating
Back-To-Back-To-Back: The Chanticleers were 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, shared the 2005 title with
A Good Road Squad: The Chants have proven to be a good road squad in their first four seasons of play. Overall, Coastal has a 15-7 road mark, including going 4-2 last season.
Daylight Hours: Out of 45 games in its history, Coastal Carolina has played 21 in the night time hours. The Chanticleers are 16-5 in evening tilts, including going 6-3 in day games away from CCU.
Senior Impact Still Being Felt: Coastal
It Was The First (But Not the Last) Time: Coastal made its first appearance in the Division I Football Championship (formerly known as the I-AA playoffs) in its brief four-year history when it took on eventual two-time National Champion Appalachian State in the opening round. This was the first time that a Big South Conference school has earned a berth in the postseason and only the second school from a non-automatic bid conference to earn a berth (Cal Poly - 2005) in the last 10 years.
Winning at Halftime: CCU is impressive when leading at the half with a 25-2 mark. Coastal is a perfect 14-0 at home when taking a lead into the intermission, while posting a 11-2 mark when leading at the half on the road. The only losses have occurred at
Winning When Scoring First: Coastal has been a stellar team when scoring first, holding a 22-1 mark in four seasons of play.
When Its Natural: Coastal has played 40 of its 45 games in its history on natural grass. CCU is 32-8 on natural grass, with its only games on artificial turf at
Putting a Winning Streak Together: After starting the season 1-2, Coastal turned things around and won its last eight regular season games, including the dramatic home win over then No. 3 Furman, Oct. 7 and the regular season finale over
Second Half Surge: Coastal
Going Long and Far: Coastal was not afraid to chew up the yardage en route to putting points on the scoreboard in 2006. Last season, 52 of 64 scoring drives have been at least 47 yards, with 45 of them going 60 yards or more. For the season, Coastal's 54 touchdown drives have averaged 70.1 yards on 6.6 plays in just per drive. On its 10 field goal drives, CCU has taken slightly longer, going 8.2 plays and 49.9 yards over .
Also, CCU has had 29 of 64 scoring drives go seven plays or more. In the home victory over then No. 3 Furman, all four scoring drives were at least 65 yards, with the longest going 83 yards.
Returning This Season: The Chanticleers return just 36 letterwinners and 10 starters on the current depth chart (four offense, six defense, no special teams) to the squad this year.
Newcomers Will Be Counted On: Of the 44 players on Coastal's two-deep entering the opener at Delaware State, 14 of them could see their first-ever action in a Chanticleer uniform, with just one of those (Antonio Bellamy) with college experience.
The Magic Number is 200: The magic answer to the question for Coastal is 200, as the Chanticleers are now 23-1 lifetime when rushing for 200 yards or more in a game. The only loss came in last season's finale at
Time To Prepare Is Time To Succeed For Bennett: For head coach David Bennett and his coaching staffs throughout his career, they have shown the ability to prepare effectively when given more than just a week. In games where they have had more than 10 days to get ready, Bennett's teams are 17-2 and outscore their opponents by a 642-233 margin, an average of 21.5 points per game more than their opponents.
Third Down Conversions Are Always Key: And look at the success Coastal has had on third down to see why the Chanticleers were 9-3 last season. For the year, CCU converted on 49 percent (75-for-153) of its third down opportunities, while limiting opponents to just 39 percent (60-for-153) of their chances. In the nine wins, the Chants have converted at least 37 percent of its chances, while going 1-2 when falling below that bench mark (4-14 against Elon, 3-10 at
Coastal Picked to Finish Second in Big South: The three-time defending champion Chanticleers were picked to finish second at the Big South's Annual Football Media Day in Concord, N.C., as voted on by the league's coaches, sports information directors and media members.
Simpson Named Big South Preseason Offensive Player of the Year: Senior wide receiver Jerome Simpson was named the Big South Conference's Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, by a vote of the league's coaches, sports information directors and media members. Simpson, who received 11 first-place votes and 26 total points, was a Second-Team All-America last season by the Associated Press and Weekly Football Gazette, and a third-team honoree from The Sports Network. Simpson set a Big South single-season record in 2006 with 1,077 receiving yards and 16 touchdown receptions, helping the Chanticleers to their third consecutive League title and the school’s and Conference’s first-ever berth in the national playoffs. He has been selected as a preseason All-American by Lindy’s College Football Preview and Street & Smith’s, and is Lindy’s choice as the Big South’s Offensive Player of the Year.
Rated No. 2 among all FCS wide receivers entering 2007 by The Sports Network, Simpson holds all of Coastal's single-game, season and career receiving records and is currently second in Big South annals with 2,023 receiving yards, while also ranking eighth in career receptions (120) and first in career touchdown receptions (33). He caught a touchdown pass in his final eight games (12 total) last year and caught a TD in all but one contest. The first wide receiver to be selected as the League’s top preseason offensive player, Simpson needs 406 receiving yards to become the Big South’s career leader in that category.
Grady Earns Preseason All-Big South Honors: Senior defensive lineman Adrain Grady was honored on the Preseason All-Big South team after a vote of the league's coaches, sports information directors and media members. A three-time Second Team All-Big South selection, Grady enters his senior season as Coastal's all-time sack leader with 17 and ranks fourth in career tackles with 129. He played in just three games in 2006 before an injury ended his season, giving him a medical redshirt. His junior year, he started all 11 games and recorded a career-best 48 tackles, including a career-best 10 tackles at Liberty to help CCU get a triple overtime victory.
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 2006, Coastal was 45-for-56 (80 percent) in the red zone, 35 of which were touchdowns, while opponents were 37-for-47 (79 percent) inside the 20 with just 28 touchdowns.
Last Time Out At Appalachian State: No. 12 Coastal Carolina battled but could not overcome a hot start by the defending national champion No. 1 Appalachian State, losing 45-28 in the first round of the NCAA Division I Football Championship, Nov. 25.
Appalachian State got on the board with the opening drive, going 80 yards in seven plays and just over two minutes. The Mountaineers’ quarterback Armanti Edwards connected with tight end Nic Cardwell from 13 yards out for a 7-0 lead early in the contest. ASU scored four other times in the first half while holding CCU scoreless for a 31-0 halftime margin.
CCU scored on its first two possessions of the second half to cut the margin to 31-14 and continued to fight back, scoring the most points of any team Appalachian State faced in 2006 en route to its second straight national championship.
Quarterback Tyler Thigpen was 24-for-41 for a school record 351 yards, three touchdowns and just one interception. Thigpen did become the first quarterback in Big South history to surpass the 3,000 passing yard mark for a single season, finishing with 3,296. He also moved in to second on the Big South’s career total offense list, ending with 3,952 yards. Wide receiver Jerome Simpson also became the first Coastal receiver and third in league history to total 1,000 receiving yards in a season, ending with 1,077. His touchdown catches raised his total to 16 on the season, a new Big South record and he is now second all-time in Big South receiving yards with 2,023, just the second player to eclipse the 2,000-yard total in his career. (Complete game recap and stats on Page 19.)
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 68-15 (81.9 percent) in his last 83 games as a head coach.
The Streak Continues: In its brief history of 45 games, the Chanticleers have yet to be shutout on the scoreboard, the longest current streak in the Big South Conference. In fact, CCU's lowest single game point total was in 2005 at Appalachian State, with just a lone field goal.
Among The National Leaders 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.
Coastal has continued that tradition in 2006, including setting a new Brooks Stadium record with 9,287 fans in the home win over
This Week's Injury Report: On this week's injury report for the game at Delaware State, Antonio Bellamy (right toe) is probable, Ben Collins (left foot) is questionable) and Dominique Davenport (right hand) is doubtful. Out for the contest is B.J. Jenkins (left knee) and Jon Greene (left wrist), while Corey Hawkins (right knee) is out for the season.
Coastal Football On TV: Coastal
Weekly Big South Teleconference: Each Tuesday during the 2007 season, all six Big South head coaches will participate in a one-hour teleconference call, beginning at . CCU Head Coach David Bennett is on from each Tuesday. Each call will be recorded and available for playback beginning Tuesday afternoons on the Conference’s 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.