COASTAL CAROLINA UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL
CHANTICLEERS vs. PHOENIX
Elon's Rhodes Stadium (11,250) ~ Elon, North Carolina
Saturday, September 3, 2005 ~ 6 p.m.
Opening the 2005 Campaign: Coastal Carolina's football team will start the 2005 season the same place it started last season, on the road. This time, it is a new opponent for the Chanticleers, as they travel to former Big South and current Southern Conference team Elon for a 6 p.m. showdown.
The Leaders: David Bennett (Presbyterian, '84) is in his third season at Coastal Carolina with an 16-6 record at CCU and 79-23 overall in nine seasons. At Catawba, leading 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 Paul Hamilton (Appalachian State, '81) is in his second season as head coach of the Phoenix, holding a 3-8 mark at Elon. He enters todays game with a 41-49 record in his ninth season as a head coach overall.
Hoping to Remain Perfect In Season Openers: In its brief existence, Coastal has been perfect in season openers, with wins in its first two. In the inaugural game in 2003, CCU scored a touchdown with seven seconds to play to defeat a very pesky Newberry squad, 21-14. Last season, Coastal took to the road to Morehead State and came home with a solid 28-7 victory.
This Schedule Looks Very Different: The 2005 slate for the Chanticleers is very different, as compared to the first two years. Coastal played the same teams in each of the first two seasons, but this year, only Savannah State remains from the non-conference opponents last season. Among the five new teams on the schedule are defending national champion James Madison out of the Atlantic 10, Appalachian State and Elon from the Southern Conference and South Carolina State and Delaware State in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC).
Having Success On the Road: Coastal has been a good road team in each of its first two seasons of play, posting a 7-3 mark overall. Last season, CCU was 3-1 away from home, while going 4-2 on the road in the inaugural 2003 season.CCU's all-time road record is a league-best at 7-3 (.700).
Last Time Out for Coastal: In the final game of its second season, Coastal Carolina captured its first-ever Big South title with a 56-28 victory over in-state rival Charleston Southern. Coastal broke open a tight game with 28 fourth-quarter points. (Complete recap and stats are on page 18.)
In The Third Year: Coastal, in its third season of I-AA play, returns 21 starters, including nine on offense, eight on defense, and four special teams players.
Seeing The Day Light: Out of 22 games in its history, Coastal Carolina has played 12 in the evening. At night, the Chanticleers are an impressive 9-3, including a 7-2 mark at Brooks Stadium. Coastal is 7-3 in day games, but the numbers improve on the road, as CCU is 5-2 in day games away from Conway.
Making The First Strike Is Important for the Chanticleers: Coastal has been a stellar team when scoring first, holding a 14-1 mark going into this weekend's season opener at Elon. The Chants were 8-0 in 2004 when scoring first, including a perfect 6-0 when scoring first on the road. CCU is also impressive when leading at the half, with a 15-1 mark. Coastal is 7-1 when leading at the half on the road, with the only loss coming at Liberty in 2003 after leading 14-7 at the intermission.At Home on the Grass: Coastal has played 20 of its 22 games in its history on natural grass, so the Chanticleers will feel at home at Rhodes Stadium tonight. CCU is 15-5 on natural grass, with its only games on artificial turf at Liberty last season in a tough loss and the 2004 season opening win at Morehead State.
The Streak Continues: Coastal Carolina has put together a program-best eight-game winning streak heading into this season. The eight-game win streak is the third longest active streak to start the season in I-AA. During the streak, the Chanticleers have averaged 320.5 yards on the ground while limiting opponents to just 140.6 rushing yards and 305.0 total yards of offense. CCU has also created 29 turnovers while giving up just 10 of their own, while 11 Chants have 20 tackles or more during the eight games. The Chanticleers have also jumped out early on teams, outscoring their opponents 76-39 in the opening stanza and 167-59 in the first half.
Coastal Earning National Recognition: Starting the 2005 season, Coastal starts the season ranked 24th by Street and Smith's and 29th in Don Hansen's National Weekly Football Gazette's Top 40, while receiving votes in The Sports Network (extended to 32nd).
In just its second year of play in 2004, the Coastal Carolina football team, with its 10-1 overall mark, made a national impact. Coastal cracked the top 25 for the first time in history, Nov. 8, entering The Sports Network poll at 24th. Coastal was ranked in the top 25 in three polls and receiving votes in a fourth. CCU finished the year ranked 24th in The Sports Network poll and in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll, 25th in the National Weekly Football Gazette's Top 40 and receiving votes (27th) in the Any Given Saturday/I-AA.org poll. This was the sixth week CCU at least received votes in one of the polls.
Coastal Picked to Repeat in Big South With Two Preseason Players of the Year: In just its third year, Coastal Carolinas football program was picked to defend its Big South Conference title, announced by the league office at the Big South Football Media Day in Charlotte, NC, July 29. The poll was voted on by the Leagues head coaches, sports information directors and media panel. It marked the first time in Big Souths four-year football history that Gardner-Webb was not selected as the preseason favorite.
Coastal returns 21 starters from last years Big South champion team that finished 10-1 overall, 4-0 in the Big South and ranked in three of the final Top 25 polls.
Coastal Carolina running back Patrick Hall, the reigning Big South Offensive Player of the Year, and Charleston Southern QB Collin Drafts were voted as the Leagues 2005 Preseason co-Offensive Players of the Year by the Conferences coaches, SIDs and media panel, while the group voted Coastal defensive lineman Kelvin McIver preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
Drafts and Hall tied for the top spot with 18 points each. Hall tallied five first-place votes and was the lone Conference rusher to eclipse 1,000-yards rushing last year (1,107). He averaged a Big South single-season record 7.14 yards per carry and scored a League-leading 13 touchdowns. Hall is rated No. 16 among all I-AA running backs by The Sports Network entering 2005.
McIver is the first defensive lineman to receive the Conferences preseason honor, as former Gardner-Webb defensive back Mario Williams was the preseason favorite the first two years of the individual poll. Last season, McIver was a First-team All-Big South selection after tying for the League lead with seven sacks and second with 15 tackles for loss, while recording 51 total tackles.
CCU had five other players recognized on the Preseason All-Big South squads. Two additional offensive players were named Preseason All-Big South, as senior offensive lineman Antwon Trice and sophomore wide receiver Jerome Simpson were honored. CCU also had two on the defensive side of the ball, as senior linebacker Maurice Simpkins and senior defensive back Quinton Teal received accolades from the league. Junior kicker Josh Hoke was also named to the squad.
Trice, also a Third Team All-American according to Don Hansens National Weekly Football Gazette, anchored an offensive line that helped CCU set new league offensive records in points scored, rushing yards, rushing per game. CCUs offensive attack ranked fifth nationally in rushing yardage and eighth in scoring, while setting new school records for passing yards and touchdowns in a season. Jeffcoat also had five receptions for 62 yards, including a career-long 22-yard reception at Newberry. Trice was a Second Team All-Big South selection in 2003.
Simpson, named Freshman of the Year and Second Team All-Big South in 2004, was Coastals leading receiver, posting school records with 26 receptions, 419 yards and eight touchdowns, earning Freshman of the Week honors three times. He currently ranks first in career receiving touchdowns and second in career yardage and receptions. The sophomore-to-be from Reidsville, N.C. ranked eighth in the Big South in yards per game and 10th in scoring. He made a stellar first impression, with four catches for 59 yards and two touchdowns in the season-opening win at Morehead State. His 108 yards receiving against Charleston are the second most in school history, while the three touchdown receptions set a new school record.
Simpkins earned his second consecutive First Team honor in 2004 after ranking 10th in the Big South overall and sixth among linebackers with 78 tackles on the season, including 43 solo. He also finished sixth in the Big South in sacks per game with 0.45 per game and seventh in tackles for loss with eight. He had 10 tackles against Liberty including a tackle for loss, along with seven versus Gardner-Webb and eight versus Charleston Southern.
Teal led the Big South Conference and ranked 11th in the nation with a new CCU record six interceptions. He also finished second in the league and 10th nationally with 18 passes defended. In the league, he ranked 11th among defensive backs with 50 tackles (32 of them solo), including a career-high 10 tackles and an interception in the season-finale win over Charleston Southern.
Coming off an ACL injury in Spring 2004, Hoke led the Big South in 2004 in total points with 83 and ranked second in scoring average at 7.5 points per game. He finished 35th in the nation in field goals (0.91 per game) and scoring (7.55 ppg). He led all Big South kickers in PAT percentage, hitting on 53-of-54 extra points for a 98.1 percent rating, with both the attempts and made new league records. He was also the top field goal kicker at 71.4 percent, hitting a league-best 10 field goals. Hoke set a new league record with 16 points in the win over North Greenville, earning National and Big South Special Teams Player of the Week honors, en route to becoming the first kicker in league history to score more than 100 career points, currently with 138.
2005 Preseason Poll (first-place votes) 1 2 3 4 5 Points
1. Coastal Carolina (11) 55 12 6 - - 73
2. Liberty (3) 15 20 18 4 - 57
3. Gardner-Webb (2) 10 32 9 4 1 56
4. VMI - - 9 14 6 29
5. Charleston Southern - - 6 10 9 25
Running Game Still a Staple: The Chanticleers had a very effective ground assault on their opponents in 2004, averaging a league best and fifth in the nation 278.0 rushing yards per contest. Coastal broken the Big South single-season rushing total with 3,058 rushing yards, surpassing Liberty's 2,614 yards last season.The magic number for Coastal is 200, as the Chanticleers are 14-0 lifetime (9-0 in 2004) when rushing for 200 yards or more in a game.
Red Zone Execution Always a Key to Success: The Chants were 44-for-52 (84.6 percent) in the red zone in the 2004 season, scoring 36 touchdowns (31 rushing and five passing) and eight field goals. That continued a trend set in 2003's inaugural season when CCU made it count when it got the opportunity, cashing in on 31 of 37 times inside their opponents' 20-yard line. Of those 31 scores, 28 were touchdowns.
In contrast, CCU's defense limited opponents to just 28 chances in the red zone and only 20 scores (18 TDs, two field goals) for a 71.4 percent conversion.
Making Marks In the History Books: Coastal Carolina made history during the 2004 season. The Chanticleers were the first league team to win 10 games in a season, one of 36 Big South Conference records broken or tied during the historical championship season.
Coastal's New Big South Conference Team Records
Offensive Category New Record Previous Record
Points Scored 413 359, VMI - 2003
Scoring Average 37.5 29.9, VMI - 2003
Touchdowns Scored 55 44, VMI - 2003; 44, GWU - 2003
Total Offense Yards Per Play 6.1 5.9, VMI - 2003
Offensive Touchdowns 51 42, GWU - 2003
Rushing Offense 3,058 2,614, LU - 2003
Rushing Offense Per Game 278.0 223.1, Elon - 2002
Rushing Yards Per Carry 5.9 4.9, LU - 2003
Rushing Touchdowns 40 34, CCU - 2003
First Downs By Penalty 24 23, CSU - 2002, 2004
Fourth Down Conversions 61.1% 56.2, GWU - 2003
Red Zone Offense 84.3% 83.8, CCU - 2003; 83.8, LU - 2004
Fewest Sacks Allowed 10 11, GWU - 2002
Defensive Category New Record Previous Record
Scoring Defense 176 204, GWU - 2002
Scoring Defense Average 16.0 20.4, GWU - 2002
Fewest Touchdowns Allowed 24 28, GWU - 2002; 28, CSU - 2004
Total Defense Per Game 313.6 320.4, GWU - 2003
Fewest Yards Per Play 4.6 4.7, CCU - 2003
Fewest Offensive Touchdowns 23 (tie) 23, GWU - 2003
Rushing Defense 1,541 1,604, CCU - 2003
Rushing Defense Per Game 140.1 142.8 - GWU - 2003
Fewest Rushing Attempts 399 417, Elon - 2002; 417, LU - 2004
Lowest Yards Per Carry 3.5 3.8, GWU - 2003
Fewest Rushing Touchdowns 9 14, GWU - 2003
Pass Efficiency Defense 86.8 106.1, VMI - 2003
Lowest Completion Percentage 44.3% 50.1, VMI - 2003
Lowest Pass Yards Per Attempt 5.32 5.49, CSU - 2004
Interceptions 27 17, CCU - 2003; 17, VMI - 2003
Interception Return Yards 380 313, LU - 2003
Turnover Margin +22 +14, GWU - 2002
Fumble Return Touchdowns 2 (tie) four others
Special Teams Category New Record Previous Record
PAT Kicking Made 53 40, VMI - 2003
PAT Kicking Attempted 54 42, VMI - 2003
Fewest Punt Return Yds Allowed 107 124, Elon - 2002
Kickoff Return Average 21.7 20.5, CCU - 2003
Blocked Punts 4 3, GWU - 2003
Defense Earns Schools First-Ever Top National Rankings: Coastal Carolina's defense was solid during the 2004 season and it showed on the national rankings, as the Chanticleers were the top team in I-AA in pass efficiency defense and turnover margin. Combining several factors for the rating, CCU had a rating of 86.79. One factor was interceptions, where Coastal has surpassed last years total of 17 by picking off 27 passes, including a Chanticleer-record five interceptions in the win over Savannah State, Nov. 6. Coastal also had a +2.0 turnover margin, recording 38 turnovers while only giving up 16.
Taking the Air Out of the Opponents' Sails: Coastal's defense created havoc with opponents last year, creating opportunities for the Chants' offense. Of the 38 turnovers created in 2004, the defense has gotten 27 of those by interception, led by Quinton Teal's team-high six picks. In 2003, Coastal had 34 total turnovers, 17 of them interceptions.
Bennett Continues Winning Ways: CCU Head Coach David Bennett continued where he left off at Catawba, with a victory in the team's inaugural game last season against Newberry. Bennett had gone 34-5 his final three seasons at Catawba, making him now 50-11 in his last 61 games as a head coach.
Bennett's Contract Extended In the Offseason: Coastal Carolina University head football coach David Bennett received a contract extension during the spring of 2005 that will keep him as the leader of the Chanticleer program through at least 2010.
Bennett has signed a new five-year contract with a base pay of $110,000 for the 2005-06 year. The contract also includes built-in salary increases with an automatic one-year rollover. Additionally, the agreement includes improved contracts for assistant coaches, along with an incentive plan for the entire football program that rewards academic achievement, community service and athletic performance.
In just the programs second year of play, Bennett led the Chanticleers to a 10-1 record and the schools Big South Conference title in 2004 with a perfect 4-0 mark. The team was honored with 14 All-Big South selections, including eight First Team honorees. CCU also made its first-ever appearance in the four major national polls, finishing the regular season in the top 25 of the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll, The Sports Network and Don Hansens National Weekly Football Gazette and was receiving votes in the I-AA.org poll. He has a two-season record of 16-6 at Coastal Carolina and is 79-23 overall as a head coach, including seven years at Catawba.
He also was named the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Region 2 Coach of the Year. The awards I-AA Region 2 includes coaches from the Big South Conference, Southern Conference and Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC). Among this years honorees, Bennett was one of five coaches to have won the award previously, as Bennett won it three times at Catawba in 1995, 1999 and 2000.
This Week's Injury Report: For this week's game at Elon, Ronnie Mason (rib separation) is probable, Travis Dannelly (concussion) and Sam Harper (concussion) are questionable and Rodney Burgess (high ankle sprain) and Perry Helton (left ankle sprain) are doubtful. Out for the season are Jermaine Clemons (left knee), Keith Cox (left knee) Allen Parker (right foot) and James Sims (right knee).
This Week in the Big South: All five Big South Conference teams open play this weekend. Gardner-Webb hosts Union (Ky.), Liberty hosts Concord, VMI hosts Davidson and Charleston Southern is at The Citadel.
Making a National Impact: Last season, Coastal Carolina cracked the top 10 in several national rankings among the 119 teams in I-AA. Coastal's defense leads all of I-AA in pass efficiency defense (86.79), fifth in scoring defense at 16.00 points per game, 22nd in pass defense (173.55) and 21st in total defense (313.64). Coastal's rushing offense was fifth at 278.00 yards per game and fifth in scoring offense (37.55), while the two combined to lead the nation in turnover margin at +2.00 turnovers per game. Other top 60 national rankings include kickoff returns (20th, 21.69 ypr), total offense (27th, 398.45), rushing defense (47th, 140.09) and punt returns (59th, 8.62).
Several of the 2005 returning Chants made a name for themselves during the 2004 season. Safety Quinton Teal was tied for 12th in interceptions at 0.55 per game, while kicker Josh Hoke ranked 33rd at 0.91 field goals per game and 35th in scoring at 7.55 points a contest. Patrick Hall ranked 25th in the nation at 100.64 rushing yards per game and 44th in scoring at 7.09 points a game. Aundres Perkins ranked 41st in the country at 7.20 points per contest.
Setting A Big South Defensive Record: Coastal Carolina held Liberty to 143 total yards, Oct. 23, 2004 which set a new record for a Big South game. The previous low was 178 yards by Charleston Southern against Elon during the 2002 season.